The kids were going stir crazy, I wanted to work out, I was sick of being in the house & so I decided on a whim to take the kids hiking. I was nervous, a woman alone in the woods in unfamiliar territory with 3 kids & a dog??? To hiking pros & experts, it might seem like no big deal. But heading out like that for me was scary. I’m the type who assumes Ted Bundy is going to be hanging out around every corner, so this was definitely a new experience. Ha! Even though I grew up hiking, being the adult in charge made me very uneasy.
I can’t tell you how many people see my pictures of the kids & me out on the trails & then ask me how I do it. Aren’t I scared, aren’t I worried about animals or getting hurt?? I’ve even asked some of those questions myself, but I went anyway. I so believe in the power of being out in nature, that I don’t want to deprive myself or my children of it. FEAR is a FALSE EXPECTATION APPEARING REAL, I’m not going to let fear stop me from doing something I believe is important. I mean, don’t throw caution to the wind. Please, be smart about it, but please please go for it (I will list my HOW TO HIKE links at the bottom if you would like to do some of your own research.)
We live in a cultural time where more people spend less time outside than any generation in human history. The consequences of this will be severe, I don’t want to be a doomsayer, but we can not disconnect from the planet we live in & are responsible for protecting. Not only that, being outside has changed my life, it has re-centered my spirit, it has brought less anxiety & more tranquility, and it has done the same for my kids. We are ALL better for being out in nature.
I didn’t use Instagram much on the day I took the kids hiking for the first time. Which was a huge blessing because I didn’t have the comparison game going on with what other families were doing as far as adventuring goes or what kind of gear they have for the trails. Today however, I know better & have heard from others who say they are intimidated by not “fitting the part” of being outside. In photos, it appears most people have all the fancy stuff from all the big outdoor stores & really seem to know what they are doing. Do not let comparison be the thief of your joy or your desire to get out in the woods.
Fact about me: I DON’T have fancy gear. I have a used hiking carrier I bought on a yard sale site for $25 & some hiking boots I got for Christmas. Beyond that I haven’t purchased anything specifically for hiking. That first day, I wore tennis shoes, workout clothes, the kids were in t-shirts & shorts, I took an old backpack that I bought at Target YEARS ago & filled it with some water bottles, snagged some protein bars & gold fish, then left the house. Not a clue what I was doing, but determined to figure out!
Do not get caught up on looking like a pro on the trail. You just need to GO! I’m not saying to go out to the Grand Canyon or Havasupai/Havasu Falls on a backpacking trip with no preparation or without the right stuff. But, what I am saying is to see what works for your family & see what doesn’t. You won’t ever know if you don’t try. So keep it simple so you don’t get overwhelmed. Because getting started will be the biggest step you take!
After your first hike, you will be so proud of yourself for going that you will make new plans for the next hike & you will have a knowledge base for what your needs are & you can use that as your next plan. Every time you go out there you are going to learn something new & then you can start making those big plans for the bigger hikes. Before you know it, your family will be expert day hikers!
Were you nervous the first time you took the kids hiking? Or are you too nervous now so you haven’t made it happen??
Check out these resources for becoming an expert Day Hiker: