Friday, January 13, 2012

Things to do with kids before hittin' the trail

When arriving where you plan to day hike with children, you'll want to take some basic steps to ensure everyone has the best hiking experience possible. Though everyone is eager to hit the trailhead, taking a few minutes for these simple, preparatory steps will prevent lots of headaches on the trail and hours of suffering afterward.

Begin by making sure each child is properly dressed. You did this at home, of course, but during the drive kids have a way of removing shoes and shocks and layers of clothing or of leaving their hats and sunglasses in the vehicle.

Next, apply sunscreen, lip balm and insect repellent to each child. Older elementary school kids probably can do their own (and teenagers certainly can), but you’ll need to at least talk younger kids through the steps and make sure they’ve been thorough. You can put on your sunscreen, lip balm and repellent with the kids. The order that you put on these items doesn’t matter.

Next, distribute the kids their gear, from daypacks to trekking poles. Make sure they put on the gear properly. If you don’t, you’ll either have to stop along the way and do it or you’ll have kids with sore backs, shoulders, necks, wrists or more.

Find out about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.