Posts Tagged With: Kids Hiking

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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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.

 

 

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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:

 

photo-12

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

Mount Massive

Mount Massive is huge! Well the landmass under it that is. Mt. Massive is the third highest mountain in the lower 48 (behind nearby Elbert and Mt. Whitney in California), though it is the second largest mountain in North America behind only Denali, in Alaska, nearly 6,000’ higher. We rolled into Leadville and needed to decide our plan of attack. We only had one day and it came down to Massive or Elbert. Although Elbert is higher (by a couple feet) Massive seemed to be calling. As we looked at our possible routes, the trailheads were only about 2 ½ miles apart, I wanted to go up one side, down the other, and have Seth run and grab the van when we were done so we would get to see both sides of the mountain. Perfect!

We decided to take the shorter route up, just four miles but all the climbing in it, sounds like a good plan right? The drive from the lower trailhead was a little crazy but luckily we drive a super van. We got up to the trailhead in the afternoon, made dinner while the little people played in the creek, and went to bed in the van.

 

Sometimes you cook for 7 people on a JetBoil, no big deal.

Sometimes you cook for 7 people on a JetBoil, no big deal.

 

For some reason we usually are late starting up the mountain. This is aside from once when I made banana bread the night before Redcloud. I believe we started up around 9, Tenny on my back, Tru on Seth’s, and a pack on both of our fronts. The beginning of the hike was super pretty in the trees but quickly we were exposed on a boulder field, and for me things became interesting. The big three were far out in front and Seth and I kept having to ask them to wait for us to keep up. Here’s the secret: THEY WERE PLAYING! They had just spent a ton of time with an awesome new family/ little friend in Silverton. She loves horses and she really sparked our kids’ interest in them. They all began reading and learning as much as they could about horses, to the point that the entire way up and down Massive they were “riding” their horses. Let me tell you, this was the best motivator ever for Tay. Usually he bonks 1-1 ½ hours in. That was not the case this time! They were all in front the entire way, and although that was amazing, it was also frustrating for me.

IMG_1158

A ride on Momma's back! She ended up loosing that Buff... my favorite one.. book!

A ride on Momma’s back! She ended up loosing that Buff… my favorite one.. book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This intense climb with a pack and a 30lb toddler on my back, plus the added pressure of my oldest three killing me on the climb, was stressful for me. About half way up Tenny was in my ear asking repeatedly when she could walk. I finally said “now” and put her on the ground. I secretly thought she would be tired in 10 minutes and back on my back for a nap and I would have won. I mean, we are climbing over rocks, what three year old can last?! Apparently mine when she wants to spite me! She marched on and we lost Seth and the big three… ummm… where are we?

Fast people!

Fast people!

The "Slow Ladies"

The “Slow Ladies”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used my poles to help direct her to the next boulder and to help make sure she didn’t fall, but at a couple of points I lost the trail. With no Seth in sight we ladies were on our own. To be honest, I didn’t trust myself to find the way. At one point a marmot sat in our way on the trail refusing to move. We stood back staring at it hoping it would scurry away but it wasn’t willing! I threw a rock in its direction and it stayed. Tenny asked “does it want to bite us Mommy?” I think it did! I threw another rock and off it went. Thank goodness! They also have white marmots up there which Tenny thought was pretty amazing.

A friend!

A friend!

Not a friend...

Not a friend…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a while Tenny and I turned a corner to see all the big ones plus Tru sitting on the trail, alone. Ummm??? Apparently Seth had headed up to try and see if the weather was going to turn. The weather on 14’ers can change quickly and be really dangerous. It was starting to look a little gloomy but being that we were on the west side we could not see the weather coming from the east. We all sat and had a little snack until Seth came down and informed up he thought we could make it. Perfect! Onward and upward!

The crazy gang!

The crazy gang!

 

 

Along the way we saw a mountain goat, which was pretty awesome for everyone. We all happily trudged along eventually hitting the summit for some awesome views! Little Tenny had just hiked almost 2,000 vertical feet and as she said “Mommy this is real rock climbing!” This little girl is amazing! We only spend a few minutes on the summit since the weather far to the North of us was looking a little crazy and the lightning off in the distance did not make me feel too stellar. Hiking down was harder for Tenny, but we made it down to the trail to the lower summit with her tripping the entire way. I could tell she was tired so I put her back on my back (with her pleading to stay on the ground) and within minutes she was asleep. Rough life.

 

All those fast people ahead of us!

All those fast people ahead of us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boys on the summit!

Boys on the summit!

 

Girls on the summit!

