Hiking with kids is super fun. You get to see them push themselves up the hills, and get to laugh as they enjoy the pebbles on the trail while there is a breathtaking view behind them. But hiking can be something that is easily bumped from your weekly schedule if inclement weather hits. Spring time is particularly painful when the days jump between 75 and 25 degrees. On the warm days (usually a Monday) we think “Oh, this weekend will be perfect to take the kids out!” but once Saturday rolls around, a blizzard has hit (Colorado can’t be the only state like this). Snow comes with its own problems that are only dwarfed by the problems brought by rain.
What are you gonna do? You are a hiking family, dang it! Why is the weather conspiring against you? Well, perhaps the weather is totally misunderstood. Maybe it’s trying to add a little variety to your hiking routine. Hiking season? What does that even mean? Every season is hiking season; even spring. Don’t believe me? Here are 5 reasons why hiking in wet conditions is awesome.
1. Your kids will remember it! This may be a shock, but your three-year old isn’t going to remember each individual summer hike (and neither will you). But hike in the rain? That will be solidified in your memory bank. They will be in their 20’s, visiting from college, and everyone will laugh about the adventures in the rain.
2. There is so much to teach your kids about. This is a great environment to start teaching your kids about where weather comes from, how it affects the local habitats, and of course some simple weather safety. (In the spirit of safety, consider packing some towels and blankets in the car. They will protect your interior. Oh, and they’ll dry off and warm your kids).
3. It’s hilarious. If you let yourself, it can be awesome (promise). It’s a great time to let go of the rules, and let your kid get in touch with their wild side. Don’t avoid the puddles (if your hike is short enough), and instead encourage them to splash around, heck, you splash around.
4. Once you let go of what hiking with kids should look like, you can enjoy the spontaneity of going whenever time allows. Isn’t it the worst when you schedule out a hike, tell the kids about it, and then you have to cancel because of weather? Psh, humans have likely been surviving in much worse conditions than some rain or light snow. Your kids are going to be thrilled that you took the time to take them out in adventurous conditions, and you are going to feel like a rockstar parent.
5. The trails are going to be EMPTY. Hallelujah! No bikes to avoid, no grouchy hikers with dogs that your three-year-old isn’t allowed to touch (she’s a nice dog, but gets skittish around kids…). Freedom! Your kid can run way ahead, or lag way behind, and you don’t have to feel the guilt of looking like you’re abandoning them. If there is a decent spot to avoid the weather, your toddler can pee on the side of the trail. RIGHT THERE!
See? What we’ve been considering intolerable weather conditions for years has actually been adventure weather. Rain? Adventure. Snow? Adventure. Sure, damp conditions may not be for just anyone, but you’re not just anyone; you’re a Hike it Baby parent. So get with you local HiB group (or go solo), and get out there and tear up those trails. Splash in a puddle for me!
Photo Credit: Tais Kulish
Hannah is the Assistant Editor of a long distance backpacking website, the Operations Manager of Colorado Ski Chairs, and the married mother of two spunky kids. She enjoys hiking and road biking in her home-state of Colorado,reading suspense novels, and of course binging on Netflix.