Hike it Baby is proud to celebrate all of the fathers and men who help to inspire families in our community to raise a generation to love the outdoors. Today we are featuring Nolan Hout, from Buckley, WA. He is the father to a 14-month-old and is teaching him to love the outdoors. Nolan shared with us just how important it is for his family to prioritize their time out in nature together.
How do you make a hike an enjoyable adventure for your whole family?
I don’t know if there is anything we have to do to make a hike enjoyable. I spend most of my days trapped in my office, staring at a computer screen, so anytime I am out hiking is much better than the alternative. Even if it is just a quick stroll around our block after dinner, I find myself in a much better mood.
But, there are a couple things we do that make it more enjoyable. We traditionally pack a snack for every hike nowadays. Not only does our son demand it, but it’s a great way to just stop for a second and enjoy your surroundings while you are refueling. The most important thing though, is making sure we have the right gear for the hike we are going on.
What advice would you give to someone who may be unsure about taking their young children out on the trails?
Join Hike it Baby! My wife was always nervous going on hikes by herself, which is why HiB has been so great. Not only can her friends in the group make recommendations on good hikes, but everyone hikes as a group. I’d also recommend starting with a trail close to your house. I remember when we first started hiking, we carried 40 pounds of gear that we didn’t need, while keeping the 3-4 items that we did need back at the house. Short hikes around our house helped us figure out these things, without being stuck 2 hours away from our house without an extra pair of pants.
Have you ever had a moment when you thought, “THIS is why we do this!” when outside with your son?
Our son is growing so fast that I have one of these moments every single time we are out hiking. He seems to learn so much from nature, picking up on noises from the different animals, noticing plants, and walking on uneven surfaces. These “learning” moments are always very special to me because I don’t think he could get that anywhere else but outside.
But, my favorite moment outside with my family so far was just recently. My wife told me about a hike that was about an hour away and said we should go for it. It was relatively early in the morning for us to get out the door, so we may have not left our house in the best of spirits, but we were just happy to get out of the house at all. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we had been on this hike before.
What made this particular hike special, is that it was the last hike we went on before our son was born, which just happened to be almost a year ago to the exact day! I’ve thought many times about how our son has changed our lives in the past year or so since he was born, and sad to say, many of those times are on Fridays at 9 pm when my wife and I can think of nothing more exciting than going to bed early. But in this moment, as I watched him picking up rocks, playing in the water, and just generally being the happiest person in the world, I realized that whatever trade-offs my wife and I have made in raising our son, pails in comparison to the benefits. Here’s a picture of that day…
What is the one thing that you make sure to have in your pack for a hike? What is the one thing that you frequently forget?
Food. Our son is normally happy for about an hour in his Onya before he starts to get the wiggles. Crackers, fruit, apple sauce, and basically anything he can eat without us needed to stop is essential to a nice hike. We keep a hiking bag in the car, so we don’t tend to forget many things, but if we do, it is usually shoes.
Have you had to adapt and evolve your outdoor adventures as your son grows to accommodate his new interests?
Our son used to be afraid of water. By used to, I mean that when we went to Hawaii, he wouldn’t go near the ocean. Less than a month later at a beach near Seattle, he ran full speed into the Sound. It would have been nice if he realized his love for the ocean when he could go into it without getting hypothermia, but that’s just the joy of parenting. Since then, we know to always pack his MyMayu and Oakiwear if we are going anywhere near open water.
Why is it important for men to encourage their families to get outdoors and inspire others to hike with them?
I can really only speak for myself on this one, but for people in my similar situation, where my wife watches our son throughout the day, the best way I can support my wife is to support her decisions. Let’s face it, there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything we want to do. In our family, we’ve decided that hiking and spending time outside is our biggest priority, even if that means that things like mowing the yard and doing the laundry don’t get done as often as we want. My wife still struggles with this and has times where she gets down on herself for not “doing more around the house”, but I hope that my support has helped.
Who inspires you to get outside when you would rather stay indoors?
I’d like to take a second and publicly thank my wife Marjorie Hout for pushing our family out of the house for the Hike it Baby 30 Challenge. My wife set the goal of doing 30 miles as a family this time and we were pretty charged to get going.
Saying we stumbled out of the starting blocks would be the understatement of the year. I had forgotten I was out of town the entire first week and when I made it back, we found out our son could barely breath due to the allergens floating around (at least that’s our hypothesis).
Add one more trip out of town for me and we found ourselves 20 miles away from our goal, with only one week left. I had already admitted to myself we were going to fall short this month, and I wasn’t feeling too bad about it considering we had several excuses, but my wife had other plans. She refused to let us give up and planned hikes for us every day this week.
Even with having one more curve ball thrown our way which prevented us from hiking on Friday, I’m unbelievably proud to say; our house got a little dirtier, we ate dinner a little later, and I ran out of clean socks, but WE HIKED 31 MILES!!!
Thank you so much, Nolan, for sharing your story and inspiring us to get out our entire family outdoors and out into nature!