I took Alfie on our first Hike it Baby hike just over a year ago. It was September, he was nine weeks old and I had no idea what to expect.
I am no ‘hardcore’ hiker and I do not go on lots of Hike it Baby hikes each week. But I do like to get outside and walk.
So when I heard about Hike It Baby, I thought I could be pretty much out of my depth. Because: Yes, I could walk and enjoyed walking. But hiking – and with a tot in tow – seemed somewhat challenging.
A year later and Alfie and I love ‘hiking’ and we have Hike It Baby to thank to opening up our ‘hiking’ world. It doesn’t matter whether it is a ‘hike’ to the park or a four mile trail hike, we are getting outdoors and getting to know more about nature and the place in which we live.
September’s Hike it Baby challenge was to hike 30 miles in 30 days. As a stay at home mum with just one baby to care for, I am lucky that I can get out during the working week. I felt quite confident that we would be able to reach the target mileage. The ‘extra’ challenge that I set for Alfie and I was that we would use September to get back into going to Hike It Baby organized hikes and do new to us hikes and park toddles.
In the end we logged just over 43 miles, which I was pleased with. Yes, there were a few more walks to our local park than I would have liked (I thought we should be more adventurous!) but you know what? That’s a 1 – 1.5 mile round trip and one that Alfie loves to walk himself (sometimes) and we’re still outdoors! The challenge gave me a really good insight into how far we do walk on a given month. It did inspire me to get out a little more often than usual – going out more than once a day, tagging neighborhood hikes or park toddles onto already planned activities or appointments – but by and large, logging our miles showed me that we probably do walk around this distance each month.
I didn’t get to as many Hike It Baby organized events as I wanted to. Alfie does not love being in the carrier entirely and so I know that some of the hikes that I choose are very much for me and not necessarily for him. I sometimes find it hard to justify that ‘me’ time, so to speak. Like all toddlers, he has lots of energy to burn off and I know that being carried for a couple of hours, if I haven’t been able to get his wriggles out earlier on, is just not going to wear him out enough to sleep well. I wholeheartedly agree that getting outside is vital for young minds and little legs. I love that Hike It Baby enables and encourages me to get Alfie outdoors and know that I can meet friends at the same time. But even hearing about all the hikes that people do makes me want to get out with Alfie on my own. And for me, that is worth even more.
So whether it is hiking or walking, it doesn’t matter. We got outside a lot this September and we plan to keep on getting outdoors this fall. Thanks to our Hike It Baby community.
Do you have a HiB30 Challenge story to share with us? Inspire us all and send your story to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Farrar is a stay-at-home mummy (not a typo!) who lives in Portland, OR with the husband, Nick and 16 month-old Alfie. Originally from the UK, the Farrars have lived in the US of A for 2.5 years and love exploring their new city, state & country. Laura blogs about their American adventures on Farrars Further Afield.