Saturday, December 29, 2012

Weldon Springs - Boo's Trip Report

I had Boo dictate a trip report for our October overnight to Weldon Springs. 

We explored! We found a creek. We also found a beach. I found mushrooms and took a picture. I had to take a few pictures before it turned out OK. 


Climbing trees! It’s kind of tricky to get up there. I can’t walk up on the tree without falling over.

Climbing More Trees

Breakfast was cocoa and oatmeal and I loved the oatmeal. 

Chilly Breakfast

I was walking behind because I was slow and tired. But I was OK walking behind. I did the whole hike. 

Staying Back By Herself

We heard owls and dogs. 

My favorite part of the trip was getting to go to the beach. 

Sand Castle

Baba, post the pictures that you think people will find amazing. 

Even More Tree Climbing

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Winter Hike

January 14, 2012, Lee left at 5am to go to Denver. After a thrilling morning of laundry, a healthy lunch, and some not-very-quiet quiet time, I suggested a hike at our favorite park. “Yeah!”

Ee just had our first snow of the season. For reasons I am too embarrassed to discuss, she has no winter boots.

It’s mid 20s and sunny, slightly breezy. My winter short hike gear is my rain pants over my jeans. Her brand new rain pants are perhaps 6 inches too long. Heck, we can roll them up. Wool sweater, wool hat, wool mittens (all knit with love by her mom). We discuss our hike refreshments (Z-bars and water), and I remember that I bought a Platypus bottle and drinking tube for her. Fill that up and add it to her pack. I fill my Camelbac Mule, and we’re off.

Arrive at the trailhead, zip her up, help with mittens, and why are you wearing your sun hat? Put your warm hat on. She doesn’t want to wear two hats, please would I carry ducky hat? Fine, either she’ll get cold, and I can tell her that’s why I wanted her to wear her warm hat, or she won’t and she’ll be fine.

There’s enough traffic that the trail is already nicely tramped down. This reassures me as she goes stomping through snow over her ankles in sneakers.

She loves snow. She tries to make snowballs (not sticky enough). She identifies footprints (“people, people, people, deer or turkey, people, me!”). She asks why the snow sparkles, and then dances up the trail stomping on every sparkle she sees. Going up the switchbacks, she gets so involved looking at squirrel tracks that she follows them a few steps off the trail into the deeper snow.

Following the Wrong Footprints

I’m glad I put her in rain pants. She’d be exhausted already in snow pants. But she falls down every other step, both from slipping and because she thinks it’s really funny. Near the top of the hill, she complains that her foot itches. “Nothing we can do. Keep walking.” I’m so nurturing. At the section along the ridge where she usually runs, she starts whimpering because of her itchy feet. I have her sit on a bare spot and take her shoe and sock off. She’s got a tiny cut on the back of her heel. I pull one of the favored colored bandages out of my pack. The other heel is worse. Cause of damage is likely her jagged, razor-sharp toenails. I make a mental note to bring nail nippers on overnights with her. Blue bandages applied, she happily jumps along the ridgeline. “Side to side, side to side!” she zigzags in front of me.

At the listening point bench on top of the hill, we stop for a snack. She nibbled a Z-bar and has 2 raisins. I ask if she’s thirsty, and she manages to drink from her tube by herself. We need to tweak its clip point, but not in the snow. She admits to being cold and doesn’t complain about the warm hat now.

Snack Time

Down hill is slicker. She falls almost every step, but laughs every time, too. She pretends I’ve never been here, and tells me where we’re going, what’s going to happen, etc.

And then, her feet get cold. I feel horrible, because I haven’t even brought dry socks. I put her up on shoulders and stick her feet in my armpits. She sings loudly about jelly beans. An hour after getting out of the car, 5 minutes after she gave up on her feet, we arrive at the nature center.

I make her take her hat, mittens, and coat off. I take her shoes and socks off and realize that there’s a ring of ice around her ankles in the rolled cuffs of her rain pants. She gets a cookie and hot chocolate and settles on the floor of the store, where she is introduced to all patrons as “our youngest volunteer”, draws a picture, schmoozes enough food for a meal, and generally has a fabulous time.

What do you like to do on your winter outings?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Owl Pellet

Boo and I were trying for the end of the trail. We’d had a hot lunch at an overlook, and thrown things over three bridges when I noticed what looked like a funny colored mushroom.

Then I looked a little closer.

Own Pellet

 “Hey Boo, come back here!”

 “What’s that?”

“An owl pellet!”

We discussed what that meant. We poked it apart and looked at the tiny bones. We looked around for more pellets.

Poking the Owl Pellet

It was pretty cool.

 What’s the neatest thing you’ve found hiking?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gift Ideas for Young Hikers

Everyone is posting their gift suggestions, so here are ours.
  • Whatever piece of your gear they steal or beg to borrow most often
  • Headlamp
  • Field guides for whatever they're interested in
  • Fun rope & knot book, pamphlet, cards
  • Survival guide
  • Water bottle or bladder
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Compass
  • Mess kit
  • Knife
  • Hiking hankie
  • Journal
  • Maps of upcoming trips
  • Upgrade to better gear
What are you getting your hiking kids this year?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What She Likes

So I asked Boo what she likes about hiking, and these were her answers.
What I like about hiking is:

When we go to the deck (a 3.1 mile loop at our favorite local park. The deck is a good place for a picnic)

Break Time

When we go to Robinson and pick blackberries 


Helping filter water

Cleaning Water

Playing with rope

Washing hankie – just the kids

Playing in water

Helping put up the tent

Clipping the Tent Poles

Collecting walnuts while Baba throws up (I got a bad migraine...)

