Getting Kids Out Into Nature

2016 Year In Review

mount rainier national park, paradise trails, hiking with children
Stunning

I finally got around to tallying our hikes for the year. It was fun to look back and remember what we’ve done. I feel like we had an excellent year for hiking. We explored a lot of new territory, from hikes in town, up in the Bellingham area, and farther afield, to our big road trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. We visited a few favorites, as well. Thanks to the Gaia app, I was able to keep more accurate stats, including elevation.

yellowstone, midway geyser basin
Grand Prismatic Spring

We completed 52 discrete hikes and nature walks. Some of these were short little loops, under a mile on boardwalks, at Yellowstone, but I recorded most of them. They all added up when we did several in one day! Even with a subsection of these smaller walks, I still think that we got a respectable number of hikes in. We covered over 114 miles and over 11,000 feet of elevation gain. (I didn’t record elevation on many of our hikes before I got the Gaia app.) In the late summer and early fall, we did several respectable longer hikes. I’m especially proud of these; I felt like we were all stronger to attempt longer hikes, and pushed us more than normal, and it was great! I have such fond memories of Panorama Point, Chain Lakes, Second Burroughs, and Heather and Maple Pass.

chain lakes trail, mt. baker, best hikes for kids, fall colors, fall foliage,
The Long Mile Back

My kids aren’t super driven to hike far and high, so these were accomplishments for them. I also brought friends along on more hikes, which was a big step for me. It’s especially important to Gabe to have friends along, so I tried to find some trips that would be appropriate for them to come with. It makes it a different kind of trip with other children along under my care.

I was looking back through previous years, and it looks like the last time I tallied up our hikes was for 2013. Interestingly, we got the same mileage this year, and comparable elevation gain (if you count some of the trips where I didn’t record elevation…). I hope we can increase those numbers in 2017. It’s definitely getting harder with the kids’ schedules being so full. But we’ll do our best.

rock trail, kids in nature, best hikes for kids, year round hiking
Annika in the Hidey-Hole, Rock Trail, Bellingham

Some of my favorites this year:

  • Exploring more around Bellingham, and getting into the print edition of ParentMap
  • Our trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons
  • Pyramid Lake, where there were carnivorous plants and dragonflies molting (TR coming, eventually!)
  • Camping with both sets of parents at Iron Creek, and visiting Windy Ridge (TR coming)
  • My first solo backpacking trip, to Pete Lake
  • Incredible scenery at Mt. Rainier, both from the Paradise side and the Sunrise area
  • Fall colors at Chain Lakes and Maple Pass
  • Driving around Lopez Island, exploring and taking notes for next time we go
heather maple pass trail, best hikes for kids, north cascades, fall hikes, larches
Up Some More

Do you have any hiking related goals for this year? I would like to explore more new trails, especially snowshoe trips this winter. I want to get the kids out for more overnights, and get out to the Olympic Peninsula more. This will be the first year that the kids will both be at summer camp at the same time, so I hope to get out on my own during that week. Other than those goals, I just hope to keep getting out. I hope to make more connections with other hikers, and write more in different publications. I hope my kids still want to keep coming with me!

Let me know what your goals are this year in the comments. I love hearing what others have planned. Wishing you all the best this coming year.

heather pass, north cascades, best hikes for kids, fall hiking, larches
Me and a Stunning Backdrop

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