November 17th is Take a Hike Day but any day can be a great day to take a hike. Hiking can be defined as walking from a lower to higher elevation, usually by way of outdoor trails or paths. Nebraska's varied terrain offers infinite hiking opportunities for families.
Children, especially those ages 5 and under, and adults new to hiking may do best with a shorter adventure. The goal is to enjoy being active outdoors. Try stepping out on a neighborhood park trail for a short distance. Be on the lookout for the perfect walking stick. Observe the surroundings and talk about what you see, hear, smell and feel. Young children might find making their own paths through backyard leaves a fun way to "take a hike."
Here are some tips for longer hikes away from home:
- Be prepared! Bring: water; a first-aid kit, sunscreen and insect repellent (remember to check for ticks after being outdoors); extra pairs of socks and mittens (if there's a chance of getting wet); on-the-go snacks like fresh or dried fruit, pouches of unsweetened applesauce, trail mix, and granola bars work well. Check out our newsletter on Are Protein Bars a Healthy Choice for On-the-Go Kids for more snack ideas.
- Dress for the conditions! Wear weather-appropriate shoes or boots (waterproof is best). Layering clothing can be helpful.
- Join a family-friendly hiking club in your area. Follow local nature centers and wildlife sanctuaries on social media to be alerted of family-friendly outdoor events.
- Engage children with these outdoor games.
- Be flexible and patient. Instead of hiking toward a destination, enjoy the journey (however brief it may need to be)!
Hiking, US Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture
This newsletter was originally written by Laura DeWitt. It was reviewed and updated in 2022.