Posts Tagged With: Hiking with Kids

Havasupai with a Baby

Decided to take Mr. Tag down to Havasupai Falls because, why not?

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Packing for all day adventures is soooo simple with a baby… Note to self, babies’ need way too much stuff…

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One of us was awake…

He did well for most of the hike in, nursing and sleeping like a baby does.

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Boob

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Another baby on the trail!

Per usual he was very uninterested in the awesome views…

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No? Ok then….

At some points he was awake and even got to enjoy a little of the falls. Though is was a little cold for such a little guy.

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Aaaand, back to sleep….

What I learned on the way out is 11 1/2 hours of my shannaingans is all he is willing to tolerate.

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Awake baby on the trail!

While singing dancing and overall being crazy would keep him happy for a moment, he was unwilling to calm down totally until he was out of the carrier. -Sigh- Nothing like carrying a baby in your arms at the end of a 12 hour day on the CLIMB out….

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But we made it. It was fun, and I learned I am terrible at taking care of my calories. With nursing him all day and hiking I need to figure out just how many calories I need so I don’t feel awful the next day. FOOOOOD! A work in progress!

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You know the amazing feeling of cleaning yourself up and getting changed at the trail head after a long day on the trail? Yeah I don’t, but Tag sure does…

 

Categories: Adventures with Littles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Take a hike! With your kids.

The biggest question I get asked if how I get my kids to hike as far as I do.

Well, bribery.

Yes my kids love nature, yes my kids like hiking, but even they hit a point where bribery is the only option. Even my kids need that carrot to keep them moving at times….

Well not a carrot. A carrot would not even work for my crazy vegan kids. It’s chocolate, gummy snacks, or treats of any sort.

Sometimes it is a playground at the end of the hike! By far my favorite hike to take “newby” hiking kids on, that is also close to Phoenix, is in Cave Creek Regional Park.

“Let’s go hike kids!”

“waaahhh I don’t wanna”

“We can play on the playground after”

“OK!”

Everyone wins!

Starting at the Go John trail head you have the one big climb of the hike, we call it the ant hill. Once you reach the saddle you have the best stop for a snack and take some pictures spot. Do not spend too long hanging out here, when kids get to thinking how tired they are its hard to get them moving again! When you come to a junction take a left on Overton. You will meander around the mountain for some more awesome views and some fun little downhill sections.

Eventually you will spot the nature center which is a great little stop to see some critters. You will also spot the playground which is a great end of hike motivator for the Little ones!  It’s funny how moments ago they were “so tired” after 3 (ish) miles but when they hit that playground they have all the energy in the world!

For a hike this length my Little People don’t have that many snacks, but if yours is new to this sort of distance plan on a little something at the saddle and maybe a couple more along the way. I tend to try and give them something “healthy” in the beginning, fruit of veggies, and use the sugary snack as a motivator to keep moving as the miles drag on. I usually plan on something they love (for us its chips) at the park as an added “yay you made it” bonus!

The best part about Cave Creek Regional Park is once your kids have mastered the short hike there are many options to add on miles and still have the playground as motivation! And for us parents, the views are all beautiful!

Do-

Teach your kids trail etiquette before you go. My rule for my Little People is the almost always move off the trail and let adults go by. It’s just easier that way.

Have snacks. Delicious ones. Probably chocolate.

Let your kids carry their own stuff. Camelback has the best kids packs on the market currently. Buy your kid one, go outside and use it!

Take time to hunt for lizards, watch a bug cross the trail or stare at the hawk flying by.

Buy good shoes. It’s important. Velcro is BAD for kids hiking (ask Tru, he lost 2 toenails last summer)

Use motivators when needed. Talk, play games, run, smile, give snacks. Have fun yourself so your kids can have fun too!

Don’t-

Give snacks every time they ask. Always give a “snack point”. “When we get to the saddle we will have -blank-“. If they start getting what they want by whining I promise you will regret it later in the hike!

Carry their pack. Yes they will get tired. Yes their pack is heavy. Do not let them get away with being lazy! Let them feel strong and capable.

Commiserate. Instead of complaining when they do, talk about how happy you are that your legs hurt because of how strong they are becoming. If you complain they complain and that is no fun at all!

So get out with your Little People and have fun!

 

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Screw the Village

I get the “it takes a village” mentality, but leave my kid alone!

I am very clear with my children that they do not have to feel obligated to talk to or listen to adults if they are uncomfortable. I am also very clear that they need to do things on their own when it comes to climbing, jumping, swinging. If you get yourself into a situation you better be able to get yourself out.

We hiked to Seven Falls in Tucson yesterday. The hike was uneventful and all around easy, nothing much to say about that. When we got to the falls the older ones got to playing and I sat with the baby paying little attention to what they were doing. Frogs were caught, rocks were climbed, people got wet. The usual.

