Archive of ‘Hiking’ category

Yosemite National Park Family Vacation

I’ve been itching for a family vacation this summer. We haven’t had any big plans on the calendar this year so I threw out the idea to take a road trip and everyone embraced it with open arms. HOO-RRAY! I’m really excited, can you tell?

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We like to throw together last minute trips. Do you? Even though it causes me undue stress, that’s how we roll over here.

So lets take a trip.

How about Yosemite?

What’s there to do at Yosemite?

I dunno. I know there’s a great big granite mountain face named El Capitan that’s famous for rock climbing. Didn’t that one guy free climb it? Isn’t it one of the most awesomest, beautifulest national parks in the US?

Yup.

Well, lets go.

After much research in the few short days before our trip, I learned that all campgrounds and lodgings fill up months in advanced; like February-advanced; like when-they-first-open-the-camp-sites-for-reservation kind of advance. BUT there are a bunch of camp sites that are first-come-first-serve. That made me a bit nervous not knowing where I was going to lay my sweet babies heads but I set my sights on a couple campgrounds that sounded nice and away from the crowds, hoping there would be a site available.

Boy, did we luck out. We first stopped at White Wolf because it had tap water and I wasn’t too keen on pumping or boiling all our water. It was a fun looking place but it was full so on we went to our next pick.

Tamarack Flat

Love! Love! Love! this campsite. It was 3 miles down a rugged road (which made it all the more quaint) and didn’t have tap water but my goodness, I didn’t care. We packed plenty and could fill up at the gas station later. This place was so dreamy and perfect. We found a cute little site near the end of the campground and near a stream. We had nothing but forest behind us and only one neighboring camper from the way the site was set up. It was perfect for my noisy little family.

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One day we explored the trail that ran along the stream leading from camp. It lead to the most delightful set of granite pools and little waterfalls. It was heaven and we didn’t see a soul. (Who said Yosemite was a tourist trap?)

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Tuolumne Grove

We didn’t make it down south to Mariposa Grove to see the biggest grove of sequoia trees. Instead we checked out the little one closer to our campsite. We were trying to eliminate the amount of driving we had to do for the littles.

Here is one of the first giant sequoias that you come to, Big Red.

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Tuolumne Grove only has about 20 some mature giant sequoia trees, though I counted just 10 or so, but we didn’t mind. All the trees there are big and pretty.

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The hike consists of walking a mile down an old road to the actual grove then meandering around the grove for a half mile and then trudging back up the steep-ish old road to the car for a total of 2.5 miles. The kids complained a bit but in the end it really wasn’t that bad.

The kids favorite part was climbing in and around the old fallen giants.

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Their centers are hollow and make a cave like tunnel to explore. The roots make for fun bouldering problems.

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This old dead tree has been around for years and I can’t imagine the number of people that have walked underneath it. I think I read that they carved it out in the late 1800’s or so to encourage travel through there. There was an old picture of a stagecoach going through it.

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We even saw a little troll along the way.

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Yosemite Valley

Despite all the reports we’d read about “The Valley” being full of tourists, we didn’t think it was all that bad. Perhaps it was because we were there on a Thursday so if you’re planning a trip, try a weekday instead of a weekend.

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Beautiful. Breathtaking. Yosemite valley is all those things and more. No wonder it’s famous. The granite cliffs are towering above your head and too big to fit in your windshield as you drive through. The green meadows and forests are divine and the Merced River is delightfully pretty.

We gave ourselves a full day to explore and ended up going back for another half day to play in the river.

Bridalveil Fall

Bridalveil Fall was our first stop. We knew that, being July, that there wouldn’t be much water pouring down. And well, there wasn’t but as you looked up you could see a misty kind of fall catching in the wind and blowing around the cliff and eventually finding its way down. It was late morning and the sun was positioned a few feet from the fall making it difficult to look up and get a good pic.

