My uncle once said that hikers are some of the nicest people on Earth. That sets a high standard, but it’s one I adhere to and expect others to as well. The great outdoors are our most precious resources, so how can we expect it to stay pristine if respectful people aren’t the ones walking it?

That’s just something to remember next time you’re out there in the wilderness.

Thinking of planning baby’s first backpacking trip? Here are some resources to get you started.

    1. Go to an REI class. Even better, go to a women’s specific class or event — if you’re a woman. A lot of them are free, especially if you’re a member. They’re great about teaching the basics, even if you’re just walking in a store to ask some questions. Every time I go to one, I learn something new.
    2. Find trails. And more trails. Even more trails, worldwide. It’s also easy to find trails by state through a quick Google search. Don’t forget to check your local bookstore for hiking books and trail guides. Make sure you pay attention to the mileage and elevation changes. Low mileage and low elevation changes are good for beginners.
    3. Plan your trip. This article is the best I’ve found in terms of attention to detail and accuracy.
    4. Check your checklist. Pack your backpack.
      Via REI.com

      Via REI.com

    5. Remember the rules of the road.
      • Follow the 7 Leave No Trace principles.
      • Stay on the trail.
      • People going uphill have right-of-way.
      • Leave a trip itinerary with someone at home.
      • Know the conditions you will be in.
      • Don’t over-hike your first days. Get your trail legs, and then get a long day in.
    6. Ask questions. This exhaustive forum focuses on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trail, but you can ask anything about hiking. You can also create a journal and share your experience!
    7. Enjoy yourself. There’s nothing like being outdoors with the people you love. Take pictures, hang on to every moment.

Get inspired by these photos from my hiking trips.