I am a big fan of keeping track of hikes. I know that may sound a little anal retentive, but it’s pretty interesting to start seeing how much you hike and how far. After years and years of hiking my husband and I have a really good idea of how long one-mile takes to walk or hike because we’ve always timed and logged our hikes.
Logging your hikes doesn’t have to be hard either. There are a ton of new apps out there that use your phone’s GPS to log any walk or hike, our most favorite one is Endomondo, which has a free app to download for your phone and is one of the most popular fitness apps and with a good reason. But there are a bunch of others like MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, Moves, JEFIT, etc which all work on both Android and iPhone.
Logging our hikes offers us a great ‘inventory’ of our already done hikes that we often revisit for reference but not just that, because when we want to do a quick hike, we’d go back and sort our hikes by time or distance and choose the one that better fits the schedule that day. Of course that applies to hikes we’ve already done, but many of these hikes we’ve done many years ago and doing them again now with our baby is such a refresher plus we’re already familiar with the trail and terrain, which only brings me to my next point.
Familiarize yourself with the trail
As much as you can, take the time to do that. For some, having the option to hike the trail alone is a great helper. For parents like us, that’s not an option because we have no one to leave the baby with, so where we go baby goes.
Familiarizing yourself with the trail before hand give you important tips on choosing a trail that’s the right distance and terrain for your youngest hiker.
Try to plan your hikes early in the day
While that’s a great tip, due to our baby’s sleep schedule, we always end up hiking in the afternoon, after he takes his nap in the morning. Each child is different so you’ll have to plan accordingly to the schedule that better fits your child. Our rule is – especially when starting later in the day – to plan our hikes in a way that always gets us back to our car before the sun starts to set.
Plan rest stops
As we all know, children tire easily, so plan to stop and explore more often than not. Choose multiple spots through the hike to rest and refuel with snacks and water, or even for a diaper change. In the first months of our hiking with the baby, I needed to pump every two hours around the clock. Needless to say how inconvenient that can be when you find yourself hiking in the woods and having to bring your pump along. But because feeding my baby breast-milk was just as important as getting out adventuring, buying the battery pack for the breast-pump and planning rest stops to pump during each hike was what I needed to do and have done successfully. If you have logged your hikes, you can go back and do them again in the future and have an idea of how long everything took!
Anka is a full-time Portland, OR working mom that treasures the most the special moments spent outdoors with her husband and 15-month old son, Apollo. In weekends you will always find them hiking or biking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and later blog about their son’s adventures on their personal blog: http://hike-a-tot.tumblr.com/