Let’s set the record straight right out of the gate: I’m not a member of Hike it Baby, nor have I ever gone on a hike with the group. I haven’t even met another member of the organization in person besides my wife, but I’m a believer and here’s why: I have seen how Hike it Baby has impacted my familyCouple with a child in a frame carrier standing in the desert of Moab

I’m writing to the husband of the family who might think this is just another “mommy play date club”. And to the wife or partner who isn’t taking advantage of all the benefits of Hike it Baby.

Our story is as follows: My wife, Rachel, and I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah from Cozumel, Mexico. Big change! We desperately needed some friends and hobbies to help us adapt to this new lifestyle of snow and mountains.

I was the one that found Hike it Baby and thought it might be a chance to build friendships. I told my wife to try it out and of course, she didn’t. I work during the day so I couldn’t attend most of the hikes on the calendar that month, but it would be perfect for her. If only she would listen to me!

After a little bit, okay a lot, of nagging she did go on a simple, toddler-led, hike.

And so it began.

Since that first hike she has gone on a hike at least twice a week, sometimes with Hike it Baby, a new friend, or on her own with our son. This is where the real change has come and what HiB has started for us.

1. MORE ENERGY

In my head it doesn’t make sense, but when I come home from work my wife and son have more energy. I play with my boy later than normal because he is buzzing like the Energizer bunny.

Since he started hiking he has forgotten how to walk, and only runs from point A to B. I see my wife is happy to see me, even if it has been a hard day. The night seems to fly by, because the two most influential people in my life have this magnetic force that transfers to me and gives me energy as if from nowhere.

2. BETTER SLEEP

All of that energy in our little son’s body does burn out–eventually. When it does, you can hear his crash from the face plant into his tiny pillow. Hiking days are my favorite nights because I know our little one will sleep a solid 12 hours. He now does that on a consistent basis thanks to the routine of being active.

3. MORE PRODUCTIVITY

Over the course of a month, I came home and a lot of things were completed sooner than normal. Her work was completed, our home was cleaner, dinner was cooking, groceries were bought, and she was happy and excited to see me and tell me about the day.

At first I didn’t realize there was a direct correlation to hiking, so I began my investigation by identifying the days when things were different. On those days I would ask my wife about her day and listen to the responses.

I found that there was a pattern. On days that my wife went on a hike she would be out of the house and away from her stay at home work, and since she was out already she would do some errands. Upon coming home she could put our boy down for a nap with ease due to the hike. During that time she had the energy to do want she needed to do, and even things she wanted to do for herself to fulfill her own needs.

A few months later she has successfully started her own blog about the importance of the outdoors and is currently working on a second dealing with traveling in Mexico. She is also in the process of buying a house to fix up, coaches two youth soccer teams, and still finds time to hike because that is what she loves.Couple on a bench in Moab desert overlooking a canyon

4. KIDS LEARN BETTER

Textures, colors, and experiences help the brain develop tremendously before the age of two. After that age as well, but babies are little sponges. The more experiences they can have the better off they will be.

Our boy is 16 months old and has a love for the earth. Rocks and sticks are his favorite toys. Pinecones are his favorite snacks despite his mother’s quickness to get them out of his mouth. We’ve discovered he loves water and is always smiling when he is outside.

Just this morning he was picking up all the trash he could find at the park and throwing it away. I mean really?! How cool is that?

5. OUTSIDE FAMILY TIME

This might not be a problem for some families, but at one point it was very difficult for ours. I grew up in Idaho which meant shooting, scouts, backpacking, skiing, and all that outdoor stuff. This was naturally a part of my life.

My wife grew up in a family who feared the outdoors. We joke that they considered camping sleeping in a three star hotel. Early in our marriage it was hard for me to get her outside since she was new to the outdoors and sometimes uncomfortable.

Thanks to friends she discovered the joy of nature and slowly went further and further out of her comfort zone. Camping, however, was the line in the sand. She was not ready for that type of commitment.

One day after she got home from a hike she said that it “might” be fun to go camping. For Christmas that year she got a sleeping bag as a present from a mystery lover. Yep. Santa. A few weeks later she talked about a camping trip that one of the Hike it Baby crew had just gone on. Shortly after that we went to an outdoor expo, which are amazing for buying gear. It was there that she said, “It’s time to go camping.” We are now looking for a 4Runner, so if you have one for sale let me know.

Rachel’s change wasn’t overnight, but now she is more sure than ever about the outdoors and it being a part of our life.

This has been something that I’ve wanted to do with my family since I was little, and thanks to Hike it Baby (and many other friends) my hope for my family adventures have come true.

Aaron Kirkham – Growing up in the wilderness of Idaho, Aaron gained a great appreciation for the outdoors. He married the girl of his dreams and they moved to Mexico for work and made an adventure of it. While in Mexico their son Chucho joined the Kirkham Krew . As a family they do all they can to get outside. Follow their adventures at Rachel’s blog Rockies to Islands and Aaron’s Blog Cozumel Daily .

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