Nowadays, our window of opportunity is a lot smaller thanks to nap times, early intervention appointments, and different work schedules. Not to mention, hiking in the woods can be a big production when you add three kids into the mix. In addition to our own gear, we need to pile lots more into the car – extra clothing, diapers and wipes, snacks, drinks, kid carriers for the twins, and Addie’s backpack. There’s no doubt things will get easier as the kids get older, but for right now, we generally only hit the trails on the weekends.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t find adventure in the everyday. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the goal is to enjoy the outdoors together – whether hiking up a mountain, snowshoeing through the forest, playing at the park, exploring the city streets, or walking around our neighborhood. Adventure can happen anywhere!
I have to admit, I lost sight of this simple idea over the last year. It felt like walking around the neighborhood didn’t “count” as outdoor time. Yet my body was craving being outside. With Boston hitting the all time record snowfall this winter, we spent a lot of days snowed indoors. Something needed to give.
Enter Hike it Baby. Founded by Shanti Hodges after the birth of her son in 2013, Hike It Baby is an incredible group of moms and dads across the United States committed to getting outdoors with their kids. I happened to find Hike It Baby just in time to join their March Hike It Baby 30.
Always one to thrive when presented with a challenge, I signed up to log 30 miles outside in 30 days. What really kick-started me are the “rules” for the challenge. Outside means outside – on the trail or the sidewalk. Knowing that I can’t get to a trailhead most afternoons, I have been forced to find alternatives to get in our miles.
So, instead of packing the car and heading for the trail, we are exploring our own neighborhood, and beyond… and it has been awesome! We’ve walked between one and two and a half miles on every outing. The twins love riding in the stroller with Addison leading the way.
It’s so much easier to get outside everyday when the trailhead is our front door. We need way less gear – a diaper bag tossed in the bottom of the stroller holds the essentials. Once Evan and Kate are strapped into the stroller, we are good to go.
Our adventures have brought with them a much-needed change of routine. The fresh air has been great for everyone, and we discovered all sorts of neat places during our walks. The most intriguing are the yellow spray-painted handprints. We are still trying to figure out what they mean!
5 Tips for Finding Adventure in the Everyday
1. Try a New Route! Instead of taking your usual path to the store, try a different route. Don’t be afraid to get a little lost as you explore your neighborhood!
2. Let Your Kid Lead: It’s so easy to overlook the little details in the rush of everyday life. Letting your little one lead the way is one way to slow down. Even better – they often they see things from a totally different perspective, so you start to see your surroundings with new eyes. Encourage them to share what they see!
3. Encourage Your Toddler to Walk! It can feel a little scary to let your littlest ones loose, but they love the independence! Evan is enjoying more and more time out of the stroller, exploring the world from a standing vantage point.
4. Appreciate the Beauty: Just because neighborhoods and urban areas aren’t covered in trees doesn’t mean you can’t spot beauty. Look for funky architecture, interesting textures, or a juxtaposition between nature and human-made objects.
5. Take Advantage of Cafes! You can’t get a latte in the backcountry, yet there’s nothing like celebrating the end of a long walk with coffee, hot chocolate, and pastries. Stop at your local café for a fun treat for everyone.
We’ve been inspired – and hope you are too! See you on the sidewalk!