Wren's Family

Camping and sleeping in the tent

New Sleeping Bag Approved

 What do your kids like best about hiking or camping?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Feeding a Hiking Kid

So you may have noticed that kids eat differently than adults. Sometimes they hoover everything in sight. Sometimes they survive on fresh air and sunshine. Sometimes they eat what is offered, sometimes they will only eat peanut butter sandwiches three times a day.

Even accounting for those things, kids eat more hiking and camping than at home.

Boo will eat constantly while hiking if we let her, but her most common fuels are dried fruit and hard-boiled-eggs. Dried fruits are easy and cheap if you have a dehydrator and buy seasonally, or easy and not cheap if you buy them. She won't eat nuts and has trouble with jerky, but will inhale eggs, so that's our snack protein of choice.

Kid claims to be hungry? Feed her.

Kid flagging? Feed her.

Kid cold? Feed her.

Kid hot? Feed her.

How To Motivate a Cranky Hiker

Kid in need of a nap? Feed her.


Kid needs motivation? Feed her.

Picnic 3

Kid whiny? Feed her.


Starting a hike? Feed her.

Hiking Picnic

Ending a hike? Feed her.

She fell down and is crying inconsolably? Feed her.

She sees a tasty invasive? Let her eat it.
Eating Invasive Weeds
My kiddo eats on the trail almost as much as she runs.

What do your kids snack on?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Review: The North Face Tigger Sleeping Bag

After her fever night in the sleeping bags with us, she asked if she could have her own sleeping bag so that she could flop without us getting in her way.

We could have gotten a down bag that would last until she’s mostly grown, but she’s not too old for accidents, and has been known to spill water. I’d rather be safe than sorry in that respect.  

Many of the youth bags we found were long enough that Lee could fit them nicely. Which is a bit big for a 41” kid. 

We looked for the shortest synthetic-insulated mummy bag we could find. And came up with  The North Face Tigger.

The zipper goes about half way down, making it harder (not impossible) for her to get loose in the night. I hate trying to stuff a clingy cold kid back into her own sleeping bag once she has escaped, squirmed all around the tent, and ended up trying to worm into my bag. 

The hood is fitted for snugness without elastic or dangling cord bits of doom. When she’s calm or cold at bedtime, she’ll snuggle into the hood. 

Pre-Dinner Rest Time>

Specs say it’ll fit 60 inches. At 42 inches, she’s got 6-8” at the foot, and probably another couple at the head. She’s skinny, and has enough room to wriggle a little. 

Sleeping Bag Fit

It has a little zipper pocket, which will be nice when she needs glasses.  (This does not show up in the descriptions that I can find right now, so it may no longer be there.)

The zipper pull has a glow-in-the-dark tab.

There are hanging loops all the way around: both sides, head, and foot.

At Weldon Springs this October, it was around 40 F overnight. She was not in socks or a hat. She wiggled off her foam pad. She did not report any discomfort or try to crawl into our bags (until she was awake), but when interrogated reported that she had been “OK, maybe a little chilly.”

Update: May 27, 2013
 The Velcro  kept getting caught in her hair this weekend. Unsure why this is, since it hasn't been a problem before.

What do you look for in a kid’s sleeping bag?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What she Carries

Boo’s 5th birthday is coming up, and we were discussing what she would like. After going through several categories, I asked if she wanted anything for backpacking. “No. I just want to carry more of my stuff.” 

So when we went on an overnight, she carried most of her stuff. 

Her Pack


  • Backpack
    • ~3/4 L of water
    • 2 hankies
    • Whistle
  • Complete  change of clothes – both for sleeping or in case of complete destruction of what she’s wearing. In a stuff sack that is used as a pillow.
  • Z-bar and a bag of trail mix
  • Chap stick
  • Wildlife ID pamphlet
  • Park map
  • Cord (to practice knots)
  • First Aid kit (a few bandages, sometimes alcohol wipes)
  • Squishy bowl and cup, collapsible spork
  • Headlamp
  • Cut-down blue foam sleeping pad (not pictured)

With the sleeping pad strapped to the pack, she looked so overloaded. We didn’t weigh it, but it felt heavier than I expected her to be comfortable with. I expected to have to lighten her load pretty early down the trail. 

Shows what I know.

Packed Up

I think we checked in with her 4 times in the first 50 yards. “How is your pack? Is it too heavy? Do you want us to carry anything for you?”

She kept insisting, “It’s fine, it’s light!” 

And she carried it. It was only maybe 1.5 miles on a slight downhill. But she carried it. 
Packing up in the morning, she added her paperback chapter book, and tried to put the tent stakes in her pack. She carried everything the ~mile back to the car. Then we hit a different trail in the park, and she suggested that we should all carry our packs on that trail, too, to build up our muscles.

Lesson Learned
  •  The cord that comes on the backpack  is not long enough to regularly hold the sleeping pad. 

What do your kids carry at what age?