Heather Mundt, a Longmont resident and journalist, just published a book titled “Colorado Family Outdoor Adventure,” which highlights that any family can be an outdoor family.
Through Mundt’s book, she hopes to provide insight on how to make outdoor family excursions less stressful and overwhelming on parents.
“My philosophy is definitely that anybody should be able to be outside, you don’t have to buy a bunch of gear. If you're a backpacking expert, great, but I am not, you are not gonna get them from me. I just want everybody to not be overwhelmed and just get outside,” Mundt said.
Mundt believes that getting kids outside can really be as simple as creating excursions to go outside. For instance, walking on a path, looking for bugs, looking at the flora. She believes the most important step is to get them outside first.
“Walking on a paved trail, looking for bugs or birds, especially if the kids are little. During COVID my older son took a lot of pictures of birds near his house. My younger son, in particular, likes to golf, but riding bikes is another good one for kids,” Mundt said.
Mundt believes that parents can make an excursion a lot harder than they need to by setting high expectations for what it means to be ‘outdoorsy.’ Including, forcing a camping excursion.
“I speak to those people and then you feel less than if you are not going into primitive campgrounds with your children, you don’t have to do that. I don’t love camping,” Mundt said.
Mundt also urges parents to keep an open mind while traveling with children.
“Don’t over schedule … and keep your expectations low because they are little and if you try to keep them to a schedule, you will be disappointed,” Mundt said.
Mundt frequently takes her family out on walks along the paved trails in Longmont, not all outdoor excursions with your family must be camping or hiking in the mountains.
“You don’t have to make it hard, you don’t have to buy all the gear and you don’t have to have a lot of money,” Mundt said.
However, if planning a family camping trip or a family hike, Mundt has provided some tips on where to go and what to do when you arrive.
Mundt believes that there are all different kinds of camping beyond the traditional camping in a tent that include car camping and glamping, otherwise known as glamorous camping. She also believes that camping should be curated for your family.
“I always recommend that if you have friends with babies or young children to find a campsite near your home, like in Estes Park, St. Vrain State Park is another. State parks are great resources. A lot of them are very near cities, and they usually have campsites,” Mundt said.
When Mundt does camp, she is partial to glamping. Glamping means you are still outdoors in a small cabin, hut, yurt or even nice tent. The difference from normal camping, is immenties like running water, heat, air and beds are included in the experience.
“The Royal Gorge Cabins … have lots to do, and these cabins are just a few miles from the Royal Gorge, there is a cabin there is a glamping tent,” Mundt said.
Mundt found that there are a plethora of glamping locations to choose from in Colorado, whether they are in a state park or just outside of one, there are plenty of options to choose from, and she has listed several in her book.
Mundt recommends looking at state parks for camping rather than national parks. She also recommends staying where there are a lot of outdoor activities on the property which will limit the need for extra travel.
“Colorado is different because we don’t have a lot of amenities in our national parks, lodging specifically… We have 42 state parks in Colorado and 41 of them have full amenities,” Mundt said.
Some sites that Mundt specifically pointed to are the YMCA property in Estes Park and one in Granby, which is great for families who don’t have a lot of money, but want to be outdoors. Snow Mountain Ranch, which offers snow sledding in the winter, allows families to meet the dogs in the summer.
Mundt wants to adjust people’s understanding of an ‘outdoorsy family’ to families who just enjoy being outdoors together.
“We just always loved the outside, we were always hiking and you know as the kids got older we wanted them to go along with us. Whatever fits your lifestyle is what you should be doing if you want to go outside,” Mundt said.