Sunday, October 21, 2012

First Backpack Trip

Before we had kids we used to backpack every summer in the Wind River Mountains.  We mostly explored the west side of the range because we lived in Green River at the time.  Since having kids and moving to Lander ten years ago we've only been backpacking once. It happened to be when I was pregnant with Ben and Laura was three years old.  Scott carried all of our gear - and I mean ALL of it: tent, sleeping bags, food, clothes, stove, etc. I carried Laura (and technically Ben) and my fishing rod.  We went into Upper Silas Lake which is only about a three mile hike.  The only thing that I can remember about the trip is that the mosquitoes were horrendous.  But Laura was a trooper and didn't complain a bit.

In the past few years we've been doing some horsepacking to get the kids and ourselves into the backcountry, but we've been waiting for the day when the kids were old enough to backpack.  This past September we finally did it!  And actually, it felt so much simpler and freer than packing the horses in.

Here are some pictures of the first official family backpacking trip, taken in September (in the Absaroka Mountains).  I was worried about Ben, age 7, walking the five miles to our favorite 'secret camping spot.' As it turned out, he did wonderfully.  Ben and I were at the back of the pack and we talked the entire time, or rather, HE talked the entire time.   

The kids were so tough.  We crossed the stream in the pouring rain and hiked through bogs in our quest to find the 'perfect' campsite.  Then it rained all night.  Scott and I had planned to sleep outside, and not planning on the rain, we all had to cram into our two person tent!  The wet and smelly dog slept outside.

Our puppy Daisy was never clean or dry in our 3 days of backpacking.  In fact she found every single item (think elk poop, cow poop, etc.) that is disgusting and vile within one mile radius of our camp and either ate it or rolled in it.

 Downtime at camp, Scott reading the Hobbit.

Last cast.

Dinner - one of the things we love about the spot is the great fishing.

I felt like the kids were old enough to go down to the river to play on their own. I had them take the bear spray canister and instructed Laura on how to use it.
 (This area is rife with grizzly bears and wolves.)

Waiting out a hail storm.

 Stream crossing #1 with full pack. Logistically it was a challenge for Scott and I to pack everything for four people since all that Laura and Ben carried was their clothes and snacks.
L and B loved climbing this crumbly volcanic rock.

Laura art.

Life doesn't get much better, running through a mountain meadow on a beautiful September day.  And having this country all to yourself.