Writing a section on hiking with kids for my Let Them Be Eaten By Bears book (coming out with Perigee/Penguin Group next spring). So happy to be writing this:
“Pace is also something to consider. If you’ve ever watched a little kid playing by himself in a backyard, you know that there are no straight lines. The best words to describe the motion are “scattered” or “wandering.” Now, if you have a really good trail system, and the young person is highly motivated to get to the end of the hike (say, you’ve told him that he can swim as soon as he gets there), he might travel in somewhat of a straight line. Somewhat. The young person will still generally zigzag back and forth across the trail, stop to look at the bright orange lichen on the tree, fling mud at his brother, spit off of the bridge, stare at a buzzard, go into the forest after a hiking stick, chase a lizard, stomp in a puddle, try to find a woodpecker, balance on a log, pick flowers, pick his nose, and stare off.
With young people, you will travel slowly.”