Thursday, August 29, 2013

Maintain child’s pace by walking to poem’s rhythm

Sing a song to slow your pace for children. Image
courtesy of chrisroll/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
When hiking with children, their slow pace may soon drive you crazy. As kids have shorter legs than adults, they can’t keep up with you unless they’re running, and they’ll quickly tire of that and sour on the hike. The solution then is for you, as the adult, to slow your pace.

One way to keep a “slow” pace, recite the lines of the Robert W. Service poem “The Cremation of Sam McGee” as stepping in rhythm to it. The opening verse of the poem is:

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold,
And the arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold.
The northern lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was the night on the marge of Lake LaBarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

You’ll find after walking to that rhythm for a while that it becomes natural. Or just recite the lines again in your head and quickly fall back into the pace.

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