# Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Over the weekend I took my kids for a hike up the Deschutes river from where it meets the Columbia, just east of the Dalles.  The weather was pretty nice, although it was overcast most of the day.  At least the rain held off until the middle of the night.  Check out pictures and a brief description at portlandhikers.com

This was the longest hike I’ve ever done with my kids, and as we’ve progressed toward longer hikes over the summer, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about hiking with children and how to make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.  I got a lot of great tips from Extreme Kids: How to Connect With Your Children Through Today's Extreme (and Not So Extreme) Outdoor Sports.  It’s a very well written book, that starts with some general tips about going outdoors with children, and then has some sport-specific information in the second half.  The tips I’ve gotten the most out of so far:

  • dress them for the part.  Hiking-specific gear like hydration packs, boots, and trekking poles make them feel like they are participating in something special, and really help get them out on the trail.
  • talk up the hike.  Take some time to talk up the hike.  Make it sound hard, question their ability to handle such a difficult task (not too seriously) and make it into a challenge.  This has made a huge difference.  My kids both boogied right up Little Belknap Crater after I played up the difficulty of “scaling a volcano”. 
  • keep them fed.  Keeping their blood sugar up is vital.  I’ve started packing not just granola/Clif bars, but some smaller snacks to keep them sugared up.  Generally we avoid giving them sugar, so this one took me a while to warm up to, but on last weekend’s 7.8 miler, it made a big difference.  They were tired, but the never crashed.  The new Jelly Belly “Sports Beans” work great for this.  They are basically jelly beans with electrolytes in them (like Gatorade) that come in 100 calorie packs.  The kids love them, and the feel like they are getting away with something. :-)  We also tried some Clif Shot Bloks, which proved popular.  They come in packs of 6, and were easy to dole out at key milestones.

These tips (and more from the book) have made our time together outside much more enjoyable.  I’m already looking forward to next season (and maybe some snowshoeing over the winter).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:18:17 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |  Related posts:
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