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It was still pretty and as we reached the end of the short walk up to the fall you could see the polished granite rocks in the river bed that were exposed in the summer. They would be completely covered and raging with water in the spring. We, along with quite a few other adventurers, scrambled up the dry but very slippery rocks up to the bottom of the fall. There would be no way to do this in the spring. At the bottom was a deep little pool where some cascading water ended up.

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Isaac jumped right in after some short encouragement from Jeremy. But he quickly jumped right out because it was freezing cold water. Take you breath away kind of cold but it was too fun to resist and plenty warm for sunning on the rocks afterwards. Isaac jumped in a bunch more times and all of us ended up taking quick dips, clothes and all. It made for a fun memory.

Vernal Fall

Our next stop was Vernal Fall. This waterfall is not seasonal and has enough water rushing down to still make it spectacular year round and thus it continues to draw a crowd. This is one of the busiest trails in the park but the scenery makes it well worth all the people passing. Just nod and smile as they walk pass your whining, screaming, silly kid.

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At about 1 mile there is a bridge that goes over the river and gives you the first view of the falls. There is also a drinking fountain to replenish water bottles. I think quite a few people stop here and call it good but getting close up to the falls was worth the uphill for us.

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The pounding sound of the fall is amazing. I need to go back in the spring and experience it in all it’s glory. The trail leading up to Vernal Fall is called The Mist Trail but in July we could barely feel the cool refreshing mist blowing over to us. No ponchos needed.

The trail is steep and a bit of a haul for the little ones. But they made it. Even if it took some jolly-rancher-bribing to get them to the top. We counted 667 granite stairs. (You can keep going up more stairs if you want to continue on to the Nevada Fall.)

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The hike goes right to the top of the fall for a great view of where you’ve come from.

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Thank you for handrails.

At the top, the river is swollen into a pretty little pool called Emerald Pool.

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Isaac jumped right in. At the far end of the pool the river comes sliding down a gentle sloping granite slab making for a perfect natural water slide. After watching a few guys slide down, Isaac braved up and went down about a dozen times. I had so much fun watching him. I could just see all the thrill of childhood adventure in him. He’d talk to himself about where to enter the slide and how to land. In the end, Emma decided to join in and loved it too. Big fun.

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Including the walk back to our car we went just over 4 miles. The kids did great but were pretty bushed by the end. I felt pretty beat myself.

Yosemite Falls

If you combine the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls it is 2,425 feet tall. That is one tall waterfall. That makes it the tallest in North America and the 5th or 7th tallest in the world. (depending on which site you read) In July there was more water coming down it than it’s neighbor, Bridalveil Fall, across the way but it was still a thin looking thing.

Again- Must. Come. Back. In. The. Spring.

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It’s only a quarter mile stroll on flat paved ground to the bottom of the lower fall. It’s a short section (320 feet high) but worth the little walk. You’ll get a great little view of the whole thing along the way. We arrived there right at dark so this is the best shot I have.

Merced River

The Merced River runs right down the Nevada and Vernal Falls into the valley. There it meanders past the forests and granite cliffs and makes for a beautiful river with pleasant beaches and pools for swimming in. (I took some fun videos of the kids jumping in the river and posted one at Instagram.)

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The kids were really excited about floating the river (because it didn’t involve hiking!) so we had brought our tubes along. I was weary about the water levels but driving by, we had seen plenty of people floating by. Althought when we set out, we learned that in July there isn’t a whole lot of floating to be done though. It was more like we went for a paddle down the river. The current was SO SLOW and there were several low spots that required getting out for so our bums didn’t drag. We took off our shoes and used them as paddles for steering and maneuvering and getting some momentum. We had to play catch up with the kids a few times. It was still really fun and a nice change from hiking.

We were rewarded by finding a rope swing at the end of our journey. I didn’t note which bridge it was near though and I didn’t get one picture from the float either… I didn’t want to risk my camera getting wet. Boo.

