Hiking groups welcome parents with baby in tow
Getting outside with a little one is not the easiest thing in the world. Instead of simply carrying a backpack full of snacks and water, it might seem like you now bring along an entire trunk full of supplies. Fear not. There are groups in the Upstate that help you take to the trails with your little ones in style. While you might not summit Mt. Everest, you will certainly have a good time on the trail systems in the Upstate.
According to local branch ambassador Stephanie Francis, Hike It Baby is a non-profit organization created as a way to “empower parents of very young children to get outdoors in a safe and supportive community.” By encouraging parents of Littles to get outdoors, they help build a strong outdoor community for parents while simultaneously teaching the next generation of nature stewards to love the trail systems.
There are a number of other hiking groups designed for parents and little ones, such as Greenville Hiking with Kids, but none as active in the Upstate as Hike It Baby. If you were an outdoor enthusiast, there is a hiking level for you with your tot. The same goes for those parents who are new to the whole hiking venture.
“The beauty of Hike it Baby is that we are all parents who have been through tantrums and fussy kids before and are there to help each other out if things don’t go according to plan,” Francis said.
While the group is advertised as hiking with the baby, several members commented that all ages of hikers are welcome and that there is no age limit to join the hikes and there are multiple skill levels for everyone.
Local mom Anna Bargeron says that hiking with other parents is “refreshing” because they just “get it” and “don’t roll their eyes at me when my baby is screaming her head off as we trek forward.”
Susan Shuller Frantz loves the no hiker left behind policy.
“Whether you need to stop to nurse or your kid is having a meltdown, everyone is very supportive patient and helpful,” she said.
Once you establish the routine of getting out into nature, your baby, toddler or independent mini will surprise you with how far they can travel and how much there is to learn. While hiking all of their five senses are engaged and they are working both small and large muscle groups.
You just might find that taking a hike gives you a very sleepy Little which makes for one very happy parent.