Bring all generations together and go take a hike.
Hiking is highly subjective and each person should "hike their own hike." The same goes with your family. Some of you may be seasoned backpackers and plan a multi-day trip as a family and others just want to take a quick one-hour walk in the woods. The time, distance, and difficulty do not matter. What does matter is that you go. To hike in the wilderness, stroll at a local nature preserve, or walk through your neighborhood, in the fresh air, is a blessing for all.
Walking and talking is one of the best outdoor dates I can think of. It is so simple, relatively inexpensive and free most of the time. Getting out of the house, away from everyday chores, tech items, and other distractions, the great outdoors naturally promotes relationship bonding. Young and old alike can go outside and just talk. Sometimes there is difficulty for those with a wide age gap to come together and find common ground, but all ages can appreciate the sun, trees, sprawling vistas, and the stars.
Last month I vacationed with my family in our local mountains. We took multiple mini-walks each day, at least one in the morning and one at night. On one occasion my dad, my sister, my daughter, and I spent a few hours hiking together. We rode to the top of the summit via chairlift and then hiked down the mountain. Together we enjoyed the wildflowers, view of the lake, and had meaningful conversation. We walked and talked the entire way making it my favorite adventure from our trip.
Make Memories and Create Traditions
Each hike can be tailored to accommodate each person and his or her limitations. Many times that means it will be a short hike. That is okay. Get creative.
- Incorporate an after dinner walk to a local park or scenic viewpoint to watch the sunset.
- Plan a yearly backpacking trip in a favorite national park.
- Do a potluck picnic and hike.
- Take a pre-holiday dinner hike and swim before you eat.
- Share a family history mid-way through the hike.
- In an urban setting, take a walk and tour a historic neighborhood exploring the architecture.
- Play trail games such as 20 Questions and Would you Rather. You may learn a thing or two about each other.
- Create a video diary of your trip — Don't forget to interview each other.
Someone once told me about her Thanksgiving family tradition. Her family drives to their favorite regional park where they spend time hiking and playing and eating the holiday pies for lunch: a Thanksgiving pie picnic. A few hours later, they head home watch football and eat the turkey dinner. Dessert before dinner? Now that sounds like an excellent day!
Tips and Ideas for a successful multi-generational hike
- Make it tradition
- Keep it simple — now is not the time to push everyone to his or her limits. Consider toning it down so it is an enjoyable experience where everyone leaves with a smile on their face.
- Consider the mental and physical limitations of all parties. How will you handle a medical emergency? Have a plan a back-up plan, emergency plan, and do not be disappointed if the hike is cut short.
- Be flexible, go with the flow, have fun.
With a little planning and urging, you can get all family members outdoors together, hiking, at the same time. When a family strolls together outdoors, children see and feel the priority and importance of these relationships. Roaming along trails with each other teaches children to love the outdoors. Hiking brings people together and reinforces bonds. Hiking with those close to you is a darn good way to spend the day.
Have you taken a memorable multi-generational hike? Tell us about it.
**Traci is a regular contributor to the Sierra Social Hub as part of #TeamSierra. Learn more from her on her site: WalkSimply