Glacier Point

Just south of the valley is a road that wraps up and around to a point that looks out over Yosemite Valley. Jeremy absolutely loved this place. This is probably my favorite picture from the trip. You can see Nevada Falls right by my back and that’s half dome by Jeremy’s head.

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The Views Are Spectacular!

It was fun to go up there near the end of the trip and identify all the places we’d been. There was even a handy map identifying all the major sites, domes and waterfalls. I could point out where we floated the river to the kids. “This bridge to this bridge.” and the kids thought it was pretty interesting.

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We arrived near sunset and watched the sun creep up the prominent Half Dome and disappear into the sky.

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There had been a lightning strike  earlier in the month so there was a fire near Yosemite Creek. They fireman were managing it but you can see the dark cloud in the picture below is actually smoke. It never bothered us or got in the way. It’s really interesting how fire is important to these trees, helping the new seeds grow.

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Tioga Road

Coming from Utah, the shortest route to Yosemite is to enter through the north road. Tioga road was absolutely stunning. The views were amazing! I would recommend to anyone to make time to drive this scenic route. Coming over the pass at 9,945 feet in elevation was stunning. Driving from the dessert of Nevada into that oasis was shocking. Marveling at what a difference water can make is an experience in itself. I’m sounding completely nerdy but I think my jaw was dropped during that whole drive. I was bouncing and giggling over my excitement. Jeremy may have even joined in too. I think we might have shared a high five or two. I was driving so there is a lack of pictures and we only stopped at one pull out though there are plenty. This is Olmsted Point below.

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Tenaya Lake

On our last day and on our way out of the park, we stopped at Tenaya Lake for one last hurrah. This may have been my favorite place.

There is a delightful little trail that goes along the whole lake. We didn’t have the time or the umph to walk it but this little section had me breathing in the sweet smell of Lodgepole pines and wishing we didn’t have to go home.

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We stopped at the beach with our suits on and washed off the last of our camping grime and basked in the sunshine. That’s Isaac out there. He was such a little fish they whole trip.

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Heaven.

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We ate lunch and watch the climbers ascend the dome across the road.

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Did I mention it was heavenly?

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Yes. It was.

This is Mono Lake on our way out. It’s a salty lake but still really pretty. Love the sky, yes?

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So that is my full report. Perhaps my mom will read all the way through or perhaps you’re interested in Yosemite for yourself and will decide to plan your own family vacation. Let me know if you do? Maybe you have already been? What was your favorite part?

This wont be my last trip there, for sure!

I’m in love.

Fall Break in Capitol Reef National Park

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My kids had a couple day off for Fall break and I was itching to get away and have an adventure. After a little debate on where to go we settled on Capitol Reef National Park. None of us had been there and with the time restraint on us we realized it was the perfect spot. The drive was only a few hours from our house and because the nights were a wee bit too chilly for camping we booked an affordable motel in a small town outside of the park.

Wow, were we pleasantly surprised. The drive down was gorgeous, the motel nice and comfortable with an amazing view and the park absolutely breath taking.

We drove down Friday morning, had a quick lunch break and headed out on our first adventure. We went to hike Grand Wash. We drove down to the lower trail head on a dirt road and started getting super excited as the cliffs rose up around us. At one point the kids begged to get out of the car and explore the rocks because they looked so fun.

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We parked at the trail head and headed up the flat bottomed wash. I knew right away the kids were going to love it because they immediately ran up ahead and hid in some sandstone holes to surprise us.

Peek a boo!

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Sam wanted to get up there too.

The wash was so family friendly. It was just a couple miles from one end to the other and there are other variations if you have an older crowd. It was so mellow and pleasant. At the narrowest point the cliffs were about 15 feet apart. It kind of reminds me of the Narrows in Zions but without the river.

But the holes…

Oh the holes!!

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There was something around every corner to explore.

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And always something beautiful to look at.

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Here is my little mountain goat that didn’t stop for one minute.

