We’re so fortunate to live in a country that has so many national, state, and county parks. I encourage you let your children spend time in nature when they’re young. With all the great configurations of backpacks and child carriers today there is no such thing as too young to take a walk in the woods. Early exposure to the sounds, sights and senses of nature can be a very rewarding experience for people of all ages.
Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your time in nature.
Use a nature guidebook.
A good place to start preparing for your walk in the woods is with nature guidebooks which will help you identify plants and animals you might see along the trail. A guidebook can help you identify butterflies, frogs, birds and small mammals in your backyard, and even many of the large species at our national parks.
Take a pair of binoculars.
When visiting national parks, you’ll encounter large species like buffalo, moose, caribou, black and brown bears. Use a good pair of binoculars so you can keep a safe distance while viewing these incredible animals.
Pack the essentials.
You’ll need a good pair of walking shoes broken in slowly on short trips. You’ll also want a lightweight backpack. My personal preference is never more than 45 pounds for adults, and just a few pounds for children. Be sure to bring along sunscreen of SPF 30 or above, a lightweight hat and a lightweight canteen of water for every hiker.
Put bells on your backpack.
If you’re hiking near large wildlife like bears, bison or caribou, I recommend putting bells on your backpack. Most wild animals want nothing to do with people, but if they’re startled or alarmed, they can get defensive.
We spend so much time looking at screens of cell phones, computers, video games and other devices that I think it’s become even more important to maintain a balance in life. Time spent in nature is good for us physically and mentally and helps to keep us fit.
So be sure to set aside some time to go hiking, taking photos or just exploring the wonders of the great outdoors.