Now Tenny is strong and a fairly talented gymnast. She loves boulder and got herself on this rock-

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And got down many times.

But at one point she was up there alone and two older gentlemen took notice of her trying to get down and offered help.

“No thank you” Said Tennyson

She sat back on top of the rock waiting. When I say I pay “little” attention to what is going on that’s not completely true, I knew exactly what was going on but did not intervene.

Tenny continued to sit  on the rock looking at the men out of the corner of her eye for a couple more minutes then went to go down again.

At this point one of the men jumped up offering her help again.

“No Im ok” she said. She climbed back to the top again and sat uncomfortable for another few minutes before hightailing it down and over to me.

“hey honey, did that bother you?”

“Yes. They didn’t listen to me.”

Now you see, the “helpfulness” was really not listening to my daughters words. Yes she is only 6, but she said she was fine and the men, adults, wouldn’t hear her. How scary is that when you are little? She went back up the rock multiple times not because she wanted to, but in hopes that these men would leave her alone so she could get down. I understand wanting to help children if they look like they are in trouble but she was not.  Maybe she could have fallen, but so what?

Tenny and I talked about the way she felt. We talked about how adults should listen to children’s words and if they don’t that’s scary. We also talked about how these men may have just been trying to help but we also don’t know and some people use “helping” as a way to trick children.

PLEASE hear my children. If you aren’t trusting a child’s judgment DO NOT push. Give a simple “can I go get your Mom/Dad for you” but do not invade their space or comfort zone. Adults need to respect a child’s words. Maybe you aren’t the “bad guy” but what happens when my daughter takes help from that person because she doesn’t want to upset the person offering help?  Children should not feel an obligation to accept help from an adult AND if they have already said no thank you, essentially telling the adult to back off, and the adult does not listen they should be wary of that person.

Tenny did what she was suppose to do and though I am sad she lost out on some fun playtime while she sat figuring out how to handle the situation, I’m glad I got to see her use her internal safety button and make the choice she thought was best. Strong looks good on Little Ladies…

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Living Outside

Living outside with the kids for a week has been pretty epic. There is no “down time” when you live outside (and have a pretty intense phobia of bears coming into your tent like I do). While spending some time in Flagstaff we hiked Humphrey’s and little Tru rocked it! Little Man hiked just about 5 miles (its 10 in total) and napped on my back some as well. This guy can be stubborn (and super loud!) but really just wants to be one of the big kids. From the hike he ended up with BOTH his big toenails purple and a blister under one of them. This guy can be quite the trooper! Currently we are kicking it around Colorado and having some smaller adventures.  Soon we will head up some 14ers and see how tired we can make this Momma!

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Grumpy 3-Year-Old Hiking

Thought I would mix things up and actually show you how our adventures go! A last minute decision to head north and hike a little. Five hours on our feet for this short one with some creek time mixed in, five Littles and 2 dogs in tow. I’m dying with the lack of good kids packs, we are trying to make something work  but it’s turning into Tajh and Tea both wearing adult packs. I wore the Anton Vest by Ultimate Direction so I could wear Tru when he needed it. It worked out alright but it not the fix I’m going to need so this summer, I need to be able to carry my own water and wear Tru… Working on it….

 

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5 kids. 1 Mommy. 1 Big Peak. Humphreys.

I don’t like to compare my kids to other peoples, I get it, they are all unique and special in their own way… But mine are pretty badass!

Tenny is 4. She is adorable, funny, a pain in the ass, and full of energy.  She loves running but gymnastics is definitely her thing. This tiny little body is packed with muscle…. but she is only 4…

Most of the time when we hike she gets worn, because wearing two babies is apparently my thing

Spending time in colorado she spent a lot of time on her feet. The largest hike being nearly 4 miles with just under 3,000 of elevation gain (Island Lake). After hiking up, she slept on my back majority of the way down. Although she is clearly tough, the idea of taking a 4-year-old on an all day hike (oh yeah and 4 other children) alone is somewhat frightening. Apparently I like watching my life flash before my eyes…

When +1 said he had work to do in Flagstaff I said “great we will join you! I want to take the kids up Humphreys myself”. I’m pretty sure to anyone that just sounds stupid. 5 kids, age 11-3, almost 5 miles  and over 3,000 feet of climbing, sound like a good time?

They were all thrilled to be woken up early.

They were all thrilled to be woken up early.

Getting ready for an all day trek with everyone is stressful in itself. We rolled up the the parking lot and they all ran off to play. I did my best to round them up for sunscreen and to throw some packs on the big ones. Tenny was stoked to hike and took off in a sprint, which resulted in a potty break before we could even hit the trees “I have to pee now Mommy!” She almost got off the trail…

And we are off!

And we are off!

