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Parents: Are you doing all you can to raise a hiking buddy?
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Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Parents: Are you doing all you can to raise a hiking buddy? on 02/10/2012 17:31:46 MST Print View

I realize that while I sneak off for solo dayhikes, surf the web for the latest gear, etc., I'm not doing all I can to raise hiking buddies. We car camp a fair amount and do some day hikes and snowshoe walks, but we have only done one family backpack trip each year since my son was 5 and daughter was 7.

I'm going to change that this year with more trips- both day and overnight.

How do you do it?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Parents: Are you doing all you can to raise a hiking buddy? on 02/10/2012 18:15:50 MST Print View

Just take them! Don't worry about what you are doing - just take them. Be it dayhikes or treks, it doesn't matter. What matters is the time together!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Parents: Are you doing all you can to raise a hiking buddy? on 02/10/2012 18:22:15 MST Print View

Good for you, Jim! So much of what we like (or dislike) stem from our own childhood exposure / experiences!

My folks were never the hiking type -- and I never developed any interest on my own until my 40's! Better late than never, I suppose, but no childhood memories though. OTOH, my folks loved to travel -- and my siblings and I are all pretty avid world travelers.

I am a single guy - but I can imagine the fun parents get in shaping their kids! Have fun!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Parents: Are you doing all you can to raise a hiking buddy? on 02/10/2012 18:43:15 MST Print View

Ah, Jim...

What you didn't mention is the long once a year trips on the JMT, and that you camp out as a family more than most :)

Go do the solo trips. And take the kids on some of the trips/hikes. You are doing a good job already. And hopefully your kids will learn to enjoy hiking and continue to do so when they leave the nest. My boy does.

Joe in Anza Borrego

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Car cMp and Backpack on 02/11/2012 08:10:37 MST Print View

I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. In the summer we camp and dayhike almost every weekend and this year i will take the 3 year old on a weekend trip.

My big thing is to keep it fun which means carrying lots and sometimes carrying her.
So far she can hike about 6 miles total a day with 1000 ft of elevation which allows us to do a wide range of dayhikes.

I wouldnt worry too much about creating a backpacker i think if you raise someone who loves the outdoors and doesnt mind the work of camping they will also like backpacking. Its a matter of instilling the belief that nature is exciting. The only other thing would be not to place artificial limits on what kids can do.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Go for it. on 02/11/2012 08:28:02 MST Print View

As Sarah said, just take them!
Both my kids are in their twenties now, but they still have a love of the outdoors.
If you introduce them young, it will stay with them forever.
My daughter was doing graded scrambles at 4 years old, and is still really into her outdoor fun.
My son discovered girls a few years ago, so his mind is on other things at the moment. He'll be back. :)

When they were very young, i used to think up strategies to keep them interested. I told them that faeries often left candy and money under rocks. It was left for other faeries that were in need. The weekend before a hike, i would go and place candy and money for them to find under rocks on the route we would be taking. Great fun and memories. :)

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Parents: Are you doing all you can to raise a hiking buddy? on 02/11/2012 09:34:35 MST Print View

I'd talk to Balls. He has some articles here about his PCT hike with his daughter, Sunshine. He said he'd wanted a hiking partner, but had great difficulty finding one, so he made one. He did a great job.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Parents: Are you doing all you can to raise a hiking buddy? on 02/11/2012 10:25:52 MST Print View

My son (13 yo) is one of my favorite hiking buddies but, no, I'm not doing "all I can" to raise one. What I'm trying to raise is a well-rounded man who appreciates the outdoors and is comfortable camping, backpacking, etc. but, at the same time, can cook a meal, do his own laundry and find his way around an art museum.

We only do one weeklong backpacking trip a year together but, like others have said, I think it's more about time spent together. We do some kayaking, a couple of weekends skiing, a week somewhere where we can snorkel, boogie-board. It's all good.