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Sam wanted to get off my back and hike like the big boys.

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We hiked out before the sun set and before it started to get cold. The opening picture at the very top of this post is along the road back to the motel at a look out point called Panorama Point. Pretty eh? We got a bite to eat in the cute little town of Torrey, hit the swimming pool and slept like babies.

The next day we enjoyed free breakfast, packed up and headed out for one more adventure. I had Sulphur Creek planned out but I was unsure how family friendly it was really going to be for my little ones. It was 5 miles (although the page I just linked to said 6.25 and my gps on the hike said 5.6) down a river that required a little bit of down climbing involving 3 waterfall features (but I counted 4) and lots of wading in ankle deep water. I wasn’t sure how my kids were going to hold up.

The first mile and 1/2 is down a dry wash. It felt boring, hot and long to the kids after all the fun holes from yesterday. I started to worry but when we reached the river smiles started popping back up. The trail follows the river down stream and you are forced to cross several times due to the cliffs on the sides.

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The kids wadded right in and did a great job. It was so beautiful and we had the whole place to ourselves. We stopped by a gorgeous yellow tree to let the kids climb and take some pictures.

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We caught up to a small family at the first waterfall. This was the first real feature that required down climbing. We were able to watch them climb down and it gave some peace knowing it wasn’t technical or anything.

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Once you get down on the ground you can tell how mild it was. From the top it’s hard to tell what’s down there. Nothing we couldn’t handle though.

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After the first waterfall, the canyon closes in and you feel like you are in a real slot canyon. At times there is no where to walk but right in the river. Way to go Emma!

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Here is Isaac feeling really cool about himself. He really was a tough guy and hiked super well.

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Near the end the girls started getting cold and tired. Jeremy was a great and carried them when needed. I posted a couple pictures on instagram of my super hero.

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I packed Sam the whole way so I wasn’t much help. Despite the cold and the length of the hike I was so proud of my kids. They did an amazing job and complained very little.IMG_20131019_142831_470

At the end, Emma especially, was blown away at what we had done. She wanted to tell everyone she had just hike 5 miles and climbed down waterfalls all by herself. I told her that she can do hard things and it feels really good to accomplish something like that.

We made such great memories. Be sure and check out Capitol Reef if you are ever in the area.

Our October

I can hardly believe it but I have chosen, on this fine November day, to spend Sam’s afternoon nap at the computer. Crazy, huh! I have a precious 1 and 1/2 hour all to myself and I choose to spend it with you. Hah!

Nap times, as of late have been spent watching all the BBC TV mini-series I can on Netflix (like North and South (swoon)) or checking out new routes on Mountain Project or (do I dare admit it) wasting away my 5 lives on Candy Crush Saga. (Yes, I have no pride) But I can’t help it. That games goes on and and forever. Someone please stop me.

Today I will be more productive and clean up the photos on my phone. And lucky you, I’ll share and sum up the whole of my October…

I know, I know, many of you don’t care a snit of what I’ve been up to and are only hoping for more free digital scrapbooking pages to download (patience, my friends) but at the request of my sweet mother, who is demanding more pictures of my darling children to see, I will do it. I will update the world wide web with all my lovely nonsense.

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To kick off the arrival of colder weather we decided to make a quick road trip to Idaho. You see, it’s incredibly freezing up there when the wind blows so we thought it would help us appreciate our more milder fall down in Utah. (I’m kidding, really. In truth, we just wanted to love and snuggle our dear family member and swap germs while we’re at it.) We spent a couple days just hanging out and building forts. My kids absolutely adore their cousins and beg for a better life at Aunt Jessie’s house. She can paint faces. That’s a sure win-over for kids.

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I tried to show how awesome of an aunt I could be a took the whole crew rock climbing.

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That’s my 12 year old nephew up there just pulling those tiny ledges like a champ.

But the wind blew and everyone began to freeze. Time to retreat to the safety of shelter.

