Colorado Mountain Mom

Outside enjoying the wilderness is pretty much my favorite place to be! We’re raising our kids to appreciate the Great Outdoors, and love living in the Wild, Wild West. My blog features both travel and being active while enjoying nature.

Tami is a winner of Top 25 Outdoorsy Moms - 2013

What's your favorite affordable outdoor activity to do with your kids?

For me, it always comes down to hiking. I'd say it's probably my all around favorite activity, and is perfectly suited to enjoying with your kids.

Here's my 3 main reasons why:

You don't really need any special gear, other than some sturdy shoes with tread. That makes it both affordable and easy to just quickly pack a backpack and go hit a trail. Hiking allows you to explore almost anywhere, any time of year – how exciting is that?! And kids can literally start hiking from infancy. We’ve seen babies be content for hours in a child carrier!

Nature is so breathtaking, and has so much to offer children (and adults!) in the way of discovery and appreciation of animals and our gorgeous planet. Hiking in the outdoors gives you a calming big picture perspective - away from our hectic, fast-paced, non-stop engagement with screens lifestyle. I like to say it’s a little reality check, reminded us every now and then what’s really most important in life. We always come away from our hikes refreshed.

Kids have so much boundless energy, and these days they are so sedentary in how they spend their time. Being in an enjoyable outdoor surrounding is a payback in itself, and is a “sneaky” way of getting exercise in for the whole family. It feeds so many of their senses, and as long as the conditions are reasonable and the hiking party is properly equipped (with water, snacks, and the correct temperature of clothing)… I’ve never seen a kid on the trails that didn’t absolutely love the experience. I like to think my kids will grow up as hiking being their normal way of life!

What tips do you have for spending time outdoors when its cold?

Keep your head and feet warm! It pays to invest in some nice quality socks – I think wool is hard to beat for pure warmth. And I’m constantly amazed when I see people not wearing hats in cold temperatures. Covering your head and ears goes a long ways toward keeping your body temperature up, and allowing you to tolerate the outside cold more comfortably, for a good period of time.

Layers are also critical, with a good base layer that will wick away sweat when you start to heat up, and then dry quickly so you don’t catch a chill afterwards. I'd say layers are crucial in any season, since they allow you to easily modify what you are wearing as you get colder or warmer. Conditions change quickly when you’re outdoors, whether it’s from you being in the sun vs shade, sheltered or not sheltered from the wind, changing temperatures themselves, or just the amount of cardio activity you are engaged in.

What's a great vacation destination for families that want to spend time outside?

Why, Colorado, of course! It’s why we moved our young family here several years ago – so we would have close access to all the natural beauty and opportunities to enjoy a variety of wilderness areas. There are limitless outdoor activities and impressive scenery to enjoy in this beautiful state.

The Rocky Mountains are well known for their lofty heights, pine and aspen trees, high altitude lakes and rushing streams. But some people don’t realize the western part of the state has a high mountain desert climate area, which offers fruit orchards (think wineries and Colorado peaches!) and breathtaking red rock formations (in the Colorado National Monument).

One of my best tips for visitors is to look at visiting areas during their off season. In Colorado, that often means think in terms of one of our biggest tourism draws: Skiing. For example, if a mountain town does NOT have a ski area… (like Estes Park, the entryway to Rocky Mountain National Park) the winter time is their off season, and they will have great rates on condos, hotels, etc. And vice versa – visit ski areas in the summertime (like Aspen/Snowmass, or Telluride), which is their off season, and will mean lower visitor rates. Come see us, you’ll love it!