It’s no easy task to go hiking with kids in general, but the heat of summer seems to raise it up to a whole new level of difficulty. Besides the usual level of noise and complaining, the bugs, heat, and humidity of the South make everyone more prone to misery. This past spring, even Regina declared that she wasn’t going hiking again until the fall weather was here.
Well, last weekend we went for a hike to Preachers Rock in the middle of July and we all enjoyed it. So here are a few tips on how to sneak in a summer hike so everyone returns home with happy memories — or at a minimum, just return home on speaking terms.
Go In The Morning
It’s a known fact, we aren’t morning people. We tend to head out on our adventures in the early afternoon — sometimes even mid-afternoon. But you’ve got to beat the late morning warmup if you are going to make this happen. Set the alarms, pack a cooler the night before, lay out your favorite hiking clothes, whatever — get an early start.
Keep It Short & Sweet
Know your limits. But more importantly, know your kids’ limits. For us as a family, we are usually good for 3-5 miles of a moderate hike. But since you are going out early, it’s really about beating the heat. There’s no need to impress anyone on this trip. Just enjoy getting outside and spending time with your family.
Find a Shady Trail
This is key. A trail in the blazing sun is going to be difficult no matter what time of the day you go. Preachers Rock was good because it’s shady on the way up and back. The top is in the sun, but it’s a rock face so that’s what you get. Being next to running water is good too. It naturally cools the air around it. And dipping your toes in the water is always an option — especially easy if you have Chaco’s on. I recommend looking up pictures online or using the AllTrails App to see what kind of terrain the trail is.
Water, Snacks & Breaks
Water is a given for any hike, but in the summer it’s imperative. There is a direct connection between attitude and hydration. I’ll say it again, water, water, water. I carry bottled water and protein bars in my SquatchTrading drawstring bag, as well as a few basic first aid items. And depending on the difficulty of the trail you may need to take more water breaks than normal.
Treasure Hunt Along the Way
Part of hiking for me is keeping an eye out for what is around you — both big and small. We saw all kinds of flowers along the trail. We saw a snail, a few millipedes, and butterflies. Our daughter likes to find rocks in the shape of hearts. I think the one from this trip looked more like a Tiger Shark tooth though. You can do an organized scavenger hunt or just keep simple and find cool stuff.
A Delicious Reward Afterward
Since you’ve successfully beaten the heat and your hike was relatively short, now it’s time for some lunch and ice cream. Preachers Rock is a little north of Dahlonega, Georgia so we didn’t have to go too far to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Shenanigans Irish Pub.
After lunch, we strolled around the square and window shopped our way over to Connie’s Ice Cream Parlor for some dessert.
Wherever you go, air conditioning is a must. Just have fun getting out there as a family, making memories, and exploring all the awesome things around you.