On most weekends you can find our family out hiking around different parts of Colorado. For us hiking allows us to slow down, explore and enjoy time as a family. There are no distractions or places to be, just the mountains and us! We feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful place and explore it with our kids! Hiking honestly allows for a different experience each and every time we go! The landscape, the colors, the textures, and the wildlife, I don’t know how you could ever get bored! However hiking with toddlers can sometimes be a whole different story! We like to be creative with our hikes and find trails that offer more than just walking! We find trails that our kids can explore lakes, waterfalls, rock formations and wildlife. I think kids, or at least my kids, are more than just visual they like to touch, climb, throw and explore. Throwing rocks into the water, playing in the river and climbing on boulders, these are the moments that my kids remember.
This past weekend we went to a Devil’s Head Lookout trail where there is a Fire Lookout Tower at the top of the mountain! We decided to do things a little differently and actually tell our boys (who are 4 and 2) about the Lookout Tower. We showed them pictures and told them a little bit of history about this place and from that moment on they were excited. Our boys couldn’t wait to go explore and “look” for fire. I think at that moment they thought it was their very own fire tower! If you can imagine our boys are big fans of fireman! On Saturday morning we set out for the trail. Devil’s Head is located in Pike National Forest about 60 minutes from Denver. It has amazing rock formations and offers incredible views of the foothills, Pikes Peak, Mount Evans and downtown Denver! The hike is beautiful and a constant gain of 900+ ft. in elevation the entire way. So for toddlers it’s a little bit of a strenuous hike! About half way I asked our oldest, who was crying at that moment (due to falling), if he want to turn around and head down the trail. In his tiny voice he responded saying, “no, I want to keep going to see the fire station”. Their determination and perseverance paid off. They knew what was waiting for them at the end of the trail and they push through the hard, rough terrain and completed what they started!
Our boy’s reaction when they reached the Fire Lookout Tower was priceless! This is definitely a hike that will go down in the books for them. They are still talking about how cool it was and asking when we can go back. I don’t think they remember the 5 hours it took for us to complete this hike. They just remember the memories we created and the feeling of accomplishment and victory at the top of the mountain. And because of that I will hike 5 hours all over again for them to have those memories!
This post is featured in Family Trails Magazine (Volume 2 Issue 2)