Friday, January 18, 2013

Teach children rules of the trail when on day hikes

Ah, the woods or wide open desert, peaceful and quiet, not a single soul around for miles. Now you and your children can do whatever you want.

Not so fast.

Act like wild animals on a hike, and you’ll destroy the very aspects of the wilds that make them so attractive. Act like wild animals, and you’re likely to end up back in civilization, specifically an emergency room. And there are other people around. Just as you would wish them to treat you courteously, so you and your children should do the same for them.

So how do you act civilized out on the wilds?
g Minimize damage to your surroundings - When in the wilds, follow the maxim of “Leave no trace.”
g Pack out what you pack in - Set the example as a parent: Don’t litter yourself; when-ever stopping, pick up whatever you’ve dropped; and always require kids to pick up after themselves when they litter.
g Stay on the trail - Hiking off trail means potentially damaging fragile growth.
g Practice trail etiquette - Let faster-moving parties pass and don’t come to a dead stop in front of other hikers.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.