Have Backpacks, Will Travel

August 3, 2009

Molasses and Teddy

Molasses and Teddy

On Friday we took GB’s cousin’s kids camping. They are four and seven and this was their first real camping trip. It was also our first camping trip with young children and although we have both worked in the outdoors with young kids, it is not really the same experience.

We piled into the car with our backpacks and car seats and all the extra things one takes when kids are involved (like teddy bears, for example). We had reserved a campsite that involved a mile and a half hike in, half of which was up a very steep hill. We spent the car ride talking up size of the “mountain” to the kids, so they would know what to expect, and we taught them how to call a break when they needed one.

The kids were actually pretty amazing on the hike and remained in good spirits for the whole thing. In addition to carrying our own packs weighing about 50lbs, we did end up carrying their packs as well by the end, but that is to be expected.  We are not sure how an overnight with kids requires having heavier packs than we normally would on a week-long backpacking trip, but I guess we were prepared for any emergency that might arise.

The kids and I collected wood and set up the tent while GB started dinner. We played a little frisbee and then settled in for a delicious dinner and of course, s’mores. Once we had reviewed and identified all the scary noises outside (so as to make them less scary), the kids drifted off to sleep and we followed closely behind. That is, until the wind and rain arrived. Within a few minutes one side of the tent was blowing like crazy and water was pouring in the roof. We were terrified that the youngest, being already a little wary of things, would wake up and completely fall to pieces with fear. Thankfully, the storm only lasted a couple of hours and neither of the kids woke up at all during that time. Somehow the rain only leaked on us and they both remained dry and warm in their sleeping bags. Neither GB and I got a wink of sleep until the last drop of rain and crash of thunder were long gone.

The kids surprised us again in the morning by sleeping in past 7am. We were up and making coffee and breakfast before they even stirred. When they did wake up we dined and then went about the business of taking down our campsite and preparing to hike out. Since I had foolishly packed the frisbee at the bottom of my pack, the kids played “Toilet paper catch” at GB’s genius suggestion. It was then that we decided that when we have kids, we’d like to have that kind: the kind that will happily throw a toilet paper roll back and forth for entertainment; the kind that don’t really need toys.

They were also extremely polite all the time. The four year old was sipping on his morning hot chocolate and suddenly looked up, eyes bright, and said “thanks for making us hot chocolate!”. Priceless.

The hike back down the mountain was equally well-managed by the little ones and they were all giggles and laughs on the drive home. Given their exceptional behavior, I would not be surprised if they climbed into their parents’ car and had complete exhaustive meltdowns. It was an awesome trip all around and both GB and I are glad we suggested it. Over s’mores the idea of making it an annual trip was thrown around and all were amenable. I figure we have about two more years before we’ll need a bigger tent to accommodate us all. And I’m curious to see how many years until Teddy and Molasses no longer make the trip.

The kids and Molasses enjoy a quick "sitting break" by the stream.

The kids and Molasses enjoy a quick "sitting break" by the stream.

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