Get Together, Get Fresh Air & Get Fit!
Hiking with family and friends is a great way to get fit, breathe in some fresh air, and spend time together. Here are 5 tips to help make your hike and enjoyable experience:
Find a Trail
The best source for finding well-maintained and marked trails is TrailLink. This excellent online resource provides a massive searchable database of trails with free maps, descriptions, photos, reviews, and even downloadable GPS data. One of our favorites hikes is along a "Rails-to-Trails" path. These old railroad beds have been repurposed as hiking and cycling trails and are typically flat and smooth with stunning views.
Have each person carry a bottle filled with water or sport drink. Some bottles are designed to be comfortably carried on a walk or run and can even hold a cell phone.
Carry a Backpack
Carry a small, lightweight backpack with some trail trekking essentials like healthy snacks, a cell phone, sunscreen, camera, and a few small bandages. The backpack is also a great place to put your sunglasses if you are on a heavily wooded trail with little direct sunlight. And remember to place any trash in the backpack for disposal later.
Check the Weather
It may sound obvious, but always check the weather before hiking. I once headed out to hike on a beautiful sunny day only to find myself in a downpour with water literally gushing down the trail, making for a slow and muddy return to my car!
Be patient with family and friends who are a bit slower or tire more quickly on the trail. Hiking is certainly about fitness, but more importantly it is about sharing time together outdoors and making memories. On nearly every hike our family has been on, I've given at least one of my children a "piggy-back" ride on a portion of the trail.