This is the story of our first overnight backpacking trip with the kids. The cast of characters includes me and Hubby, A (age 9), E (age 7) and E-boy (age 4). Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate lab puppy, Moose (age 8 months). This story will be told with many words and few pictures, not by choice, but due to the unfortunate circumstance of arriving at the trailhead and finding that one of the children had unplugged the camera battery charger without the batteries getting enough juice. So, here we are at the trailhead, ready to start on our journey:
We’ve been planning to do an overnight backpacking trip with the kids for a while. We love to get the kids out experiencing the wonders of nature, and enjoy camping. So after doing several day hikes with the kids we went looking for a nice trail to hike. We wanted to hike in 5-6 miles, with a gentle gain in elevation. We also were looking for something that was near a creek, and allowed dogs to hike along. After much searching we settled on hiking to Spider Meadow. We planned to spend three days and two nights, hiking in on day one and setting up camp, then spending day two doing day hikes without packs for the kids, then hiking out on the third day. We packed up our gear into five packs (Hubby carried almost 40 pounds, I carried 20, A 11, E9 and E-boy 5. Oh and the dog carried his food and bowls in his little pack) and set off for the trailhead.
I have to say, we picked a great hike. The trail was in good condition and the ascent was gentle. The main challenge was the creek crossings, which we prepared for by bringing crocs to wear when wading across. A few of the creeks were flowing pretty high, and Hubby froze his feet by carrying across first his own pack, then each of the girls. Halfway in we stopped for lunch on the trail, then continued on. The second half of the trail was covered in patches of snow, which was a bit challenging for the kids to cross. We took a pretty lazy pace so the kids could enjoy themselves on the trail, and reached the meadow after about 6 hours of hiking.
The view when we reached the meadow was spectacular! The first thing we saw was a huge buck standing near the creek, looking right at us. It was one of those sights you just have to be still and drink in. Unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures of it. So sad; so very, very sad. Here’s what it looked like:
Once in the meadow, we found a nice place to camp by crossing yet another creek. We set up the tents and went about the process of cooking dinner. The kids ran about the grassy meadow (amazing how setting down their packs had energized them to play tag after hiking 6 miles) while Hubby and I enjoyed the views. We had a lot of solitude, as there were only two or three other groups of campers in the meadow, none on our side of the creek. After dinner, we tucked the kids in their tents and settled into ours.
We woke in the morning to all that glorious scenery! There’s nothing like early mornings in the great outdoors! When we went to get the kids out of their tent, we heard the bad news. A’s palate expander had come unglued on one side during the night. It was loose in her mouth, and it was hurting. We had two choices, we could tell her to buck up and deal with it for the next two days, or we could hike out and have the orthodontist take care of it as soon as we could. We briefly considered just pulling it out with the leatherman tool, but that didn’t seem like a viable option since neither Hubby nor I had gone to dentistry school.
We fixed breakfast, and ate before breaking camp. A. wasn’t able to eat much, but she drank some milk and sucked on her Cheerios. Then we took down our tents and packed up our backpacks. I can’t tell you how disappointed we were to have to cut our trip short, especially since we were hiking out carrying an entire day’s worth of food. However, we did what we had to do.
The hike out went faster than the hike in, as we were going downhill. We didn’t have time to dawdle, as we needed to reach cell phone service before the office hours were over at our orthodontist. After reaching the trailhead it was another hour before we were able to call out. Luckily, the orthodontist was able to meet us at his office in the evening and take out the expander for A.
So that is the story. I have to say it was a successful hike. We were able to carry everything we needed in, and we reached our destination. The kids did a great job hiking, and we can definitely plan another overnight hike soon. This time, though, we’ll make sure we have batteries for the camera. And A. no longer has a palate expander to pop off and ruin our plans. Whatever our next adventure brings, I’m sure we can handle.