Monday, August 25, 2014

young family reunion: backpacking to hyas lake

(a rare treat: text by bryan!)

We learned something very important during Ski Lesson Zero (see this post for details regarding that particular disaster): When introducing the girls to a new form of adventure, optimize purely based on the desire to repeat the activity.

Key elements of success for the girls' first backpacking excursion included:

1. The hike - It was a short two miles over gently rolling terrain. The trail crossed streams and creeks over a dozen times. When energy or focus flagged, spirits were easily revived with "I think I hear another stream!"
2. The footwear - As an adult, I went to great lengths to keep my feet dry. The kids, however, relished their freedom to walk in the water.
3. The lake - Hyas Lake has several shallow, sandy regions that made for excellent play areas.
4. The food - Ramen was the perfect trifecta: the kids love it, Emily refuses to serve it at home citing nutritional concerns, and it's easy to make in a JetBoil. Stove s'mores were popular as well.
5. The weather proof tents - Overnight, we experienced heavy rain for several hours. Fortunately, we all stayed dry, and the rain ended up being only a benefit since it muffled potential bear sounds.
6. The bear spray - Speaking of bears...the girls were somehow convinced that a bear would definitely come to our campsite sometime in the night. In fact, every hour or so, one of them would pop up in a sleep induced delirium and ask several bear related questions before going back to sleep. Most fears were assuaged by the can of bear spray in our tent as well as the bear spray I left with Uncle Matto (he solo'd the night like a boss in the awesome $10 tarp shelter I built him).
7. The sleeping bags - I wanted to get a couple of blue sleeping bags for the kids, thinking we'd be able to get more use out of them and pass them along to the boys in future years. After showing them to the girls, however, they were all ho-hum about it and convinced me to show them other colors. It just so happened that there was a lipstick pink version. Any wild guesses which color they chose? On the plus side, the girls were totally bought into the trip as soon as the pink sleeping bags arrived.
8. The company - Ski Lesson Zero put Emily in a 1:2 adult to child ratio, and zone defense is definitely sub-optimal in any new, adventurous situation. Uncle Matto and Uncle Owen evened out the ratio to 1:1 for this trip. In addition, the girls prefer to look mature in front of younger cousins, so Danton's presence provided good incentive to be tough, as well as good company for the journey.

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