Girls on the summit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The way down the children continued to play happily and Seth and I tried to keep the pace up, afraid of it becoming dark and of the weather turning on us.  Tenny woke up and got back off my back to “run 50 miles”. The trail on this side is pretty tame so I didn’t mind too much but we had to encourage her to keep up. Eventually we ran into my +1 (stalker!) and he joined us for the rest of the way down. At some point +1, Tenny, and I were pretty far behind and I had a mommy intuition to throw her on my back, which she again did not agree with. We picked up the pace and right as we hit the trailhead it began to hail, hard. My +1 drives a truck so there was no way to send everyone with him. I told Seth to take the babies and he, the babies, and my +1 went flying up the crazy road to the van.

IMG_1172 photo-44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heading down

Heading down

The big three and I were in pain. They hail was unrelenting and we ended up taking shelter under a short tree which didn’t help much (there was no lightning and the tree was the smallest in the forest, don’t judge!). Somehow Tay’s The North Face shell did not make it into his Camelbak before we started, so he was wearing my not-so-amazing jacket and I was wearing fleece. It was cold! Eventually the hail stopped and it was just rain so we stood in the middle of the parking lot waiting huddled together. This is where our talk about marriage came up (      ).

 

My +1 literally came flying down the road and I stripped the kids of jackets and threw them in his truck. It took Seth longer since he had to put the babies in their seats, so they waited for him somewhere a little warmer. Once he came, we got them all down to their underwear and in their seats in the van. No hypothermia here! Of course a short drive down the road the rain stopped and the sky was blue again. Got to keep it interesting for us!

Suckers for an awesome view! Somewhere near the top, always worth it!

Suckers for an awesome view! Somewhere near the top, always worth it!

 

What we learned:

-To be thankful for +1 showing up and the hailing waiting for us to get off the mountain

-Double check the kids’ shell is always in their Camelbak

-The babies do not like hail, at all

-Mount Massive has beautiful views!

-We eat a lot of nutrition/snacks when climbing 14’ers

 

Why we hike 14ers.

Why we hike 14ers.

Categories: Our Homeless Summer | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Handies and The Terrible No Good Very Bad Day.

Last summer, when we were visiting Silverton for a few days, we tried, and failed, to hike Handies Peak. Here is how it went from both of our perspectives.

 

We left Silverton right after breakfast. As we were driving out of town, we were relying on my quick look at a map of the area and Sabrina and Paulette’s memory of having driven to Grouse Gulch, the start of our hike up Handies, during Hardrock over a month prior. We ended up taking the wrong road out of Silverton and wasted quite a bit of time before we realized where we should have been. We got to the Grouse Gulch Trail Head around late morning.

KIds and Nature

Kids and Nature

 

As we started up the trail, a series of long switchbacks, the kids quickly started to feel the elevation and the hike. We had made it up the switchbacks and about three quarters of the way up to the American Basin-Grouse Gulch Pass when a break became absolutely necessary. Several kids were bonking hard. We stopped at a small glacial lake that had a rock outcropping to shield us from the building wind and had snacks. Nourished and rested, we headed up the rest of the way to the pass, which tops out above 13,000’, which would end up being our highest elevation for the day.

Seth and Tenny looking amazing!

Seth and Tenny looking amazing!

 

Snack time.

Snack time.

During our hike up, Sabrina’s stress fracture hadn’t seemed to inhibit her greatly. The kids were moving slowly and the lower impact of uphill travel did not seem to be affecting her too much. As we started down into American Basin, things started to turn to shit. The boys took off down into the basin and within minutes were several hundred yards in front of us. I tried to stay back with Sabrina to help, but trying to keep up and the impact of keeping her footing moving downhill produced visible winces of pain in her face. We regrouped at the bottom of the basin and started our climb up Handies, now nearly 2,000’ above us. This quickly proved to be too much. On top of this, it started to hail. Fucking great. Sabrina sat down and we all put on our rain shells. This is the point that the day turned from a poorly executed hike to a total failure.

Sabrina still feeling "OK"

Sabrina still feeling “OK”

 

From the moment I got out of the van it was a disaster. I was my usual self trying to get everything done and in the rush slipped out of the van causing some ridiculous pain in my facture area… oops. Not being willing to admit failure, I strapped Tru on my stomach and threw the pack on my back. I’ve never hiked with poles but thought possibly this could relieve some weight from my leg and gave it a go, not too gracefully. As Seth said the up hill was fine, down I was just hoping to not cause a full fracture. My careful steps still hurt and how slow I was going began to scare me more and more. At some point I knew this was going to get terrible, I just wish I had known how terrible it could get.

