The Family Hike

*Disclaimer, I do have a few friends that have been hiking with their little ones since they were babies and have no problems…the rest of us however, well…hiking with kids can be a challenge.

We live about 5 minutes from the Shenadoah Valley. That means we have some of the best hiking trails literally right there for us to enjoy.

My husband and I want our kids to know the outdoors. We want them to have a love of nature and the want to explore and be adventurous.

So, often we torture ourselves by taking our kids on a hike.

Have you ever been hiking with little ones?

It can certainly be a good experience (or so I’ve heard from a few friends). But for our family, it’s seen as a test of wills.

Let me start out by saying, our 7 month old had a diaper blowout before we started. Being the “good mom” that I am, I of course did not bring along a change of clothes. ( Just so everyone knows, I’m never prepared. It’s one of my many flaws.) So, that was fun trying to wash out his clothes and dry them in a information center bathroom.

And for all you who are reading, if you ever encounter a mother in a bathroom who is trying to deal with a diaper emergency while trying to yell at her other kids for treating the bathroom like a playground, don’t just stare at her like you have never seen such a sight. Maybe see if she needs some assistance.

Anyway, I digress…


When it comes to the actual hiking, my 5 year old is usually okay as long as there is a promise of a picnic table and food. She will remind us every 3 minutes that our goal is to eat and she will want to know how we plan on executing that goal.

She likes to collect items. We finally got smart and this time brought a ziplock bag with us so she had a place for all her treasures.

Usually about 5 minutes into our hike, our oldest is done and needs to know that we will at some point make it back home.

She’s a bit more into the outdoors than our 3 year old. She doesn’t mind getting dirty and she thinks caterpillars are the cutest. She is still however, very impatient with “just walking around” and does not understand the concept of “being one with nature.”

Then there is our lovely 3 year old. I have to tell you, there is a reason God made this child so adorable.

It seems that my 3 year old hates doing anything. We forget this important detail when have family fun outings. This child doesn’t like walking, dirt, anything wet or bright sunshine.

I’d say approximately 2 minutes into our hike she started whining and wanted to be carried. It’s actually gotten to the point where her complaining makes me laugh. It’s just so ridiculous.

This trip I got away with bribing her. Telling her that when we stop for lunch she can be carried. I also distracted her with large sticks and flower picking.

My 3 year old has a vivid imagination. And on this trip she was a princess lost in a forest. We still had to subside her mini tantrums by giving her a hat, more sticks and my sunglasses. She won out in the end when her dad just couldnt take the complaining anymore and she gleefully got to be carried for the last 4 minutes of the trail.

We finally made it to a picnic area and ate our lunch. The girls were finally satisfied.

I started writing this post annoyed a little about the trip and was thinking about how frustrating it was. We spend a lot of time telling our kids to stop complaining, enjoy themselves and to just relax.

Now that I’m looking back, it wasn’t all that bad. We got to spend time together. We were able to show our kids some beautiful views.

Hopefully when they look back on their childhood, they will remember the good times and the fact that we shared these moments with them. If they remember being miserable, well, then maybe we can just all laugh about it.

All in all, I’m grateful I was able to spend this beautiful day with my family.


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