 

The first half hour she ran, a lot. Girl was excited to be on her own two feet. By an hour in it was snack time, eat and hike peeps we gotta keep moving.

Just keep moving.

Just keep moving… in American Apparel leggings of course.

*Note- I do not have a lot of pictures. My phone is super ghetto and the battery does not last long anymore. Even on airplane mode trying to save the battery for as long as possibly, I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to get a picture at the top if I wasn’t careful. Sorry…

So we snacked every half an hour or so and they kept moving. They love to play together while hiking and their was some sort of Pokemon/horse game going on. I was happy they didn’t need me at this point as Tru was in the worst mood ever! My Little hiking buddy needed a nap and was not having it for some reason.. ugh… there may have been threats of bear attacks if he continued to scream which did cause them to subside enough for him to fall asleep for a while. Pokemon/horse continued on.

I missed a turn. I know I suck. So we scrambled up. Teagan continued to question me and all I responded was “up”. We trudged on with Tajh behind Tenny to keep her from sliding down. Eventually we found the trail, hit the saddle, and into the rocks larger then Tenny.

Up!

Up!

“Tajh just push her butt up” I commanded after watching him try and have her step on his hand, which took forever. “This is awkward…” because he is 11 and everything is awkward.  At no point have we rested at all, I knew we didn’t have time in the day for that. We did though move off the trail if anyone was coming toward us. One of these times Tenny took the opportunity to lay down on a large rock “I just want to go to bed Mommy”, “Yes hunny, me too, lets go”.

So sleepy...

So sleepy…

She picked a nice view.

She picked a nice view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On we went. If was windy and cold up top and holding hands was necessary to help the Little Lady up the steps larger then she. No one was complaining, other then about being cold. I sent the Bigs ahead as soon as we saw the summit, and not gonna lie, I got pretty darn excited hiking up with Tenny.

Up go the Big's

Up go the Bigs

 

5 hours and 5 minutes after starting Tenny summited Humphreys Peak.

My Littles.

My Littles.

Second nap of the day for this guy.

Second nap of the day for this guy.

Snacks

Snacks

 

Rest

Rest

 

Snacks

Snacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sat and she ate her peanut butter cup (yup just one). The Big’s and I discussed letting her take a nap, but at this point it was pretty late. After a 30 minute rest we started down the mountain again. They discussed how heading straight down the scree would be much fast “see mommy then we just head through the trees to the car”. Sigh… That’s a no.

Having left without our sandwiches we had only snacks all day, everyone was starving. We daydreamed about pizza, all of us, and hiked. The horse game came back (no pokemon this time) and Tenny fell, “That was (insert horses name)’s fault. I’m ok”.  Although none of them ever had imaginary friends, they really commit when playing in the mountains.

We finished with only pizza on our minds, 4 1/2 hours after leaving the summit (down is hard when you are super short). Tenny was asleep within 2 minutes of driving but woke in time to eat. They probably all passed right out at bedtime you assume? Of course not!  They would not go to sleep! Does anything exhaust my Littles? I’ve yet to find it! When asked what he favorite part of the day was Tenny responded “seeing the top”, yup, that’s my girl. All my Littles continue to amazing me. I’m one proud Momma.

All 5 kids took in 3,850 calories over the nearly 10 hour day.

 

 

Categories: Adventures with Littles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Island Lake? Psh my 4-year-old can do that.

Did someone say epic? Oh yeah, that’s how we roll. A journey with 5 kids into the unknown? Yes please. Even better, let someone tell me there is “lots of snow up there” and apparently I decide it’s an even better idea. With +1 at the lead I strapped Tru on my back and headed to Island Lake.

Now we have done part of this journey before. Last year we drove to the parking lot at the end of South Mineral campground and headed up Ice Lake trail. To head to Island Lake you take a turn at some point, that’s all I knew. Last year I was in shape, this year I haven’t done anything in a nearly a month, I knew this was going to hurt, at least a little.

Now let’s remember, little Tenny is 4. I had NO clue how long this hike was going to be, but I knew from the start she was going to make it on her own 2 feet.

Off we go!

Off we go!

The first hour was a nice hike. Upness was there, but everyone was moving pretty well with Tenny moving at “4-year-old who randomly gets boosts of energy to catch her siblings” pace. River crossings were met with helping hands from siblings, and Tru took his first nap of the day. I’m pretty sure this kid only likes hiking for the naps!

First river crossing. They got larger!

First river crossing. They got larger!

See, larger.

See, larger.

I get by with a little help from my siblings.

I get by with a little help from my siblings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I figured snack after an hour and then maybe another within the next half hour, they had other plans. These kids were hungry! So they ate and hiked and Little Miss Tenny got a second wind, even if it only lasted a little while.

Snack break turned into birdwatching time.

Snack break turned into birdwatching time.

