For the Twaddell family of Cave Creek, hiking is a family affair. Their patriarch, Graham, an environmental consultant, has been hitting the trails with 10-year-old son Enler and 6-year-old daughter Neala since before they could walk. While the sport comes naturally to them, Twaddell says that getting his kids started in hiking took planning
“I found planning the hike during the week, looking at trail maps together, preparing our equipment and generally talking it up got them motivated for the hike,” he says. “At the start, there was a lot of sitting down on the trail, being too tired to carry on, and running and falling over.”
Adjusting expectations is key to maintaining family fun. “Being fully prepared to abandon the original plan or cut a hike short is key,” Twaddell says. “Making these changes needs to be shared with the kids as a positive and not a
Being active in organized scouting and adhering to the Leave No Trace outdoor ethos also helps the family set good examples in trail stewardship. “Fostering a desire to be outside and a respect for nature helps kids understand that they are a part of our natural world. Hopefully this will lead to them understanding that it’s their responsibility to help preserve and enrich our common outdoor spaces, rather than deplete and degrade them.”
The Twaddells are regulars on the family-friendly North Valley trails of Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area and Pinnacle Peak Park.
IF YOU GO
Phoenix Sonoran Preserve