And so our big adventure begins. For our first stop, we decided to take advantage of some local adventure that Arizona has to offer. We stopped in Flagstaff to make a little jaunt up Humphreys Peak, which tops out at 12,633’ above the Coconino National Forest. This also allowed us to try everything out (Gear, Food, Clothing, Etc.), before we are in Colorado and wrecking every 14’er we can get our happy little feet on.
As we begin any epic adventure, it is super-critical to keep in mind that planning is important, but being flexible is mandatory for success and happiness. We packed up our nutrition (See list below), water, Kids Camelbaks, The North Face wind/rain Shells, Ruffwear pack for our furry pack mule, our mei tai’s for wearing the littles, and of course everyones’ Buff’s for the day. We headed up from the Humphreys Trailhead in lot 9 of the Snow Bowl Parking lot West of Flagstaff.
Things always look amazing at the start of a hike with kids. No summit to be seen, no idea what the terrain will hold, everyone is optimistic. When you have 5, that optimism can’t be expected to last long. While asking “how much futher is it?”, or “when are we going to get there?” and other terrible kid questions that we don’t allow, someone is bound to bonk. About an hour in Tay (6) was clearly falling into the “not enough nutrition or water” category. Using incentives (not bribes, incentives are very different!) sparingly is always important. We gave a time, “hey would you like a chocolae brownie Clif Z-bar in another half an hour? We can take a nice break them”, and that helped hold him off for a while longer. Although that “half an hour” may have only been 15 minutes but luckily none of them wear watches. There were some tears during this long, dreary, sad walk to the speacial treat (they never get these unless they are doing something senious), lucky his Buff came in handy to wipe them (and his messy face) away.
The summit brought winds that scared many of the littles (maybe an adult too). At one point Tea and Sabrina lay face down attempting to avoid the high winds which seemed like they could push both of them off the mountain. Tajh on the other hand loved jumping from rock to rock and hiding from the winds. Frolicking around the summit screaming “I’m on the top of Arizona!” This kid is a hiker, through and through. Funny to note in almost any race he and Tea race he is the first to break down while Tea has a head down, no complaints approach. Yet, it was Tea who was complaining and unhappy at points during this hike, while Tajh was overly positive forcing us all to make threats on the safety of his nose.
Heading down is always welcome. Although some of the children’s feet were wrecked, there was a much more positive vibe in the group. They were proud of themselves, happy to have accomplished this, and happy to be heading back to the van. The little two were worn on our backs for almost 8 1/2hours, and they were happy to be on the ground again! This is just the begining of our adventures, but by far this is the hardest mountain we have conquered, to date. I see our failures (not feeding them early enough in the hike) and our wins (staying positive despite this). We are ready. Ready for the next amazing adventure we find ourselves in, or really just the next time we get to spend 8 ½ hours with nothing to pay attention to except putting one foot in front of the other and talking to our little people, that’s epic.
Three packages Black Cherry Shot Bloks,
Strawberry Stinger Waffle,
Two Strawberry Banana Gu Gels,
Cherry Lime Gu Gel,
Chocolate Raspberry Gu Gel,
Chocolate Cherry Clif Shot Gel,
Two Peanut Butter Cookie Lara Bars,
Three Chocolate Brownie cliff z bars,
Oatmeal Cookie cliff z bar,
Four peanut butter date sandwiches
$46 worth of Chipotle… yup we were those assholes holding up the line for 6 burritos, a kids meal, and chips. Sorry…