Today I bring you a guest post that I am downright giddy about. Tammy York, author of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Cincinnati is going to tell you about her experiences hiking with children. The reason I’m so giddy is that because Tammy and her book are an inspiration to me. I’ve always loved hiking, but tended to go to the same places over and over again. Because I had absolutely no idea how many amazing places there are to hike around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky! Tammy’s book is informative & educational. She does so much more than just list 60 places to hike, she gives detailed descriptions of the trails, directions to the parks where the trails are located, important details such as length & difficulty of each trail, which trails have “facilities”, and my favorite part, she gives her own opinions and personal thoughts of each place to hike. The book is a great resource for a family that likes to explore the outdoors. It’s an easy to read guide, and she has the book laid out in such a way that makes it easy to find whatever hike will suit your family the best. The front of the book contains a section called “hiking recommendations” where you can look for the perfect hike for your family using such guidelines as “hikes under two miles” or “hikes with wetlands, ponds and lakes” or, my favorite “kid friendly hikes”. She makes it easy for everyone, from the inexperience hiker to the folks who hike every week to find what they are looking for. My copy is a bit dog-eared and well-loved. There are pamphlets stuck in the back from places we’ve visited, and a few handwritten notes here and there. My goal is to make it through all 60 hikes with my family. Of course, we are moving a bit slowly, and the kids might be in college before we are finished, but we’re enjoying the process immensely! Each summer we make our list of things we want to do while the kids are off school, and for the past two summers we used this book to pick out the hikes we wanted to do. Some of our favorite places to hike have been Clifton Gorge at Yellow Springs, Dinsmore Homestead and Rowe Woods. These are just a few of the hiking gems we have found thanks to this book. Here’s a little bit of insight from Tammy York about hiking with young children, and after you read this, I’ll bet you’ll be wanting to hear more from Tammy. You can find this book on Amazon, at Joseph Beth Bookseller and Roebling Point Bookstore as well as other local booksellers.
GUEST POST :: Hiking with Kids by Tammy York
I know how hard it can be to slow down and enjoy the trail. When I was researching and writing 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Cincinnati, I did most of the hikes with my two daughters (ages 2 and 4 at the time). With a deadline looming—I was on a mission to hike, hike, hike. At first they were excited about hiking but after the first few trails their attitude changed. Rather than being excited, they whined about hiking “again.”
I finally realized I needed to put them in charge. That started with a trip to the store. I bought the teeny tiniest little backpacks I could find. They packed their NEW backpacks with their field gear: a small notebook, pencil, colored pencils, and magnifying lens as well as their choice of snack and drink.
The night before the hike, I would tell them about three different hikes and ask them which one they wanted to do. When we were on the trail they took turns as the leader or navigator. We looked for the colors of the rainbow, a bent tree, a white flower, an acorn with the cap still on, etc. This kept them in control and fully engaged in the adventure of being outdoors. When they tired, we stopped and shared a snack, rehydrated, journaled, and drew pictures.
Fast forward five years: I am proud to have two avid hikers and naturalists who enjoy adventuring into the great outdoors.
To Get Started
Cincinnati is such a wonderful place to live and we are blessed to have so many amazing green spaces nearby. If you aren’t a naturalist, several trails are in parks with amazing nature centers staffed by seasoned naturalists who will be happy to answer your questions and share their expertise.
For hiking/nature newbies, Cincinnati Nature Center, Winton Woods, and Sharon Woods offer easy trails and great nature centers. All are located in Ohio. Other hikes with great nature centers and longer hikes are Caesar Creek State Park (OH), Hueston Woods State Park (OH), and Clifty Falls State Park (IN).
All the best, Tammy
Tammy York, Author of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Cincinnati