RE­SEARCH TRAILS BE­YOND RAT­INGS:

Sunday Tribune - - TRAVEL - Wash­ing­ton Post. | The

“Fam­ily-friendly” trail rat­ings aren’t al­ways re­li­able, be­cause they’re gen­er­ally geared to­ward older chil­dren. That’s where com­mu­nity crowd-sourc­ing and guide­books such as Hike it Baby come in handy. Con­sid­er­a­tions not found in typ­i­cal guide­books that par­ents should be aware of in­clude cell­phone re­cep­tion, drink­able wa­ter, benches for nurs­ing, re­strooms, nappy-chang­ing ar­eas and a list­ing of “po­ten­tial child or baby haz­ards” such as poi­son ivy, steep drop-offs and rush­ing wa­ter.

BUY AN AP­PRO­PRI­ATE CAR­RIER:

Hodges rec­om­mends try­ing on an as­sort­ment of car­ri­ers and get­ting ad­vice from fel­low hik­ers. Her book also in­cludes tips for go­ing tan­dem car­ry­ing two chil­dren in car­ri­ers.

BE PRE­PARED TO TEND TO BUSI­NESS TRAILSIDE:

Polk says many par­ents ask her about trailside nappy chang­ing. Her tips in­clude hav­ing a cloth to place chil­dren on, check­ing for poi­son plants and rocks, and shield­ing their faces from the sun.

Hodges has per­fected the art of breast-feed­ing while in mo­tion with her son in his car­rier and has taught many moms to do the same (also de­tailed in her book).

DON’T LIMIT YOUR­SELF:

In ad­di­tion to hikes, the Markos take their chil­dren on back­pack­ing and ca­noe camp­ing trips.

The Markos first ca­noe camped in 2016, when Jack was 2 and Maura was six months preg­nant with Rowan.

The cou­ple, who speak fre­quently at out­door events, are see­ing more in­ter­est in back­pack­ing and ca­noe camp­ing with young chil­dren. They were hear­ing from more par­ents want­ing to get out­side with their young chil­dren, they said.

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