I don’t know about you, but we are trying to squeeze every last bit of adventure out of this summer. The snow will be here before you know it, so we’re spending as much time outside as possible before we have to start wearing our parkas!
One of the great things about Alaska summers is that the weather is perfect for being outside. This summer we spent time swimming, fishing, kayaking and hiking. We are surrounded by amazing trail systems for all levels of experience. That means plenty of family friendly hikes that are perfect for all ages. My little hikers range in age from 4 – 13, so we tried to keep our hikes under 3 miles.
In my experience spending time outside with kids, their enjoyment has a lot to do with how we present the activity. My kids hate the idea of “hiking,” but they love the idea of walk with snacks. It’s a win-win when the snacks are delicious, and they’re free of fillers like high fructose corn syrup. CLIF Kid Bars are organic and nutritious. One of my favorite things about these bars is that they use a variety of nut butters, not just peanut.
- Know your hikers’ limits: my older kids are good for between 5-10 miles, depending on the weather and trail, but the little kids need something shorter. If it’s a whole family hike, we opt for a shorter distance.
- Research the hike: We love to take our dog hiking, but not all trails are pet friendly. It makes for a sad group if we have to turn around because dogs aren’t welcome. Fortunately, this kind of information is easy to find online.
- Bring friends: Kids are less likely to whine when they’re with other, unrelated, kids. Also, it’s great to have extra adults to talk to and help supervise.
- Make lots of noise: While peaceful hiking may be a thing in the lower 48, up here we need to make lots of noise so that the big animals know that we’re there. Bears are a lot grumpier when they’re surprised. We sing a lot of songs when we’re hiking, and we all have bear bells on our backpacks.
- Dress appropriately: You don’t need the most expensive gear, but a four year old in Crocs and a mini dress, makes for an extra long morning . (I speak from experience!)
- Bring a first aid kit: You can never have too many bandages when you’re hiking with kids.
- Pack snacks: I like bringing special snacks that we only take on adventures. The CLIF Kid Zbar is filling, and the Apple with Almond Butter tastes like dessert. The natural flavors make me happy and the yum factor makes my kids happy.
- Bring notebooks: I’m a big believer in Leave No Trace, so it’s fun for kids to draw what they see, or make lists of animals or plants.
- Bring water: The risk of heat stroke is pretty minimal in Alaska, but staying hydrated is still important.
- Attitude is everything: We’ve had great hikes and we’ve had miserable hikes, but if everyone is excited for the adventure and the possibility then we’re in for a great day.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.