Desert Companion

From tyke to trekker

Tips on introducing your family to the outdoors

• Start small, stay local. Starting with local parks and wilderness hikes is a great way to spend a few hours in nature without a huge time commitment. Develop a real love for certain wild places or adventures with short, local trips before you whip out the credit card at REI or plan the week-long stay in the back-country.

• Let curiosity lead you. Have you ever wondered what’s on the other side of that mountain, or where that path leads? Ask your kids to pick an outdoor adventure and then go learn something new – together.

• Be prepared. The desert is a beautiful place, but the outdoors are also full of situations that can turn a fun trip into a headache in a few short moments. Be sure to always bring plenty of water, sunscreen, a first aid kit, a let folks at home know where you are headed and when you plan on being home. Even just a quick jaunt can take an unexpected turn.

• Take only pictures, leave only footprints. The desert looks pretty rough and tough, but in reality, it is a very fragile environment that can be easily damaged if we are not careful. Take the time to teach good stewardship on each trip so that your kids can have these same experiences with their kids.

• Solitude, together. There is no better place to grow closer together as a family than in the quiet solitude of nature. Something magic happens when the television is out of reach and cell service is out of range and families have nothing but each other and the natural world before them. Come and see!

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Eric Roberts is a father, architect, and outdoors enthusiast. He is a board member of Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

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