One of the first items on our mountain agenda: Take the kids hiking. But of course, not just any hike would do. The ever-adventurous hubs had his sights set on an alpine lake perched at nearly 12,000 feet. Way too steep for the kids to walk on their own, so we loaded them up in backpacks. Yep. Mommy and Daddy were pack mules.
Side note: Comfortable child carrier packs make a world of difference. Thanks to having worked for outdoor magazines, we've tested several, and in the photo we're wearing our two favorites. Kris is wearing a Deuter Kid Comfort. I'm wearing a Macpac Vamoose. (We were not paid to endorse these packs. We just really love how comfortable and functional they are.)
We hiked around some old mining ruins and abandoned log cabins, which the kids thought were pretty neat. And we crossed a couple of snow fields. It's always fun to see snow in July! At one point, the trail climbs so steeply that we used an old mill cable as a hand rail. I was thankful that our little daredevils were secure on our backs and not trying to scramble up the rocks themselves.
The payoff for a tough climb? Lunch, served by the lake at 11,800 feet.
After exploring an old mine car and looking for fish, birds and marmots, we descended the trail. The steady sway of our footfall lulled the kids to sleep in their packs.
Confession: I love running into other hikers on the trail and hearing their praise when they see we're hiking with young children. A few hikers were suffering their way up the trail as we were descending all-smiles, and they said "wow! you guys are tough!" It's not so much that I like to brag, but I like busting myths like "you can't hike tough trails when you have kids." or "you can't go backpacking with young children."
Of course you can. You just have to work a little harder for it...and have more patience, which in turn makes you appreciate the destination all the more.