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?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chicken and Chickpeas

This week we took a couple of days off to sneak in one more overnight trip.  I threw together a meal from what was in the pantry, and some ideas that had been rattling around in my head and it turned out delicious.

Dicing the vegetables very fine helps them dehydrate and rehydrate faster.  The same applies to mashing the chickpeas.  Using sun-dried tomatoes makes for a richer flavor, and I had a bunch on hand (we make them from excess garden tomatoes, after all, why have a dehydrator and not use it)

Chicken and Chickpeas

serves 3 adults
2 cups noodles (we like the Barilla Plus noodles for their higher protein and fiber content)

1 onion chopped fine
1 T oil

2c chickpeas (canned or cooked)
1 carrot chopped fine
1/4 c (approx) sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
2 T dried celery
1 c chicken broth

1 7 oz package chopped chicken

Cook the noodles as directed on the package, drain very well, and dehydrate

Saute the onion in the oil for about 10 minutes.  Add the carrot and cook for another 5 min, then add the chickpeas and broth.  Cover and let simmer while preparing the tomatoes.

While the chickpea mixture is cooking, puree the tomatoes and the dried celery.  You may need to add a bit of water.  Add the tomatoes to the chickpeas and let the whole thing cook until the chickpeas are nice and mushy, and most of the broth has been absorbed, about half an hour.  Use the back of a spoon to mash up the chickpeas and dehydrate until its nice and crunchy.  Package the noodles and chickpea mixture together.

At dinner time, boil 1 L water  (this makes it a bit soupy, you can adjust to your preference), and add to the dried noodles and chickpeas.  Mix in the chicken and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Very Nicely Said

A lady out in Colorado has a post that says very succinctly  why I bother tromping around with my kid.

The paragraph that caught me was:

"Yes, hiking with kids is more difficult than hiking without them. Yes, they walk slow. But the answer to successfully hiking and backpacking with children is simple: Start them young and be patient."

"I Walk Slow" by Backpacking with Kids

It's worth reading the whole post. (I enjoy all her posts, but I couldn't not share this one.)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Map Lesson 1

“Boo, do you like hiking new places, places you’ve already been, or some of each?” Standard driving after work/daycare conversation.

“Places I’ve been.” Firmly.

Well, that explains why she’s so resistant to new places to hike…


“I like to know where I’m going.” 


“You know, Mommy and I use maps so we know where we are going in new places. Would you like to learn to use a map?”


So off we went to Forest Park. We picked up a map. We discussed which route we would take and traced it on the map. She took the crayon and the map, and we were off. 

Starting the Hike - With Map

She marked the map at the trailhead.

Map practice

“I see the bridge!”

“Where are the stairs? Are the stairs on here? Why not? What about the big hill?”

When we reached the top of the hill, we stopped at a bench and found ourselves on the map. She traced the trail from start to where we were. Well, somewhat past… Actually, past enough that she covered up the next landmark… 

At the next bench, she located us past the intersection and wouldn’t accept my correcting. 

Not shown: me running up and down the hills after her in my work clothes
Then she found too many pretty leaves to hold with her map, so I got the map and crayon and the lesson was over. 

She was so proud of herself, and we’ve got a good start on having her be happy to try new trails. 

Lessons Learned:

The trail we followed took up a very small section of the map, which made it hard for her to follow along.

Forest Park maps are not at all straightforward or intuitive. 

Black crayons obscure black landmarks.

What do your kids do with maps? When did you learn to read maps?