Family of hikers uses Metro Parks to prepare for trip


In June, the Gleason family plans to hike Colorado's Rocky Mountains.

The mountains are physically demanding. To get ready the family is spending time in Franklin County Metro Parks.

The catch? They are a family of 10. Adding to the challenge, two of the girls have diabetes, including 9-year-old Abbie. Her blood sugar levels need to be checked regularly. That doesn't stop her as she often leads the hikes.

"That's very much a problem," 14-year-old Nate said during a recent hike in Scioto Grove Metro Park. "Especially with her in the front, she's all the way five miles down the trail and we're back here (saying) wait up."

Along with oodles of exercise, there needs to be nutrition. The Gleasons are still tinkering with how and what to cook in the wilderness.

"The freeze-dried, dehydrated types of foods. And it's really kind of a test for us to find the foods that taste good," said Matt Gleason, who does a lot of the campsite cooking.

They are figuring it out as they go, trimming excess weight out of their backpacks and off their bodies.

Training began over the winter and now the payoff for the Gleason family is coming in more than just beautiful scenery.

Mother Brandy said you can't help but be in better shape when you're hiking 10-12 miles per week.

The Gleasons said there is added benefit to getting out in the woods. There is no cell service in most of the places they go, so the family is forced to get along-- with nature and each other.

Besides the Rockies, they have trips planned to the Great Smoky Mountains and to Isle Royale in Michigan.