Sunday, July 26, 2009

Family Hike at Radnor

Well, we can hike again. As a family that is. We hiked with C when he was small, but then he hit that age range when he was too heavy to carry and too young to go any distance by himself. Now, however, he is all gung-ho about hiking, and as long as there's water (or hot chocolate in the winter) and snacks, he's in. Just recently, E has gotten to the point where her neck is strong enough to hold up in a child carrier. So we all hit the trail today.

Click here for a topographical trail map of Radnor State Park (3.7 MB).

We hiked close to 3 miles at Radnor State Park, a tranquil island of green in the middle of Davidson County. My favorite trail there is the Ganier Ridge which takes you up to a nice overlook in wintertime. In the summer, the canopy pretty much obscures any distant vistas, but it's still a nice walk in the woods. Though the Ridge Trail is only about 1.5 miles, it does have a climb and a descent that both get the blood pumping. All told, we hiked a short part of the Access Trail and nearly all of Ganier Ridge, and then we went south on the Lake Trail till we hit pavement. From there, it was just a short jaunt east to our parking spot.

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The picture above displays how E negotiated most of the trail. Passed out asleep. C used to nod off in the child pack as well. Something to do with the rhythmical pace and the peace & quiet, I suppose. Today, E dozed through at least three-quarters of the hike, just waking up in time to grin for some pictures at the end. Below I've juxtaposed a picture of C snoozing in 2005 next to a pic of E zonked out on today's hike.

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Our short excursion was a good one. We took a water and snack break up on the ridge; C hammed it up with his Swiss Army knife and a tree he "cleared" off the trail; and we saw a little spotted fawn with its mother up close. We all got some much needed exercise, and we enjoyed each other's company in the great outdoors. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

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What follow here are a few of my thoughts about hiking with children:
  • Keep it short and slow. A hike with children is not the occasion to post your personal best time for 10 miles. The point (I hope) is to enjoy the outdoor world with your children and teach them to appreciate its beauty. Every child is different, of course, but 2 to 3 miles is plenty of hike for our family right now.
  • Some basics are a must: fluids, snacks, bug spray, and sunscreen top our list. We did not use Deet on E but instead put one of the new Clip-On Mosquito Repellents made by OFF! products on her pack.
  • Pick a quality child carrier, and adjust it to fit you. Kelty has long made a good line of these products, and we have a Kelty Ridgeline carrier bought when C was around a year-old. Though the model has been discontinued, our Ridgeline is still going strong.
  • Hiking/trekking poles are a blessing. They save your knees and make you much more stable by keeping more points of contact with the ground. I have a pair of anti-shock Komperdells that have worked well for me.
  • Wear a decent boot with ankle support. A twisted ankle is bad enough on the trail, but with precious cargo on your back, I imagine it's even worse. I have trail shoes I like with a lot of miles on them. However, when I strap on the child carrier, I wear full-sized hiking boots.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice family trek. I know you had fun. Granddad.