Edited by DetroitTigerFan on 02/11/2012 10:26:52 MST.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Love of the Outdoors on 02/11/2012 11:18:03 MST Print View

Love of the outdoors is what you need to impart; the love of hiking grows naturally out of that. Take your kids out camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, whatever. Make sure whatever you do is something they will enjoy - ie, make sure you stop at creeks and lakes to play, not just log miles on a boring trail!

My kids are grown now, and they are my best hiking buddies!

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
hiking buddys on 02/11/2012 11:28:42 MST Print View

I feel a little guilty for not getting out more with my boys (11 and 9). Unfortunately they live 2 hours away due to divorce. And while I am remarried and my wife loves camping as much as I do, conflicting work schedules and school schedules and other parent schedules always seem to get in the way of extended trips.

But at last I have a trip scheduled. Spring break in Zion for us three boys! Not camping, but a full week of day hikes. And hopefully we will be able to get them to the BWCA this summer.

Some of my best memories of my father were from our yearly summer trip to the Quetico provincial park (the wilder Canadian side of the BWCA). I can only hope that my boys will remember me in a similar fashion when I am gone. I have to make an effort to work harder on scheduling...

Edited by BER on 02/11/2012 11:31:25 MST.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Daddy's turn to babysit on 02/11/2012 12:48:56 MST Print View

+1 to starting early

My daughter, Rowan, age 3 months

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
babysitting on 02/11/2012 13:35:21 MST Print View

Don't you think that pole is a little long for her? Or is that what made her all sleepy?
Cute pic.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Parents: Are you doing all you can to raise a hiking buddy? on 02/12/2012 02:43:15 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 06/17/2015 16:56:17 MDT.

Matt Dickstein
(mirabela) - F
everything I can! on 02/13/2012 15:56:35 MST Print View

+3 to just getting out there!

No trip is too small, or too big ... I started lugging my kids on hikes in the baby carrier when they were tiny things, took them on picnics and little walks and fishing trips and car camping when they were toddlers, started doing winter overnights in the yard when they were in pre-school, did first backpacking trips (they carried their clothes, water & personals, I handled their sleeping stuff) when they were kindergarten-ish, first trips where they carry their own ~12 pound frame pack with sleeping bag & pad before first grade ...

They started snowshoeing at three, nordic skiing at four or five, alpine at five or six.

They're six and eight now; we spent five nights out together in Baxter SP last summer ... daughter has hiked 30-something of the NH 4K's, son has decided he wants to hike the whole Long Trail (we're ~60 miles along at this now), and they enjoy getting out whenever they can, any time of the year.

Don't lose sight of the fun of 'easy' outings. Last Friday night on a lark after school, finding it was going to be a mild night (+20F) we pulked our stuff up the hill out back, set up camp, invited the neighbor kid up for a starlight marshmellow roast, walked her home, and returned for a night of easy winter camping. We were back home with all equipment stowed or hung to dry by 8 in the morning.

Figure out what they like ... my daughter likes streams and views, whereas my son is more interested in ski area machinery and wreckage of old settlements. They both like steep scrambles and abhor monotonous sections through the woods.

Edited to add -- anything on skis gets extra points, ditto anything with swimming.

They're as capable now as a good many of the adults I know, and it's gotten to where I don't do very many trips without one or the other of them along, if not both. It's the best time we spend together.

Edited by mirabela on 02/13/2012 16:45:44 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Make reservations on 02/13/2012 16:41:52 MST Print View

It works best when I plan ahead and book the flights, rent the forest-service cabin, block-out the ski weekend, etc. Then something comes up ("We're having people over for dinner on Saturday", etc) and the trip is already on the calender and it gets priority.

2-night snow camping trip earlier this month. 3-night BPing in Hawaii next month. X-C ski day trips through April. Half Dome in August. Here is my 11-year-old in the Grand Canyon (Bright Angel - River - Bright Angel, 9.25 hours) last May.

