When my kids and I go hiking, the best part about the adventure is what they find in their packs. That’s right…the snacks! Oh sure, they love all the nature that presents itself to us and the adventure of a new place. It wouldn’t be the same if we were just home eating the same snacks.

A small hike takes us hours because they like to find a great place to sit and pull out their treats. I normally pack snacks, a lunch and plenty of extra food. Some of the goodies they need to pass around family-style and some is bagged up special just for them and their pack. I have to admit, my peanut butter sandwich tastes way better out of a back pack on a hike than it does after I finish mowing the lawn. That always makes me hungry. Doesn’t matter that I use a rider.

The last hike that we went on recently, my peeps decided that they did not want to know what was in their packs so they waited until we sat for our first break. Admittedly, the foods really have not been all that special because our hikes have been impromptu so I just race around grabbing whatever scraps we have in the house leftover from all our other summer shuffle events like going to the lake or the farmhouse. Although, I did manage to make some homemade granola but I over-toasted the one the kids would eat and the one that came out delicious was a spicy version for me, so the kids didn’t get any homemade lovin.

I don’t like to hike alone with the kids – it’s a momma thing – so my dad is our guide and either he or I will notice that it’s a great day for a hike and check in to see if the other is free before we spring the excitement on my peeps. I was supposed to weed whack at the farmhouse this day but scrambled out of my long pants and other work attire to don hiking gear. I had to switch gears quickly and put all my energy into getting packs ready.

TP? Check.

Water? Check.

Band-Aids? Check.

Light coats? Check.

Diet Pepsi? Oh yes, check. I still have to parent while we’re out on the trails so I usually need my vice at some point. I do allow more inappropriate body noise language while we’re hiking but after a while, I just need it to stop. And there is trail etiquette to drill in. They also never stop talking, not even when I suggest that they listen to the nature around, so Diet Pepsi is like my traveling Calgon.

Then I’m on to packing the snacks. Years ago I started drawing on my kids lunch bags when they had a special event going on (not for the everyday lunch, that’s asking too much of me) so they look forward to seeing what I draw. It’s usually related to the event so if it’s a field trip to a museum, it will be a pic of some display at the museum. If it’s for ski lessons, it’s a pic of them in ski goggles with their hair blowing straight out behind them or maybe they’re hanging off the ski lift upside down by one ski. Those are my faves. I chuckle the whole time I am drawing them.

A deer, or course, it’s a nature hike.

And someone always steps in mud or water. Always.

And I gave my 12-year old the lunch bag that had him hanging off a cliff by a twig, but it upset his sensibilities (which is why I did it to him, so it worked) so he switched the characters so that I was the one hanging off the cliff.

I can handle it.

I already got the reaction I wanted. I’ve warned them that the worse they are as they enter the tween and teen years, the more fun I will have messing with them.

My dad didn’t want to be left out so here’s his lunch. He packed his own. Apparently he doesn’t draw on his like I do.

My drawing has me hiking way ahead of the rest of them. That got a rise out of my kids too.

Sitting for snacks is also a great time to empty your shoes of the nature bits that were collected along the way.

I don’t like the seams in my socks so I often wear them inside out so the seams don’t bother my Cinderella feet. Sometimes it’s just because I am lazy and that is how they came out of the laundry. These are Bombas socks and their seams do not bother me so I must have been lazy. Best. Socks. Ever. I get nothing from tooting their horn. They have never heard of me, The Awkward Bird. I just love these socks. Comfy and fun. They are pricey for socks but for every pair you buy, they donate a pair to a homeless shelter. I love gifts that do good things. They are prettier than this, remember…this is the inside.

Three of the four of us were wearing my shoes to go hiking.

“Why?”, you ask.

Because my oldest didn’t want to ruin his new school sneakers hiking and he has nothing else to wear so he wore my shoe boots. All of his older sneakers had issues apparently. And because my daughter can’t wear her old sneakers for some uncomfortable reason and she doesn’t have new school sneakers yet to not want to get dirty because buying my daughter shoes is one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. So she was wearing a pair of my newer sneakers and then decided that she liked those a lot and wondered if she could have them as her new school sneakers. If that saves me from anymore sneaker shopping with her, then definitely yes. So, I guess technically she wasn’t wearing my shoes. And because the third of us (me) has her hiking boots up somewhere at the farmhouse, but normally would have been wearing the shoe boots that my son was wearing, so I would not have had to wear my new sneakers on a muddy hike. But then what would I have had to write about?

Issues can get passed down to your kids.

I guess I could mention that my back pack is also somewhere up at the farmhouse so I improvised.

I told a friend, it’s what is in the pack that matters.

There was some cool nature to round out the exciting food aspect of the snack.

A salamander. Always fun.

Evidence of a beaver.

Trees growing over rocks.

There just is a great lesson in this.

And perty places to eat.

Then, of course, the reason we hiked this trail…

To climb that rock that we could see from below at snack time and so I could hyperventilate the whole time because I was sure one of my kids was going to go rolling to their fate. Makes my knees wobbly all over again just thinking of it. This is a brief smile, then I spent the rest of the time worried until we moved away from the dangerous rock of death. I have an almost 8-year old who never seems to stop running, even on a death rock.

Let’s talk about something else.

Camping. Lakes.

My favorite place to be is often outside and we added in lots of lake living this summer and a bit of tenting. When you mix the two, life is good.

Early morn from the tent…

And the later sunrise…

Ok, I feel  better now.

Go take a hike, my BFF’s ! And don’t forget the super snacks.