Hiking is in my son’s blood and in mine. When he was inconsolable as a newborn, taking him outside was the only thing that soothed him. Now as a toddler, there is no place he would rather be than outside no matter the weather. I am grateful that Hike It Baby helps share the world I love with him and connects him to others who share that love. His friends are all from Hike it Baby and there is nothing better for him than splashing in puddles with them.

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The benefits of Hike it Baby have extended beyond my son to our whole family. I have watched my wife transform into a stronger version of who she really is. I previously watched her lose much of herself to work before our son was born and then to post partum depression and anxiety. Hike It Baby has made her stronger physically (“calves of steel!”) and mentally. She has also gained friends and a support network which has been vital while living 3,000 miles from family. On days when she doesn’t want to leave the house, having a hike to host forces her up and out and she comes back feeling better. The HIB30 Challenges have also inspired her to push her mile goals further and further every month. After giving birth to our son, she could barely walk around the neighborhood, now she’ll carry 50lbs of toddler and gear on a 7.5 mile hike with elevation. In the September Challenge she is going for 120 miles and I will do everything I can to help her meet that goal.

One of the things I have learned from watching The Simpsons is that a good father needs to know the answers to the following questions:

1. What is your child’s hobby?

2. Name one of your child’s friends.

3. Who is another parent you can talk to about parenting?

4. Who is your child’s hero?

The answer to question 1 is Hike it Baby. By joining a hike and you can find out the answers to questions 2 and 3, and *be* the answer to question 4.

We all look at hiking differently thanks to Hike it Baby. When we go hiking as a family, without Hike It Baby, we find ourselves scoping out every trail for how it would do as a Hike it Baby hike. Toddler led? Hazards? Green, blue, or black? Could a stroller make it? Etc… We even did this when hiking thousands of miles from home and hundreds of miles from the nearest Hike it Baby branch.

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One of the ways I am contributing to the world of Hike it Baby is by leading a series of weekend story time hikes. The first one, in April, featured a reading of “Are You Ready To Play Outside” by Mo Willems followed by a toddler led hike through a wetland preserve. The second installment was a Father’s Day hike in a dark forest featuring “The Berenstein Bears and the Spooky Old Tree.” I am excited to be sharing these and other stories/adventures with my family and the Hike it Baby community.

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