Heading down

and afterwards:Back on the Rim

Edited by DavidinKenai on 02/13/2012 16:46:52 MST.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
I made my dad into a hiking buddy on 02/14/2012 06:41:02 MST Print View

A thread from Gear Lists got me thinking about this.

I turned my dad into my hiking buddy. When I was in 6th grade, I wanted to go backpacking. Everything about it appealed to me. My dad, my older brother, and I would get one vacation a year together, and I started hounding them to do backpacking. Dad, naturally, didn't want to invest all the money in new gear for one week EVER. But I kept at it, for a couple years until he realized that this wasn't just a one-off event. Older Brother was getting to the point in teenage years where he was too cool for family, so it turned into just me and dad getting into backpacking.

Dad and I still talk about trips together, both from years ago, and possible trips we might make happen. He lives in Michigan still, I live in Oregon, but we still love those rare times we go hiking together. He does trips out there with a cousin's boy scout troop, and I go solo usually here, but we always hit a good cadence together when we can get a trip with each other. Though I'm always telling him to leave something behind due to weight.

Dad and me

And he took my profile picture from the same trip.

Edited by j.j.81 on 02/14/2012 06:45:55 MST.

Matt Dickstein
(mirabela) - F
parents ... on 02/14/2012 12:57:34 MST Print View

Jeff J --

you bring up another important dimension. I did that too -- as a teenager, I wanted to get out more, and I had to basically groom my own partners because I didn't know too many people who hiked. My dad hadn't spent a night out since his army days -- before I was born -- but we did some great trips together up until I moved away after college.

Now we're back, with kids; my mom and my mother-in-law have taken a late interest in hiking, and they came along for lots of day hikes when the kids were a little younger. They still come with us now and then, but with the kids taking on adult-sized objectives and the ladies in question nearing eighty, their goals and approach don't match as often anymore.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Great advice on 02/15/2012 11:17:48 MST Print View

Great advice from all! My motto is to just simply love them up! We have car camped, we have a travel trailer and I'm fortunate to have taken my three older girls on a half dozen small weekend so cal trips last year. I found that as much as I love hiking alone, or with a good buddy, nothing compares to hearing them sing and play imaginative games on the trail... the "what am I?" game... fruit, food, desert, animal, etc..... Eventually the time spent one on one with dad or mom is what they go for, and your love of nature will be entirely contagious. It's counter culture to what most kids are doing, plugged into the video games and stagnant. It takes dedication to just get out there and get dirty. The rest happens on its own! Good for you for your commitment. I share a goal of more trail days this year... and hopefully each thereafter! I'm stacking up the hikers!The pack

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Multigenerational Trips on 02/15/2012 11:31:11 MST Print View

We've leveraged my MIL's and FIL's outdoorsy interests, good health (at age 71), and interest in the grandchildren (ages 7 and 11) to do more things with the kids. An example:

We all went to Yosemite and my wife and I went up Half Dome while the grandparents and kids went flat-water rafting on the Merced. Other days, we did things all together - top of Nevada Falls, etc.

This year, we'll do it again, but step it up a bit. Our now 12-year-old will do Half Dome with us, while the grandparents will shuttle the 7-year-old daughter to rock-climbing class that day. We'll do milder day hikes all together.

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
Re: Parents: Are you doing all you can to raise a hiking buddy? on 02/22/2012 11:06:18 MST Print View

I'm trying!

My kids are only 3 and 1 though, so I have a long project ahead of me. They don't get the choice NOT to come on expeditions until they're a good deal older, so I'd better make sure they like it now.

Our trip style is more along the lines of frequent day hikes punctuated by long (multi-month) expeditions every year or year and a half. It's hard to get motivated to do an overnight, simply because all the additional gear and logistics required means we actually have less range doing that than we do dayhiking! (especially in winter) But we do plan to get my son walking far enough to backpack on his own sometime this summer.

I admit when both parents are around, the temptation to just carry the kids and hike farther or in more difficult terrain than the 3 yr old can handle is often hard to resist. We try to have a balance of kid explore time, but don't make him walk as much as he could.