While backpacking in the Olympic National Forest this past weekend we ran into a family of mountain goats on the trail. Both the goats and the hikers were equally startled. While they seemed happy to share the trail with us we fun-lovingly shooed them off because they should not be so comfortable around humans. Maybe the same is true for the doe and her two fawns that playfully paced themselves on the trail ahead of us for nearly a mile.
We also ran into a family of the human kind. The boys looked to be nine and thirteen and along with their parents they were feeling weary from the challenge of the climb but happy to be there.
I hope your family has enjoyed the outdoors together and chosen to exercise your bodies while doing so. I highly recommend it. The Chuckanut Mountain Trail system can be accessed just south of the corner of Old Samish and Chuckanut Drive. http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/parks/chuckanut/images/map_trails_chuckanut.jpg
Here are some tips for first time hikers:
- Talk to your kids about doing an afternoon hike followed by going out for a treat that evening. Be enthusiastic about it and ask them to give it a try.
- It is better to plan multiple short hikes than one big one in the beginning.
- It will be hard at first so when your thighs are burning and you are out of breath stop and rest.
- Take water and an energy bar or cookie and some trail mix in a small backpack.
- Have each adult and child carry a bottle of water.
- Plan to stop and rest and eat a snack about 45 minutes to an hour after you start hiking (instead of waiting until you have reached your destination which is always further than you think it will be!)
- Wear loose clothes and a cross training type of shoe.
- Always have a reward that all of you look forward to getting after a hardy hike (Mine is beer and nachos but a more family oriented alternative is ice cream or your favorite take-out.)
- A two or three-mile round trip might be a good first hike. It might take two or three hours based on the age of your child and your fitness level.
- Don’t worry about making it to the end. If you stop having fun, head on back to the car and congratulate yourselves. Plan to go out again the next weekend to see if you can go a little farther.
Keep checkin’ in! Byron