Upness

Upness

"Mommy van!" -Tru

“Mommy van!” -Tru

Now about snow, I don’t like it. I am not a fan of being cold. So we hit some snow fields, and some more, and some sketchier ones. I spent a lot of time asking the kids to watch their feet and asking (re-asking) +1 if it was safe.

More snow.

More snow.

Snow

Snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still snow.

Still snow, and Tenny!

Tenny does not like having cold and which did lead to some freak outs EVERY time she fell…which was a lot. Luckily +1 did help her through some of the extra crazy spots. And then we saw it:

 

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The amazing blue of the water could been seen through the ice layer, which the kids promptly began throwing rocks at. What kid doesn’t want to watch ice break? We had lunch, threw more rocks, and laid our shoes and socks out to dry. And then got attacked by marmots-

 

I can confidently say the best playground for children is a giant frozen lake over 12,000 feet in the sky. The only way to live.

 

Ice Breaking.

Ice Breaking.

More Ice Breaking.

More Ice Breaking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock throwing,

Rock throwing,

Time to leave.

The snow fields on the way drown were beyond sketchy. Sadly my phone died (then came back to life further down the mountain) so I wasn’t able to get any of the epic shots on +1 skiing on his feet down crazy snow fields at 12,000 feet or my Littles getting cold butts as they sledding (sans sled) down. We will have to head back and make it happen.

Drinking from waterfalls "best water ever!"

Drinking from waterfalls “best water ever!”

"Mommy next time lets bring no water and just fill in the waterfalls" Good plan kids... good plan.

“Mommy next time lets bring no water and just fill in the waterfalls” Good plan kids… good plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tenny napped on my back (girl deserved the break!) , Tru on +1’s (so thankful to have another adult for this trek) and we all made is safely back down. In case you are keeping track, My 4-YEAR-OLD hiked for 3 1/2 hours over 4 miles up with nearly 3,000 elevation gain. Yup, she is bad ass. All in all it was nearly an 8 hour day and so worth it! If only for the marmot eating Tay’s pee off the ground story…

 

Dirty shoes picture requested by Tay.

Dirty shoes picture requested by Tay.

and some others.

and some others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And let me say, my Little people who have been fighting and struggling to be friends the last few months were AMAZING the entire 8 hours. Helpful to one another and kinder then I could ever ask for. Thank you nature!

Oh yes, and my adorable pollen nose little buddy. Best hiking friend ever! Anytime I fall and give a "shit" under my breath I'm met with "ok mommy?". Love him!

Oh yes, and my adorable pollen nose little buddy. Best hiking friend ever! Anytime I fall and give a “shit” under my breath I’m met with “ok mommy?”. Love him!

Categories: Adventures with Littles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Holding on to trust

I have always been a firm believer that My Littles should have an adult in their life they can tell anything to and know they will not be judged. Someone that will keep their secrets if that is what they need. Someone to guide them on the right path, someone I too can trust. I never thought my children would choose me for this job…

On a hike the other day I wore Tru while the others marched along, Tea holding Tenny’s hand on the steep downhills. We chatted as usual and the kids began sharing some worries they had. I took a deep breath and thought very hard before I responded, even for me this was a bit much. It was eye-opening to me how much they talk to each other. They shared with me that they had talked about this very thing at the park a couple of days prior. I had wondered what they were doing, not playing just walking in a little gang together around the perimeter. Apparently they were sharing all the little spy work they had done with and discussing their feelings. As a Mother wanting my children to have a super tight bond, I was proud. Now that they were allowing me in on their little secret, I was honored.

Sister Love

Sister Love

He always gets excited when we are going on a hike and falls asleep within minutes… apparently we aren't very exciting!

He always gets excited when we are going on a hike and falls asleep within minutes… apparently we aren’t very exciting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So they told me what they knew, their feelings, their worries, and asked me to keep their secret. It is not something harmful to anyone else, something that could easily be avoided if people in their lives made an effort, but I still felt uneasy as I made the promise. I will not tell on you. I still feel uneasy, but I can not lose their trust. If I tell, they will know, and then I will not get the chance to be a part of their little gang any longer. Their counseling sessions with each other will become a secret from me, and I can not have that. Maybe that’s wrong of me? Maybe I’m suppose to “be a parent” and not a friend? Maybe I’m making the biggest mistake every and I’m going to pay for it later…

But I honestly don’t care…

I have a secret that I’m not telling! My Littles have a pretty awesome club and I am excited to be a part of it!

My Gang

My Gang

The hike went on, we wandered with no real direction or plan, and it was perfect. I’m really digging not coming up with a plan even for my own runs. Choosing left or right, up or down, going with the flow and allowing the day to create itself. I find myself dreading the days we have things to do and longing for the ones we can get lost in. The no agenda days of the summer have been missing far too long…

 

 

Categories: My world as a Single Mom of 5 kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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