One of the most daunting things for kids when hiking is having no sense of how long the trail is, what a “mile” even means, and how tired they will be when they are done. To give kids a sense of control over the trails, identify landmarks that are fun that will help them remember and break up the trail. That way, if you return again, they will know what to look for. It helps create a way of measuring and understanding the space. Anything can serve as a landmark. On one of our favorite trails, a dead tree that grew out of the top of a huge boulder is the first landmark. The second is “Split Rock,” a giant boulder with a huge fissure in the middle. Then we look for the “fireplace tree” (a tree that has a hole that looks like a giant fireplace,) and then the fairy trees. Finally, we look for the bridge over the lake with the little waterfall. These landmarks help the boys know where we are and how much further.

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