Truly, there’s not much that beats a hike for your body, mind, spirit, and soul. So how can Splimm parents prepare for and make the most of upcoming hikes? Bring your own kids, wine, or weed? Let’s figure out what we’re taking along and hit the trail!
I didn’t grow up hiking but developed a love for it as a young adult looking for space and silence. Since then, hikes have become a key to my health and sanity – and a great criteria by which to plan a vacation (or even a move across the country). Though it’s no longer about solitude – most hikes these days are family hikes – I still always emerge from the trail feeling like my best self. You can absorb all the benefits of exercise, of being outdoors, and of taking a forest bath. Truly, there’s not much that beats a hike for your body, mind, spirit, and soul.
Where are we going?
Today we’re heading out to Silver Falls State Park near Silverton, Oregon, about 90 minutes southeast of Portland. But this BYO could really apply to almost any hiking spot. So, whether you’re in Vermont’s Green Mountains, the Boulder Flatirons in Colorado, or the California Redwoods, find yourself a trail, read our tips, and get outside!
Silver Falls in a perfect example of what a state park can be. It’s got great day use facilities and programs like birding and wildflower identification. There’s camping, a lodge, a historical district, an events center, and tons of other amenities, along with plenty of open space, over 35 miles of backcountry trails, and gorgeous views.
While Silver Falls is a popular weekend and warm-weather destination, it’s also possible to enjoy your walk in relative solitude. On one of the busier days of the year, we still found ourselves alone on the trail plenty, surrounded only by the sounds of rushing water and rustling trees. You just have to make it through the crowds near the parking lots to really commune with Mother Earth.
What are we looking at?
Waterfalls! Ten of them actually. Plus dense old growth coniferous forest and the inhabitants therein. Possibly bears and cougars.
BYO. . .
Pros – Children benefit tremendously from time spent outdoors, especially unstructured, self-directed time. It’s a great opportunity to teach them about the natural world and our place in it. The quiet of your surroundings will often lead to wonderful conversations and insights on their part. You can make them carry things and walk long distances, which is good training for many things in life. And, you don’t have to pay a babysitter.
Cons – They’re fucking noisy. If you’re here for the quiet, like we are, this can be difficult. We have a “five minutes of silence” practice to help us transition into the forest and match our energy to that of the trees, which definitely helps but is consistently met with some level of protest. Also kids have shorter legs and can be a pain on long distances. But if you can deal with their whining, they can suck it up and push through.
Verdict – Yes, definitely. While a grownup hike is literally one of the most pleasurable experiences in the world, something so beautiful and serene cannot possibly be made terrible by the presence of children, no matter how annoying they are. The woods generate a space where you can find that calm, even when chaos encroaches. Your kids will benefit from it, and so will you. Bring your own kids, and go ahead and bring other people’s kids if they’re going to keep your kid busy.
Pros – Wine is tasty. You are in wine country. You are probably thirsty.
Cons – Actually, wine is not super hydrating. It’s also difficult to chug from a water bottle, and you can’t pour it on your head if it gets really hot. More importantly, you might need to navigate at some point and you definitely need good judgment on the trail. Not to mention balance, especially on some of the ascents up the canyon.
Verdict – No, wine is not your friend on a hike. Not worth the risk of falling over the edge of a waterfall.
Pros – Can we all agree that cannabis is meant to be consumed outdoors? And, in Oregon at least, you actually can consume cannabis out of public view at state parks. We also find that our favorite plant can help generate the proper frame of mind for a hike. Just the right amount of THC and/or CBD can put some pep in your step when you get tired, help you laugh it off when your child is moaning at mile six, or clear your head so you can be here now. And if you want to get technical, you can match your strain terpene profile with the pinene in the air for an incredible olfactory experience!
Cons – The only cons we can imagine are smoke, which may offend others on the trail (including your children), and the risk of fire associated with combustion. Both of these possibilities are eliminated if you vape, eat, drink, or topically or sublingually apply your cannabis.
Verdict – Of course! What’s a better combo than trees and trees? There are tons of ways to consume that will neither bother your trailmates nor bring out Smokey the Bear. Cannabis can transform your hike into a meditative experience, make your child’s complaints more bearable, and give you the patience and pleasant demeanor of a Buddhist monk. Because Splimm parents always prioritize and model responsible consumption, be careful not to overconsume, especially with edibles. Remember, start low and go slow!
Is it a coincidence that the states that have legalized cannabis have some incredible hiking opportunities? We think not. Get out into the fresh air and enjoy those terpy aromas, folks! Weed + kids = awesome hike! But leave the wine at home….or at least back at the campsite.