I realize that hate is a strong word, but sometimes it is really the only appropriate way to describe something. Hate is really a great word to describe how I feel about the art of hiking (with kids). It’s exhausting, draining, and overall is a pretty miserable experience. I realize that many would disagree, but that is just how it works for my family. Maybe it is a combination of my overactive & wild boys mixed with my needing to be in control personality. But seriously, hiking with my family is simply a nervous breakdown waiting to happen.
I haven’t always disliked hiking. In fact, one of my first trips was with my husband was to Yosemite. We spent an amazing weekend hiking, exploring, and dining. It was about as close to perfect as I could have imagined. Then came baby #1, and hiking worked. Then, baby #2, and it was a little tougher. By Baby #3, it was starting to change. Quickly. The 1st hike with 3 kids (four and under) was rough. One mile, 2 potty breaks, 10 snacks, a few tantrums, about 50 sticks collected, 500 rocks thrown into the water, and I don’t want to leave out that the “hike” was done with an infant hanging off my boob the entire time. Then came baby #4. Insanity. Somehow, I still felt pressured that hiking was the right thing for my family. How can fresh air and beautiful scenery not be a great experience? I didn’t like hiking, the kids didn’t like hiking, and my husband and I were at each others throats the entire time. Good clean family fun…right?
These pictures say a thousand words, but there are more words. Whining, crying, fighting, tired, thirsty, hot, cold, freezing, cramping, hungry, dehydrated, hurting, bored, wet, sweaty, teasing, about to die, hurt, sore, scared…need I say more??
The actual moment of deciding that I hated hiking happened in Zion National Park in Utah. First, this place is beautiful…absolutely amazing. But when hiking with my fabulous 4, beauty doesn’t matter, it’s a pain in the ass. So, “the hike” began with 3 of the kids carrying sticks turned “walking sticks”. It was a typical hike. Whining, complaining, jumping off of everything, throwing every rock, and “be careful” was said about a million times. Then, right before my eyes, my oldest jumped off a rock, tripped, and that stick flew out of his hand. It hit my daughter (drama queen) in the face. She started screaming (the gasping for air kind). My husband screamed at my son and grabbed the other stick away from my then 4 year old. Both boys started to cry…hysterically. I yelled at my husband for getting so mad. Our youngest in the backpack started wailing. There it was for all to see, 4 kids hysterical and 2 adults fighting. Just then, I looked up and there was a group of European tourists watching us. The look on their faces was horror, total shock. That was the moment that I decided I HATED hiking with my kids and that we would not be traveling to Europe anytime soon with my brood (Europe is not ready for these kids).
That was a few years ago and things could potentially be getting a little better. In my head, I still hate to hike with the kids, but I am starting to consider being more open minded. Maybe next year.