When preparing for a recent hiking trip, I had to really look into Emma’s clothing and figure out what she could wear and what would give her the best coverage and warmth during our trip. In most normal situations, this would be easy, however, Emma has a TON of clothes. More than a child should probably have. I wanted Emma to be comfortable AND stylish. This was not the day to put her in a skirt with leggings. It was a day for the great outdoors.
We began Emma out with an undershirt. This was first and foremost. I wanted an extra layer and a white undershirt was key last year so I figured it would be this year, too. The next thing I decided on was a pair of khakis. Khakis just scream “outdoors” to me and these had an elastic waist along with buttons in case we wanted to roll up her pants. Not a chance. Saturday was COLD as could be and not the day for shorts or even capris. The last thing I did was my fashion step. I put on a cute fox shirt we got for her last winter. It has a matching skirt to go with it but when paired with the khakis it turned into an outdoors shirt instead. She also brought Mr. Fox with her to match. She loves him. He comes in a very close second to Binky. We put her awesome stride rites on and headed out the door only to be delayed by us locking JR’s AND my keys in the house. Epic fail. Luckily, mom and dad were coming with us and brought us our spare key. Thanks goodness for spare keys and mom and dad. This gave me time to rethink the light jacket I brought for Emma. If it was cold at home, it would be colder at Grayson Highlands. I quickly grabbed her winter coat and new hat on my way out the door WITH the keys this time.
When we arrived ,Emma was bouncing around like crazy. She had a power nap on the way there and was full of energy. We tried out her carrier the night before, which she loved. She loved it just as much if not more than the previous day. She kicked around and told JR in her own words how much fun she was having. Even for a cold day outside she was in a great mood. We made our way up the trail and began our walk to the top. Emma bounced around playfully, talking along the way, and saying “hi” to every hiker we passed. It was a lot of “his” and waving but she never got tired of it. When we got to the top we took a quick break to put some chapstick on her face and lips. It was windier than I realized and I was worried about wind burn. Unfortunately, it was so fogey that we couldn’t see anything at all. To Emma it didn’t really matter so it was all good.
Our next step on the trail was to see the wild ponies. On our way up that trail we decided it was time for Emma to eat. She hadn’t fussed any but snack time had long passed and I was worried she was going to have a meltdown. Truthfully, we should have held off until she asked for the food. Silly mommy. I learned my lesson quickly when one pack wasn’t enough. And neither was two. Oh well. Lesson learned. Going to the see the ponies seemed to be a much higher altitude. It was rainier and windier and the further up we got, the fussier Emma got. It was cold outside and she was hungry. We quickly learned the cue and decided we needed to make our way back to the car. We had been hiking for two hours and she did a great job. Unfortunately, the weather made it difficult to continue so we agreed to stop. Once we got back to the car, she indulged in a bottle and a banana and was back to her normal self. Oh, and we never saw the ponies. Apparently they decided to hide on our visit which only means one thing. We have to go back soon!
Before heading home, we made a stop at Shatley Springs for lunch. This was a late birthday gift to JR. He was so excited. We all were after such a long hike. Everyone in our caravan loves Shatley Springs. There was an hour and a half wait and I found out that day I could call and make reservations. Epic fail, part two. Now I’ll know to make reservations in advance. Emma enjoyed the wait, though. She played and walked around a lot and her thin jacket came in handy here since it wasn’t quite as cold and she was constantly on the move. After lunch, we realized she had stuffed half her food down the front of her jacket. I’m sure she was planning them for leftovers but I decided to leave them behind.
Here are a few key things I learned:
*I should have brought more layers. I know, I focused so much on layers and I STILL forgot some. Next time, I need to bring socks for Emma as well as some mittens. And if I can find a toddler ski mask that would rock, too.
*Don’t feed Emma unless she really wants it. And bring extra, too. She was having a great time and I’m pretty sure the introduction of food caused an interruption. I think it would also help to have extra, too, just in case. It’s always good to prepare for “just in case” moments.
*Hiking if FUN. We seriously had a GREAT time. Emma loved her carrier, we loved the carrier, and we all enjoyed the experience. We will be doing it again more before the year end. And then in the spring, too. I want to go as many times as we can since Emma loves her carrier.
I recommend going outdoors with your kids. Take it all in and embrace it. Our kids need to spend more times smelling the fresh air than watching tv. They need to spend more time exercising than sleeping all day. I definitely want Emma to grow up doing more than eating, sleeping and watching tv. I want her to be fit and also embracing all parts of life. I want to do it together, too. I also recommend preparing their attire for all kinds of weather. Bring extra. Bring layers. And bring the fun!
Do you enjoy the outdoors? Where do you go and what do you do? Any special places you recommend?