Hiking and back packing with children is very enjoyable, but I have found that you have to adjust your mindset just a little, you need to learn how to Adventure Hike.

As adults, my wife and I are Destination Hikers. We go and keep on going until we reach the destination, the waterfall, flower meadow, ghost town, or lake. The purpose of the hike is to get to the destination, no matter what. This attitude got us into trouble a couple of years ago when our desire for the destination overpowered our common sense.

So how does hiking with children make a difference? First, they are usually not physically able to go the distance to the usual adult destinations. So, either select a nearby destination that is not too far or too steep or go only partway and then turn around.

With kids, you need to be on an Adventure Hike. What’s that? An Adventure Hike is like The Bear Went Over the Mountain – To See What He Could See. So what do kids like to see when they hike over the mountain? You name it! Water – any kind of water, waterfall, lake, stream, pond. Bugs – any kind of bugs, spiders, ticks, beetles, bees. Flowers – flowers in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Rocks – rocks to sit on, to jump off of, to throw, and to put in your pocket for your collection. Caves – every cave, no matter how big or small needs to be explored for at least 2-3 feet past the entrance. I have found that a 100 yard Adventure Hike with bugs, rocks, and water is much more fun than a five mile Destination Hike when the Destination Hike offers only the consolation of “Yeah, I made it”. (Of course, a combination of Adventure and Destination is absolutely the best in hiking).

Geocaching is also a lot of fun for kids. A Geocach is a “treasure” left by another person at a specific site with recorded GPS coordinates. Go online to one of the geocaching sites and download a geocach site in your area with GPS coordinates and then follow your Hiking GPS to find your hidden treasure. Kids love this adventure.

So the lesson I’ve learned while hiking with my grand children, is to slow down, explore, and enjoy the adventure. This is a time of getting to know my grandchildren better. And, an Adventure Hike is something that the kids will remember for years to come.

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