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But first, Emma had to jump in to a bramble bush to catch a large slow moving snake.

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We spent an hour or so pulling the brambles from her hair.

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Back home in Utah, I made the most of the beautiful fall weather by taking hikes with Sam while the kids were at school. My goal was to do this once a week or so but it only worked out a couple times due to rain and snow coming in early and a runners knee problem. Ouch, am I getting to old for all of this?

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I would hike as high as I could until it was time to turn around for Leah’s preschool pick up. Talk about a stair stepping workout with my 30 pound Sam on my back.

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Still trying to make the most of the fall weather, I went on a picnic with my little sister and my darling red-headed niece.

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We shivered in the shade but found a sunny spot by the river to bask in while Sammy threw rocks in the water.

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One day I stopped at a pumpkin patch in an effort to be a festive and fun mom and then quickly had to bee-line it out of there because Sam wouldn’t stop throwing pumpkins (even really big ones!) The last thing I wanted to do was pay for a bunch of damaged pumpkins. No cute pumpkin patch pictures year.

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We did a family hike or two to catch the last of the golden leaves in the mountains.

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Too bad Jeremy is laying down behind Sam on this next one. It could have been a really cute pic.

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I got sick of all the ponytails and buns I was doing and chopped off all of my frizzy locks on a whim. I may or may not regret it.

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I went refrigerator shopping more than I would have liked to. Ours broke leaving us with soggy frozen vegetables and defrosting meat. I’m loving the new french door one, though.

I’ve rearranged my furniture, yet again. What I really need to do is knock out a wall.

We pulled off an amazing Fall Break trip to Capitol Reef National Park for a much needed getaway. (more pictures to come if you’re lucky)

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I spent a good week or two nursing sick kids. Big frowny face!!

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And because I’ll take all the time off I can get, I spent a beautifully warm Saturday with my good climbing friend, Janaan, at Maple Canyon pulling all the cobbles we could get our hands on to.

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We tried a couple multi-pitch climbs. They were so easy but super fun. At the top you can see the turkey farms down in the valley below and if the wind blew just right you could smell them too.

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This is the start of a full 60 meter pitch that was really, really fun!

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Me, hanging out on the ledge between pitches. You can’t really tell that there is a 190 foot drop below me. Shh, mom stop screaming.

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Oh! and we celebrated Halloween. I’m happy it’s over. Making costumes and eating way to much candy is not for me. Here’s a blurry picture of my four. I was lucky to get any kind of pic because the boys didn’t want to cooperate with me. Can you tell by Isaac’s dejected stance? I’m sure he’s not smiling.

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Whoo, what a month! On to November and feeling grateful.

My Body must be Falling Apart

White pine lake trail

Last week I went on a hike with a good friend of mine, Amy. We had decided to try out a hike to White Pine Lake. Neither of us had been there before. I checked out the details online and thought it might be a bit of a haul to get there in our allotted time because it was a 9 mile hike round trip but the website I looked at said it was an easy hike.

“Skill Rating: Easy, there is nothing difficult.”

Worth trying, right? In the back of my mind I kept thinking we’d run out of time and have to turn around before we made the 4.5 mile trek one way but it should be a nice hike anyway. I had to pack along Sam too so that always complicates things.

Little Cottonwood Canyon. #cantgetenoughofthefallcolors

It was an amazingly beautiful hike with all the colors on the trees. We kept stopping to exclaim over the beauty and soak it all in. We hiked and chatted. It was good quality girl time. I love and look up to this dear friend of mine so much. It’s more than the beauty of the mountains that is good for my soul. Learning from this strong experienced woman is good too.

We kept hiking and hiking. Amy had an app on her phone that was tracking our progress. This app would tell us how far we had gone and what our pace was. We figured we could make it to the lake if we kept our pace. So we pushed on. When Sam got fussy my friend took a turn packing him for me. She is in better shape than me and I don’t think I would have made it on my own.

