Hiking with kids in and around the New River Gorge of West Virginia is all about going nowhere fast…
I am a mountain of patience. I am mountain of patience. I am a mountain of patience. Aaand breathe.
That’s how I recommend starting each hike with kids. You can try starting each day that way, too. Best of luck with that.
When they’re little, anything (and I mean anything) will stop them in their tracks and halt the hike. The older they get the more creative the diversions become. They make up games to play, and still later we look at birds and bugs and plants to break up the march.
From the kids we can learn a very important concept to understand and embrace: The destination is secondary to the hike.
The value in going for a hike is not the part where are feet move it is the part when we stop and talk, look, listen, explore, play, snack and wonder. Yeah there is a great view at a beautiful overlook but don’t overlook the value of taking your time. Enjoy the distractions along the way.
Here’s some stuff to make sure you bring:
- wipes (hey, they’re not just for babies!)
Ultimately, that last one’s the secret. Be patient. The whole idea is to make sure that you’re somewhere memorable (the trail) with someone you love (the kids).
Here are some things to leave behind, or at least to not use:
True, there’s some safety in having a phone and watch with you. But you have to balance that with how tempting they are to use. If you can keep them in your bag except for emergencies, great.
But if you’re renting a cabin, and you’re just out to spend a little time on the trails around the gorge, consider leaving them back. I can say from experience that you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more if you can devote yourself to just walking around in the woods for a while.
Your kids will too.