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Seasons of Hiking WRITTEN BY ALI SCHWEITZER

There are seasons when hiking with kids. Seasons that made my husband and me question hiking with our children at all. You see, we loved hiking and did it often. It was one of our favorite things to do together. We wanted to pass this love on to our kids and thought it would come more naturally than it did. Hiking with children has its own challenges, including the kids themselves, who are unpredictable. One day they love hiking, and the next they complain the entire way up the trail as you carry them and all their gear (snacks, snacks and more snacks). Having our kids four years apart also posed a challenge. When our oldest was just starting to get into his hiking groove, our little girl came along and changed our whole routine. Overall, we still love to hike and I feel like we’ve learned a thing or two over the past eight years hiking with kids. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for whatever hiking season you are in. First and foremost, take care of yourself…nothing hinders hiking season like an aching back or tight neck. Carrying kids in those hiking packs isn’t always easy and our bodies take the toll. My husband and I would trade the packs. I’d hike the way up with the toddler in tow and then he’d hike the way down. It saved both of us from wanting to toss the carrier and wait until they were old enough to hike on their own. It also helped that both of us, as chiropractors, knew a few things about proper posture and could always adjust each other after the hike. If you feel like you just have too much pain when carrying a child in a pack, please seek out the care of a chiropractor or other health care provider. It’s amazing what an adjustment and a quick little refresher on some exercises can do. Second, get your kids out of those packs and let them explore. I’d often lay my infants on a blanket and let each of them roll around and play in the dirt. The more we took them out of the carriers, the more independent they became. When it came time to ditch the pack for good (which, for me, was when my kiddos turned 3) they were excited to explore. 26

summer 2021

Profile for Montana Parent

2021 Summer Family Fun in Southwest Montana and Yellowstone  

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