After passing through some lovely mountain meadows we reached a point in the hike where there was nothing but a rock field all around. We were quite high up and could see the switchback trail continuing on. I wondered how we would ever make it up this last final stretch. It was steep and rocky and we were tired, not to mention poor Sam needing to stop and eat. We talked ourselves into continuing. “The lake must be just beyond that ridge.”

We finally made it to an overlook where we could see the lake. We decided that was far enough and were ready to turn around. As soon as we started down hill my right hip and the outside of my knees started killing me. Each step hurt so much. I didn’t know why it was happening or what was going on. I was packing Sam on my stomach because of his fussiness. Maybe that was it. I didn’t know how I was going to make it back to the car and was embarrassed to tell my friend… I eventually had to because I had to slow down my pace and was practically waddling. I had to hide my grimaces too. Yikes.

I finally asked her to carry Sam on the last 1/2 mile. I was tempted to crawl back to the car instead of walk but I made it somehow. At the car Amy’s phone told us we’d gone 10 miles round trip, and we hadn’t even made it to the lake. I felt like I had just done a marathon. Whoo!

The rest of the day was very difficult. It was hard to function as Mom. I didn’t want to walk around at all, let alone make dinner. It was difficult to hold Sam when walking around because of the pain.

Over the last few days the pain has slowly subsided. It’s hard to know if I damaged something or it’s just tired old joints. Either way I’m going to have to be more careful. I wonder if it was because I have done so little strength type exercises since Sam was born. Perhaps my mind was stronger than my body. I’ve been doing a few stretches hoping that will help. Who knows. Perhaps my age is catching up with me. It makes me sad though. I always want to be able to lead an active lifestyle.

Tips for Hiking with Young Families

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We make some of our best memories together when we go hiking as a family. My husband and I have been hiking with our kids since they were wee babes. Some trips are more memorable than others and some trips are just plain disastrous. We’ve had about 9 years of experience trudging up the trails with theses little people and through the years we’ve learned a thing or two.

Here are 10 tips from my family to yours to make your hiking trips go a little more smoothly.

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1. Pick your hike wisely.

When starting out, you’ll want to start small. Or short. Or flat. You’re obviously not going to summit a gigantic mountain peak your first time out. If you’re just starting out you’ll want to make sure the first experience your kids have is a positive one. If it’s too hard they’ll remember how miserable they were and wont be excited to go again. Kids love to have a destination, in fact, so do parents. Look up family friendly hikes in your area and pick ones that end with a waterfall or lake or go along a river. As you gain experience and your kids gain better hiking skills you can start doing harder and longer hikes.

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2. Don’t set your heart on making it to your destination.

Think of your hike as more an exploration trip instead of a hike. It helps to change your mind frame and enjoy the whole adventure. Realize that more than a mile or two might be to much for your little ones. Kids have a limited supply of hiking juice. You might never see that lake or waterfall so enjoy what you do see. Realize that just being out in nature is what your kids need and it’s not always about you making it to the end. When your kids (or even you) have had enough of the hike you can always turn around and head back to the car. Don’t worry, it’s not a failure. You want to make sure you and your kids have enough energy to make it back to the car.

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3. Dress appropriately.

Obviously you’ll need good walking shoes for everyone but for the type of hikes young families go on, you wont be needing to get completely outfitted with the latest and greatest gear. Tennis shoes work great. In fact, plan on them getting dirty and wet because kids often slip into rivers or step in mud puddles. Pay attention to the weather and dress accordingly. Pants are great for protecting scrapped knees but if it’s a hot summer day, you don’t want your kids to get overheated. Kids don’t hike well when they are too hot. Grab light jackets if it might be chilly. Higher elevations can be 10 or more degrees cooler than at home. If you and the kids are comfortable, you’ll be able to last longer outdoors.

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4. Pack light but efficiently.

