Come along as I hit the trails with my kids. Each hike will be captured here for easy reference.
An explanation of my ratings:
Difficulty I am a moderately in-shape forty-something woman. This difficulty rating is based on my experience, not the kids’ experience. In general, I consider something Easy if it’s like a regular walk down the road, Moderate if I have to work and get a bit breathless in spots, and Strenuous if I have to stop frequently to, uh, “take in the view,” or if there are brief moments where I wish I’d picked a different hike. In general, I find my kids are less sensitive than I am about how hard we’re working to get up the trail.
Ages I base this rating both on the difficulty rating, above, as well as the technical aspects of the trail. If there are steep drops, ladders, or other particularly tricky maneuvers required, I rate the trail for older kids. More straightforward hikes are for younger kids. These age ratings are my best guesses. It’s important that you know your own child and know what they are capable of handling. You may have a very sure-footed, athletic five-year-old who can handle trails I rate for older kids or a cautious ten-year-old who is scared of heights who wouldn’t be ready for a trail rated younger. I’ll give you the best information I can, but it’s your responsibility to do right by your child.
Kid rating Did the kids like this hike? Sometimes they rate in stars, sometimes thumbs, it’s a crapshoot around here.
Kid review I ask my kids to review the trail and record whatever they say. Can I put a disclaimer here? Something like: “Opinions of the children do not necessarily reflect those of the adult who was carrying all their stuff”? Let’s do that.
Be sure to read my Not-So-Basic Rules for Hiking With Young Children to learn from my painful past experiences. In addition:
General hiking safety rules apply. These include: leave plenty of time, bring more water than you think you’ll need, wear appropriate footwear, and have a stocked bag with you. My hiking bag includes band-aids, emergency food (usually nuts and raisins), sunscreen, a flashlight, bug spray, a map of the area we are hiking and a cell phone–though I never assume cell service will be available.
Always review the route you are going to take before you start. Show your kids on the map so they can help guide you and make decisions.
Tell someone where you are going and when you should be back.
Teach your kids how to dial 9-1-1 just in case.
And, oh yeah, have fun.
Know a hike we should try? Let me know about it!