[dropcap]A[/dropcap] s parents of three young kids, it is really important that when we can get the whole family out, and we have a good time. Our motto is "small time increments, frequently" This ensures that we can make the best of or little trips and if its a bust, we know that we can go home, give the kids a nap and try again another day. It's important to lower your expectations and just go into the day knowing that you will have a good day. Even if this means just getting to the parking lot, letting the kids stretch their legs, and ending up at McDonald's for an ice cream treat! Just enjoy your family. [caption id="attachment_425" align="aligncenter" width="527" caption="Getting young kids out hiking for shorter, more positive, intervals can let them know that hiking and being outside is FUN!"][/caption] When our kids were really small, we seemed to always be governed by weather. Rain made everything miserable, the kids were cold, wet, extremely dirty and whiny. Our resolve? Do everything you can on sunny days! Overcast works too, but check the weather before you dive into the deep end, and pack accordingly in case the weatherman wasn't quite right. First, get a good kid carrier! Wether it is a Kelty structured pack or a fabric option make sure it is highly adjustable and has a good child weight limit so it will grow with your child. We have 3 different styles and we always take two so that if one of our older kids get tired its easier to put them in a carrier than giving them a piggy back. I will review these with you soon! Often times we take the kids close to home and head up Hatcher Pass for an afternoon. Its a beautiful car ride and there are many levels of hiking difficulty. There are usually quite a few people up there, but with the multiple trail systems and ease of hiking off trail, it feels like you have the mountain to yourself. We have done this dozens of times and it never feels like we do the same thing twice! We also enjoy taking family to the gold miner's museum they have up there. There are loads of options for spring, summer and fall. [caption id="attachment_427" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Not walking yet? No problerm! The Kelty line of child carriers gets the whole family out."][/caption] Another family favorite is Thunderbird Falls. We love this trail because it is a very easy hike, and if you are wearing children in back packs its still good exercise for the adults but the older (3 and older) kiddo's can walk most of the way without being too tired. Small children can feel pretty proud when they see the waterfall, knowing they made it the whole way by themselves! This trail is very wide, great for strollers, and allows walking in a 'herd' instead of single file. We usually end our day with a treat to celebrate the success! Wether it be, an icee, ice cream cone or a snack I have packed, it is important for us to celebrate victory as a family. We build memories and build on our relationship as a family unit. It is our experience that we often forget cash for the $5 parking pass. This year we have purchased an annual pass which you can purchase here, and if you use it 8 times it will pay itself off. It offers a one-time payment and you will never be scrounging around your vehicle looking for the fifth dollar or asking other hikers if they can break a twenty! This is good at almost all trail heads and Alaska recreation parks. Keep it in you vehicle and you won't have to worry about filling out window tags again. There are hundreds of hiking trails through out this great state, these are just a few of our quick, go-to rec areas. We would love it if you share your favorite trails accessible for families with kids ages 5 and under. [caption id="attachment_428" align="aligncenter" width="511" caption="The Thunderbird Falls trail is very easy for beginners and small children."][/caption] Here are my final suggestions for you as you explore Alaska with your little ones.
- Start small and build from there.
- Get a good kid carrier.
- layer your child in comfortable breathable clothing removing layers accordingly
- Make sure to pack lots of water and snacks
- Bug spray and sunscreen!
- Take Pictures! Remember these days!
- Be sure to take $5 for parking
When my girl was younger we used one of the Kelty packs to hike her all over Germany. I would highly recommend them.
robkroupa April 17, 2021