A small back pack for one adult should be plenty for a small family hike. Water is obviously a must. Kids love to drink along the trail especially if it’s hot. Your big kids will love carrying their own Camelbak if you have something like that but I recommend only filling it up half way. If it’s too heavy you’ll be the one carrying it after the first hill. Grab enough water for everyone but be careful- it can add a lot of weight to your pack too. Have everyone take a good long drink before leaving the car. It’s easier to carry water in your belly then on your back. Pack a small snack for along the way or to enjoy at your destination. Food will help everyone recharge. A small first aid kit can always come in handy and a small flashlight if you’re hiking in the evening. Don’t forget diapers and small pack of wipes if you have a baby.

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5. Get creative.

It doesn’t take long for the kids to start getting tired. Use some creativity to make the hike fun and not a chore. Sing songs along the way, make up stories to tell, use your surroundings for inspiration. Pretend you’re entering fairy land or looking for some dragons to slay. Try to find the best wizard wand or pretend you’re on an African safari. Have a rock hunting contest or play animal guessing games. If the kids are having fun on the journey, they’ll make it a lot further. Perhaps you can provide a little baggie for each kid to collect pretty rocks, leaves or flowers. Have a contest at the end and award the prettiest, most unique and craziest colors so that everyone wins. Limit the size of the rock collection or else you’ll end up hauling the mountain back with you.

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6. Acquire a comfortable carrier for baby or toddler.

You will obviously have to pack a baby and occasionally your toddler. You and the baby will be able to hike better with a comfortable carrier. If you’re hoping to enjoy hiking often with your family, it will be worth it to buy a nice carrier. Shop around, read reviews and try carriers out for long periods of time. The more weight on your waist and off your shoulders is the best for hiking. I have never liked hiking with a baby in a Baby Bijorn (ouch on the shoulders!) but my husband doesn’t mind them. I prefer a baby wrap for a real little one. When they get bigger you can carry them on your back. Yea! I love my Ergo for big babies. I don’t recommend a frame type carrier. I personally think they are bulky, uncomfortable and top heavy. We carried our first child in a Kelty carrier and we were all miserable. Each to their own though, but that’s what I recommend. Also, encourage your older toddler to walk as much as they can but realize that you could be carrying them for most of the hike. More exercise for you.

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7. Take turns. 

Grown ups get tired too. Take turns with the other parent to give yourself a break. If you’re carrying a child or dealing with a whinny, tired walking aged soul, switch and help each other out and everyone will be a little bit happier.

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8. Hold hands with the little ones.

Maybe this is an obvious tip, but when the trail allows, hold hands with your small child. They will walk faster and be able to keep up with that extra support. Little ones can stumble a lot. Expect some trips and falls and be willing to steady them by holding their hands especially on a rock trail.

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9. Stop and smell the Pine trees.

The whole point of going hiking with your family is to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. Point out the beauty around you. Show the kids what you see. Talk about the colors of the leaves or the amazing rock formations. Point out wildflowers and count their petals. Crush some pine needles or sage leaves in your hand and let your child smell the sweet goodness. Throw rocks in the river and watch a beetle cross the trial. Poke at some bugs with a stick and watch their little legs work. Watch a squirrel run up a tree and listen to it’s chatter. Point out birds and deer and mimic a chipmunk. Take a break at a pretty spot and let the kids dig in the dirt and explore the area. Let go about making it to your destination and everyone will be so much happier.

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10. Take along a friend.

As your kids get older they may loose some of their motivation for hiking. If you allow them to bring along a friend, you’ll be amazed at the new spring in their step with their friend along. Of course, check with the parent and make sure they are comfortable with you taking them for a hike. You could also invite the whole family along and make the memories together. How fun!

If you’re just starting out or a seasoned hiker, I hope my tips help you along your way. Just make sure to enjoy the journey and allow the kids to be kids. The time spent outdoors will give your kids a love for nature and an appreciation for God’s creations.

Happy hiking!