 

Sabrina couldn’t get back up. She was either in shock, or early hypothermia from sitting down and having her body temp plummet in the now quickly worsening wind and hail/rain. The decision was made for me to run across Cinnamon Pass to see if the route would be possible in the van. This would prevent Sabrina from having to climb back up and over the pass and down Grouse Gulch. From where we were in the basin, it was only about a mile to the American Basin Trail Head. As I ran over Cinnamon Pass, I realized that this would be a real challenge to get the van back over. I also realized that with the worsening weather, the near impossibility of getting Sabrina back over the pass which we had crossed, and the much longer trip over Cinnamon Pass than I had anticipated, I had no choice but to drive back over. I finally reached the van maybe seven miles from where I had started, and at least an hour longer than I had estimated (I had guessed the pass to be three to four miles). I got in the van, turned the key, and the bane of my existence, the gas light, flicked on with three quick chimes. My heart sank. Not only would I have to make it over Cinnamon Pass, I would have to hope like hell I didn’t run out of gas in the process. The first side of the pass was sketchy, but not too stressful in our 15-passenger van. As a tangent, our van is built on a truck chassis, but at the time, we had some pretty suspect tires for what I was trying to pull off. Since, we have put commercial-grade off-road tires on the van to help ensure we are prepared for our adventures. Anyhow, the second half of the pass is where the day became truly terrifying for me. Our 15-passenger van, though it is built on a truck chassis, and has decent ground clearance, is still a 15-passenger van. It is really long. Trying to navigate the worst hairpin turns I have ever encountered in my life, as the van is making all kinds of noises indicating that it is about to break under the stress that I am putting it through, while trying not to look off the edge of the road that drops a thousand feet to the dabin below only a few inches away from where I am maneuvering six-point turns still sends chills down my spine. Somehow, both the van and I made it down the road to the American Basin Trail Head, passing Jeepers with their jaws on the floor at the sight of what this jackass in a 15-passenger van was trying to pull off.

 

So Paulette, myself, and 6 kids sat. Paulette and I sat very close together huddling for warmth as the hail/rain continued on and off. The kids quite surprisingly and to our benefit played happily most of the time. Tru even stayed  pretty silent maybe sencing the same thing Paulette and I were feeling. The conversation with us was kept to mundane topics. As time drew on it was later discovered that we were thinking the same thing, there was no way it took this long, something terrible happened. I watched the small amount of cars leave the trailhead and the daylight slowly go away, what were we going to do? Could we hitch a ride with someone? Not knowing what the road out looked like I wondered how terrible it would be to take all the kids sans carseats out of here. At what point would we have cell phone reception again and be able to call seth, my +1, anyone for help? The thoughts stayed terrible but neither of us talked about them…

 

I parked the van below the 4WD point for the trail head access road. Both to get my feet back on solid ground and to preserve what little gas we had left. I had been gone hours longer than I had told Sabrina and Paulette that I would be at this point. As I ran the road the rest of the way to where they were waiting, the looks on their face puzzled me, at first. They started to yell “Where is the van??”. It hadn’t occurred to me that approaching on foot would scare them. It was nearly dark. I told them that the van was just down the road. I also suggested that Cinnamon Pass wasn’t the road that I would suggest for us getting back to Silverton. They agreed. At this point, I the gravity of what I had just pulled off sunk in and I almost started to cry. That was the scariest shit I have ever done.

 

Paulette and I basically freaked when he came on foot. After he described his journey we were happy to take the 4 hour drive around and we shared our fear of him being dead all around. Im pretty sure he was not the only one that cried, that day was probably the most emotional day of all of our lives. So today Handies and I have a beef. Although I may be healing from a stress fracture (undiagnosed from before the trip) I am ready to finish what we started last year. Hopefully with no Cinnamon Pass stories this time!

 

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Humphreys

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.

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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.

First step is always to strap the hoodlum on your back!

First step is always to strap the hoodlum on your back!

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.

 

Sad Tay. Just a little Bonk, nothing a little special snack can't handle!

Sad Tay. Just a little Bonk, nothing a little special snack can’t handle!

 

 

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.

Boys at the summit!

Boys at the summit!

 

 

 

Ladies at the summit!

Ladies at the summit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tajh in his element.

Tajh in his element.

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.

Finally the poor Little Littles got a break from being on our backs!

Finally the poor Little Littles got a break from being on our backs!

 

Totally worth the view!

Totally worth the view!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition:

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…

 

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Categories: Our Homeless Summer | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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