Caterpillars, Volcanoes and Sunscreen; How we Protect the Kid's skin while Hiking.
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
Over the weekend we decided to hike the Hummocks Trail at Mount St. Helens. It was pretty incredible, both in terms of views and surprises. Undoubtedly Mount St. Helens looms large in the distance and is absolutely stunning. BUT the real treat of this hike was the tent caterpillars who had made their homes in the alder trees. There were so many it felt apocalyptic. At one point I had a mild panic attack because I was deeply petrified they would fall from the sky and into my long hair never to be found again. If you're squirmy about bugs avoid this trail at all costs during spring. I've heard the caterpillars are not that "bad" every year but every once and a while their population spikes....and boy does it spike. The kids had so much fun investigating these bugs up close. After we got home we did some very interesting research on tent caterpillars and caterpillars in general which was so fascinating after witnessing all that caterpillar magic.
Tent caterpillars aside, hiking with kids does not always go smoothly. This particular day was actually hotter and more exposed then we initially thought and the first 20 minutes everyone complained and dragged their feet. Finally, they perked up and were running all around the trail exploring the beauty of the area.
How we protect our kid's skin while hiking
One of our new favorite hiking "MUST HAVES" are sun-shirts from Veyo Kids, which were sent to us and now have become a staple in our sun protection regimen. Throwing a sun-shirt on the kids has been so much easier then lathering their torsos with sunscreen, especially on long exposed hikes like this one. I love that these shirts don't even look like your typical sunshirts, they have the cutest little hoods!
I for one am really diligent about protecting the kids from sun exposure. A lot of people I know feel sunscreen and sun protection isn't necessary, in some cases doing more harm then good. I've heard countless arguments about why sun protection, particularly sunscreen, is unnecessary but the research simply doesn't support it.
Sun exposure is linked to an increase risk in developing skin cancer. Recently there have been studies showing harmful substances in sunscreen entering the bloodstream, which is certainly concerning, but most medical experts agree that despite this , we should still be protecting our skin from the sun. I always check out the best sunscreens in the Environmental Working Group's sunscreen database before buying to ensure the ingredients are the best they can be.
With all this in mind, we have been really loving the combo of using these sunshirts ( to reduce the need for sunscreen) + hats + natural based sunscreens on the our exposed areas. It's been working really great for us and has elevated our sun protection game!