Summer Bucket List # 18- Hike Roxborough State Park.
I love how every state park I have visited here in Colorado seems to be unique and has its own gifts to offer. I think I have been to only about 6 or 7 of them so far in Colorado, but they have each been an enjoyable experience with their one unique attributes. Roxborough State Park is beautiful. Despite the dry conditions in the state right now, it was very dense and lush. I hope that doesn't mean it will be in flames soon. There is a lot of interesting underbrush. It would be nice to spend some time there identifying plants there.
The red rocks there are beautiful and I enjoy spending time looking at them. We went this last Saturday with Mr. J's Wolf Den. We spent some time prior to entering the trail to talk about Leave No Trace Ethics and did a quick bag check while talking about the types of items all hikers should take on a hike.
I took my favorite trail for scouts there. Right of the bat was a good patch of Poison Ivy. I don't think it is enough to just show the boys a picture and lamely recite, "Leaves of Three, Leave them Be." But I like things to be hands on... well in this case... eyes on only! We worked on some other plant and tree identification and some other items in the Wolf Scout Handbook.
Hiking with 7 or 8 year olds requires some patience, though I didn't get to use most of my "tools"on this outing as my older scout didn't feel good suddenly and we only went half way on the trail. Opting to take the easier path back and not climb up one of the trails leading up onto one of the mesas. Here, I will share some with you. It seems to work so far after the last several years of scout hikes and family hikes.
Food... always pack food. Of course that is one of the essential hiking items, but hiking with young kids or novice kid hikers is like going on a long car ride. Having certain activities to do at specific points along the trail is a great incentive for kids (and me) to keep going. Telling things like, "We are going to stop and have that Jerky break at the next marker" or "We'll put in some EmergC Drink powder into your water bottle when we get around that bend." Since I like to have each kid have their own maps in their pack of the trails and areas we are in, sometimes we mark their break points marked. At these break points we take water breaks, snack breaks (and for outings I like to bring a little something special since we aren't likely to pay the high prices of snacks and food at anywhere we go. It helps to not feel deprived, in my opinion.) With my own kids, I usually have a riveting book we are reading and we stop and I read to them awhile, we may work on our nature journals, play a game, and with my scouts we may stop and work on a scout related achievement. Regardless there are plenty of things to do and things to look forward to. My own kids are well enough accustomed to large amounts of time in the outdoors and camping that they manage fine with out lots of prodding, but they hold me to the snack breaks. They are smart kids. I think the biggest tip is to go into the hike with a patient mindset. You'll get to the end when you get there. I let my kids dictate the pace and I am prepared with plenty to help inspire them to keep going.
What are some of you favorite ways to encourage kids to keep going on hikes?
On a side note... this is my 100th post!! Yeah Me!