Every Trail Connects

When I first moved back to Holland with a four-month-old Hazel in tow, I had a hard time connecting with other parents who would understand the joys and challenges of raising a child to love the outdoors. The urgency increased when I discovered that attitudes toward nature and the environment are pretty much set by the time kids turn 5–I had to ramp up our time outside if I was going to ensure that Hazel would love the outdoors as much as I do. That’s when I found Hike it Baby.

Hike it Baby is a national nonprofit, founded in 2013, with the mission of building communities that support getting families outside. There are over 180,000 families hiking with Hike it Baby nationally and the founder, Shanti Hodges, recently published a book detailing the organizations’ favorite hikes across the country.

I joined Hike it Baby as a member and started attending hikes. I met a group of fabulous like-minded people who loved getting out for all sorts of hikes–adult-paced with our babes in carriers, park-and-play dates at our favorite playgrounds, and (most recently), toddler-paced hikes known affectionately as Toddler Wobbles. Hike it Baby stresses that no hiker is left behind. We stop frequently for diaper changes, toddler tantrums, and nursing breaks. We swap snacks and somebody *always* has extra bug spray. It’s refreshing to hang out with parents who get it.

September is a special month in the Hike it Baby calendar. Four times a year, Hike it Baby hosts a special event called a “Hike it Baby 30”. During a challenge month, families are encouraged to get out for 30 minutes three times a week or to hike 30 miles during the month. September is one of those challenge months.

To become involved in Hike it Baby, parents can go online to hikeitbaby.com and pay a $10 annual membership fee. This grants access to the calendar where hike event details are posted (on a secure site where only paying members can access hike location and time information). Any Hike it Baby member can host hikes. We also have a Hike it Baby Holland Facebook group where parents can share local resources, connect post-hike, and help support each other getting outside. We hope to see you out on the trails!

~Avril Wiers, Caring for Creation Co-coordinator