I fought it for months.

When I started a new Hike It Baby branch, the collective wisdom of those who had gone before was to start with a recurring hike (one that happens weekly, biweekly, or monthly).  But I had many reasons why it wouldn’t work for me:  I struggle with commitment, I don’t like to tie myself down, I have a new baby who is unpredictable so I can’t possibly guess when he’ll nap, I’ll never be able to get all 3 kids out the door every single week…and on and on.

Why I Love Recurring Hikes by Alana Dimmick for Hike it Baby

Wachtung Reservation May 2017

But one day, I took the plunge.

I put a weekly Tuesday morning hike at a favorite trail just 5 minutes from home on the HIB calendar for the summer.  And you know what?  It was the best thing I could have done, not just for the branch, but for my family, too.

Why I Love Recurring Hikes by Alana Dimmick for Hike it Baby

Wachtung Reservation June 2017

Here are my reasons why we love recurring Hikes

  1. It eliminated decision making. I never realized how exhausting it was to plan one week at a time!  With a recurring hike I made one decision that covered us for the next 6 months.  That was mentally freeing for me.
  2. It eliminated whining. My 5 and 7 year old often had less than positive reactions to the news that we were hiking on a particular day.  But something magical happened once the date and time were no longer variable – all power struggles and whining disappeared!  After several weeks they even got ready to go without prompting from me!
  3. The baby adjusted. Sometimes the baby fell asleep on the hike, and sometimes he didn’t.  If he missed a nap, he was so much happier being outdoors that my fears of an epic meltdown were never realized.
  4. Preparation became easier. To hike weekly, gear has to stay accessible.  For us that meant keeping a cooler in the back of the car that held raincoats, hats, extra socks, sunscreen, etc.  I left everything in there, and pulled out what was needed at the trailhead – no more thinking about what to pack every time, no more searching the house for missing pieces.
  5. The accountability made a difference. Because we committed to lead a weekly hike, my family spent every Tuesday outside on the trail. To reach the end of our short summer season with no regrets about not hiking enough?
  6. We fell in love with the trail. To repeatedly hike the same trail is to know that trail intimately.  We watched the progression from earliest spring to late fall.  We became familiar with the plants and animals, and learned so much in the process!
  7. A recurring hike fostered friendships. When we began to see the same families weekly, friendships blossomed naturally. It was my recurring hike that brought my family the Hike It Baby community we longed for.

Interested in leading a recurring hike?  Any Hike It Baby member can lead one!  Contact your Branch Ambassador for more details. Coffee Hikes are especially popular as recurring hikes.

Photos courtesy of Ali Chandra

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