A note from Maman on the Trail:
Meet Stephanie, a human of the outdoors. Stephanie lives in East Bay, California and gets outdoors with her husband and their four children, ranging in age from 2 to 14. Here is her story…
On her time outdoors…
I love spending time with my kids and our whole family outdoors. Whether it’s hiking, exploring a new watering hole, or taking up a new hobby, we are always outside. I try to lead hikes with Hike it Baby on a weekly basis and we are currently camping!
On getting outdoors with kids…
My husband is an Eagle Scout and when I met him 9 years ago I wasn’t always outdoorsy. I went camping a lot growing up but that was it. I didn’t really start digging into the outdoor grit until we started dating, and folding our children into mix of the outdoors just made it more fun and memorable.
We have 4 kids between the two of us. There is Anthony (14), Maeve (11), Gaby (11), and Poppy (2). Being outside with a large family is not easy but the more of you there are, the more adventures you’ll have. Kids grow up so fast, why not spend the time you have with them outside doing something new?
On engaging older kids…
The older ones have been exposed to the outdoors since they were babies so it’s not that hard to keep them engaged. We realize that they are growing up in the digital age of technology. We don’t deter them from their phones, rather we figure out creative ways they can incorporate them by using an app here or taking photos there. We discovered geocaching, as a family, a few months ago and this has been great. So if they do want to use their phones in the outdoors, it is more as a tool. We also encourage them to use Instagram for nature photography purposes, when appropriate. And letting them pick between two places they enjoy, whether it be a hiking trail or a water feature, always keeps them having fun.
On challenges and rewards…
We recently did a 7-mile hike at Mt. Diablo State Park. We were in over our heads bringing our big group on such an ambitious hike, but we did it. It was sweltering hot but between short breaks for snacks and water and staying positive we made it! Our destination was a waterfall, and what a great reward! The kids were ecstatic that we had gone so far and afterward we treated everyone to lunch and ice cream. It can be done. I am a strong advocate for just going and not making excuses. The more we push ourselves and our kids the stronger they will be to withstand challenges.
A little Q & A…
Q: What is your go-to adventure snack?
A: Dried chickpeas! We have an obsession with the Biena brand ones. We can pop these all day!
Q: What piece of gear do you never leave the house without?
A: A water bottle or bladder for the carrier. You never realize how much you sweat or water leaves your body, so to be on the safe side we stay hydrated.
Q: What is your favourite nature quote, and who said it first?
A: “Nature is imperfectly perfect, filled with loose parts and possibilities, with mud and dust, nettles and sky, transcendent hands-on moments and skinned knees” ~Richard Louv
Q: What one piece of advice would you share with someone who is wary of or new to the outdoors?
A: Expect something to go wrong. Being outdoors is about learning and making mistakes. The worst can happen and the best thing to do is to embrace the experience.
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