While hiking with your little ones can be a great way to unwind, there are certain lessons looming for the unprepared – for example: don’t forget diapers.
But with the proper kit and know-how, having your kid along is a window to rediscovering your own child’s eye for the outdoors.
In his newest book – Best Hikes and Nature Walks With Kids In and Around Southwestern British Columbia – Vancouver-based author Stephen Hui presents 248 pages of colour photos, topographic maps, handy charts and fun facts to make the most of hiking with your children. It’s being released today (May 17) by Greystone Books.
The book features 55 trips, all different than in his previous books 105 hikes and Destination Hikes, including nine on the North Shore and Lions Bay – as well as five each in Squamish, Whistler and on the Sunshine Coast.
It also includes a forward from Myia Antone, founder of non-profit Indigenous Women Outdoors and member of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation).
Hui started working on Best Hikes in 2019 as he started bringing his son Ollie, who’s now 10 years old. He said he wanted to write about shorter, three- to five-hour trips but “taking my son out, I quickly realized that I was writing a book about even shorter hikes.”
“He helped show me what kids are interested in, and things you need to do to keep kids happy on the trail and to slow down my pace,” Hui explained.
Early on, he learned to always bring a spare diaper. Once, he forgot. “That was a bad scene in Lynn Headwaters [Park].”
Things that Hui didn’t pay much mind to before, like benches and picnic tables, soon became important resting spots. Take lots of breaks with your kids, he said.
Hui also recommends being flexible on the destination. “Don't worry if you're not gonna get to the waterfall, or the turquoise lake at the end of the hike – just enjoy as far as you're able to get.”
Instead of concerning himself with making it all the way to Killarney Lake on Bowen Island with Ollie, making it halfway to the meadow and beaver dam is still a great day.
Some of the greatest joys of being with your kids is experiencing that sense of wonder again for the first time. Once, they got to the gate of Lynn Headwaters and Hui's son asked, “What’s that sound?”
“And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ Then I realized he was talking about the roar of Lynn Creek that I kind of take for granted – and he was just enthralled with that roar.”
Alongside the release of his new book, Hui will be leading a hike at Capilano Canyon May 29 in partnership with NatureKids Vancouver. And he’s hosting an author talk June 1 at Lynn Valley Library, where he’ll talk more about the story behind the book, as well as the outdoor education opportunities he had growing up in the Lower Mainland.