Hiking is my bliss. My favorite way to start the day is walking through woods and streams near our house in the suburbs of Washington D.C, with our two dogs, Jessie and Suerte. On weekends, the rest of the family often joins me, and sometimes we go farther afield to somewhere the kids can scamper over logs and climb boulders.
I realized when Solomon and Celia were younger that there were two things I could do to make the idea of walking up and down trails more appealing: 1) say we were going to climb some rocks (rather than calling it a hike or walk), and 2) tempt them with homemade trail mix.
Trail mix and GORP (which likely stands for Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) actually date back to ancient Nomadic times, when people needed lightweight and portable dried food that would give them sustained energy on their journeys. It’s still a great way for us to stay healthy and energized on the trails.
For your family hike, your kids will probably enjoy carrying their own little packs with water and snacks (I recommend trail mix, an apple, turkey jerky, and a peanut butter [or other nut butter] and banana sandwich for longer hikes).
Trail mix can be made with any blend of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. We also like to add some chocolate or M&Ms (which don’t melt like chocolate does), dried cereal, and pretzels. Put all of the ingredients in bowls on a table and let the kids make their own mixes, or make one big batch and dole out cup sized portions to each hiker.
Your kids might also get into playing some games on the trail. Here are 10 terrific ideas from the Appalachian Trail Club: http://www.outdoors.org/publications/outdoors/2001/2001-games.cfm. (By the way, these snacks and activities could also double as a unique and healthy birthday celebration!)
How does your family like to connect with nature?
Recipe: Trail Mix
Stay healthy and energized while on the go with this trail mix.
- 3 cups dried cereal, such as Cheerios, Chex, or Kix
- 1 cup raisins, dried cherries or other dried fruit
- 1/2 cup chocolate covered raisins, blueberries, or chocolate chips, or candy coated chocolates, such as M & Ms.
- 1/2 cup peanuts, almonds, or other nuts
- ½ cup shelled sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup small pretzels
- Mix together and enjoy!