Hiking with children is fun! You travel at the speed of the slowest walker so you have lots of time to talk and be together. Everyone splits up in different groups all day and you have many opportunities just to listen to your children talk.
You can watch the kids love on and encourage each other. When Megan struggled the first day and was going sooooo sllloooowwwwlly, Mark started to make up a story about a backpacking princess. They continued making up the story for the rest of the trip and Megan did not have as much trouble keeping up.
When the hills caused problems, or someone fell and got hurt, there was always someone there to encourage them-not just mom or dad. Once we got to camp, the kids worked together to finish what needed to get done, so they could play-together. When the kids crawled into their tents, exhausted, we had to remind them to stop talking and go to sleep.
There are so many wonderful family vacations. But my favorites are those where we leave the normal, and just enjoy being a family.
P.S. Mark did not carry Megan during our hike, he wanted to see if he could carry her and both packs. Megan walked the whole trip, though Allan did carry her backpack for about 10 minutes.
We have tried to teach the children to love being outdoors and how to hike and canoe. It started early, Mark’s first overnight backpacking trip was in Swaziland when he was only a few months old. We have continued taking the kids as often as can.
During one trip in back country Glacier, Allan carried a toddler, while the 4 year old hung unto the baby carrier when she got tired. He carried most of the weight and a required bear canister while I walked behind, 3 months pregnant, singing and telling stories with our 8 year old. It was a wonderful trip, one that the kids remember and still talk about.
Each of the children have their own backpack. Megan carries an “ultralight” miniature pack that only holds her clothes and snack for the day. Everyone else carries their own sleeping bag plus clothes and snacks. We divide the remaining equipment between the packs, according to age and carrying ability.
The children learn the skills they need to hike on their own early. Allan has them all help filter water, and they all help with setting up and tearing down the tents. Andrea learned how to use the cooking stove this trip and Mark has known how to use it for years.
While we do not hike nearly as often as we would like, the kids love hiking. They look forward to our next trip and talk about the ones we have taken. Now to start planning our next trip!