Typically, if someone tells you to take a hike, you might take offense. But if that message comes from Monika Baudoin, you might have a very different reaction. Baudoin is responsible for bringing Hike It Baby to the New Orleans area in September 2015. “Hike It Baby” is an international group founded in ’13 by Shanti Hodges in Portland, Oregon, that promotes healthy lifestyles for families by planning and organizing outdoor hikes for moms, dads, babies and toddlers. Their goal is to get families outdoors, experiencing and appreciating nature. The New Orleans branch usually offers one planned hike a week, but often there are more. In the past several weeks, hikes have taken place at The Woodlands Conservancy in Belle Chase; Beau Rivage and Northlake Nature Center in Mandeville; Bayou Segnette State Park in Westwego; LaSalle Park in Metairie; and Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.
Where to Start
you’re interested in getting outside with other moms, the Hike It Baby website is a great place to start. The calendar not only lists all scheduled hikes, but also provides a map to the location as well as the difficulty level and duration of the hike. The hike leader will post whether or not each particular hike is well suited for strollers or baby-carriers or if the terrain is a good fit for toddlers to walk with you.
You will also find support out on the trail. As you can see on the Hike It Baby Facebook page, the mantra of the group is “Leave No Hike Behind.” Translated into new-mom lingo, this means if you need to stop to feed a baby, change a diaper or simply deal with a fussy child, it isn’t a problem. The motto also applies to the athletic ability of the parent as well.
Depending on your skill or stamina level, you can choose a hike suited to your needs based on a color-coded rating system developed by the Hike It Baby leaders. A hike designated as “Green” signifies one that is relatively easy, on mostly even ground and would be stroller-friendly. These hikes are typically less than three miles in distance. “Blue” trails are considered moderately difficult, better suited for carriers than strollers and are usually between three and five miles. “Black” trails are considered difficult and very rarely accommodate a stroller. These hikes may be between four and seven miles and usually include uneven terrain and steeper inclines.
Here is the best part: It’s completely free! Hike It Baby is a social group that you can follow through their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. What a fun way to enjoy nature with your children and new friends!
Just the Facts
• Hike It Baby is a new, fun program promoting healthy families and children by providing opportunities to explore nature together.
• They offer organized weekly hikes in and around the New Orleans area.
• Hikes are rated and classified so that you know which is a good is fit for you and your baby.
• It was founded in Oregon in 2013 and brought to New Orleans only four months ago.
• A calendar of scheduled hikes, ratings and classification explanations are available at HikeItBaby.com.
• Meet a diverse group of moms and dads and enjoy nature with your children.
• It’s free to join!
• Questions? Email Monika Baudoin at NewOrleans@HikeItBaby.com.
• Follow Hike It Baby on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.