We hit the hiking trails this week in search of wildflower blooms in East County, San Diego and it was definitely a learning opportunity on how to hike with toddlers. While the thought of hiking alone with twins is a little daunting, I knew they would love it so I wanted to make it work.
Ultimately, we had a blast but along the way I kept having mini ‘mom-epiphanys’ about how “this would’ve worked so much better” or “I should’ve done x.y.z” etc… so I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks for the next hiking adventure this weekend in the Anzo Barrago Desert.
1.) Research your trail – we made the mistake of heading to an unknown trail, we knew it was easy but didn’t know if there was going to be any shade which there wasn’t and it was a rather warm day.
3.) Bring a true hiking backpack, or one made for a long haul – I didn’t think we would be gone too long so I just packed my basic diaper bag – backpack and it was so uncomfortable. Especially trying to carry that plus baby-wear Ev and having to help Easton climb.
4.) Pack extra water – I thought the three water bottles I had would be enough for all three of us but we were all out by the time we got back to the car. I also brought along some juice boxes which were big hits on our snack break.
5.) Ration snacks and Take a snack break – We hiked to a little shaded bench and let the kids explore and eat snacks, it was a much needed break after about 15 minutes of hiking (haha) and then on the way back they had their snack cups to munch on. I had some fruit gummies waiting for them in the car and used the promise of frozen yogurt to help motivate them to listen (aka, bribery)
6.) Be prepared to stop – The babes were into smelling every flower they passed, touching every caterpillar that inched by, and snacking away the entire hike. We probably hiked .5 miles total but it took so long.
7.) Let them lead – Easton had such a great time exploring ahead of us or trailing a little behind us and then running to catch up. We also used this for motivation for Everly to hurry up a little, “Go catch Easton” and she’d run up to him to catch up.
8.) The right clothes – this was my biggest down fall on our recent hike. Ev had on a romper that didn’t offer much sun protection and E’s shoes didn’t have the best grips so both ended up complaining respectively. Be sure to pack a sun hat, shoes with good grips, and lightweight clothing that offers coverage from the sun.
9.) Bring a carrier – a hiking carrier or basic toddler (soft structured) carrier will suffice. Even if you don’t think you’ll use it, your toddler may give out halfway back to the car and you don’t want to be stuck trying to carry them without help. Easton got really upset that the gnats kept buzzing around him and ended up needing to be carried the entire way back. He burried his head in my chest so the bugs would stop bothering him.
10.) Have fun – a hike is a great way to get out together as a family, logistically, it will take a little extra planning to hike with toddlers but I can see many more hikes in our future. Play games along the way, eat snacks, and slow down!
Here’s a few things we will be toting with us on our next hiking adventure!
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