Many people have an adventurous heart. Adventure comes in all persuasions and can vary widely from person to person. You have adrenaline junkies, outdoorsmen, sportsmen, sailers, travelers, and the list goes on and on.
Now I have to admit, I fall under the outdoor adventure category.
Having been raised in Rural America the outdoors were my playground. I love the mountains, trees, bad weather, and wildlife.
As My wife and I began to have children, we were told by several well meaning, and apparently experienced individuals that our adventures were over and the kids would now suck up all of our time, energy, money, and attention. They were only half right! Our adventures are far from over. And yes they do suck up all of our time, energy, money, and attention, BUT THATS THE BEST PART!
How do you have kids and still enjoy your flavor of adventure? After all, kids are life sucking leaches and are best behaved when kept locked up with video games and TV right?… Wrong!
The answer is simple. Take them with you!
For years I have wanted to do the coveted Havasupai Falls backpacking trip. This year we accomplished that adventure with our 5 kids ages 14, 12, 9, 7, and 6! My brother came along and brought his wife and 1 YEAR OLD baby!
We spent weeks planning our adventure and preparing for it.
Havasupai requires reservations, so we had the spots booked 4 months ahead of time!
Our prep looked like this:
- Walk. Walk to the park. Walk to the store. Walk all over town. Walk, Walk, Walk!
- Hike. We did several mini backpacking trips (loaded), on local hiking trails. At least once a week for the last 4 weeks. Usually 2-5 miles. The longest prep hike we did was only 6 miles.
- Wear the shoes we would be hiking in EVERYWHERE, and every day.
- Modify, modify, modify. We modified EVERY TIME we did a practice hike. Different shoes, different clothing options, different socks, different backpacks, less weight, more weight, listening to music, not listening to music, trekking poles, water bottles vs. hydration bladders, hiking boots vs trail running shoes vs sandals, and the list goes on. You have to figure out what works for you and your situation if you want to be successful.
Gear list for our Havasupai backpacking trip:
- 2 Gregory and 3 North Face internal frame backpacks, and 2 Camelback hydration packs for the youngest two.
- Shoes. Solomon XT Wings 3 (Nate), Solomon Speed Cross (Holly), Nike tennis shoes (Toby, Tianne, Kirsten, Zoe), Swiss Army boots (Collin)
- Clothes. Yes we wore them. T-shirts, shorts or pants, and swim suit.
- Water shoes for playing in the river and walking around camp. Keens, Solomon, and Teva.
- A 1 liter water bottle each, and I also carried a full 10 liter bladder for refills along the trail.
- Backpacking Stove not a camping stove. 1 can of fuel.
- Food. 3 days of Oatmeal for breakfast. 3 days of PB & J. 2 nights of backpacker freeze dried meals. Snacks included trail mix, summer sausage, string cheese, jolly ranchers, and beef jerky.
- Accessories included few bandanas, sunglasses, sun block lotion, 7 head lamps, iPhones and iPods for pics and vids.
- 7 self inflating REI sleeping pads
- 7 sleeping bags
- 4 of us brought a camp pillow. The others used their jacket for a pillow.
- 7 lightweight jackets
- Some brought a change of clothes and/or pajamas. They had to carry their own. I personally took a change of socks, swim shorts, and thats it.
- A 10 X 12′ nylon tarp, and 100 ft of para cord. Just in case.
- A first aid kit
Our kids were a big source of motivation for other backpackers on the trail. When they saw 6, and 7 year olds it seemed to put a smile on their faces, give them a boost of energy, and give them hope, that “if a 6 year old can do this, so can I!”
Our kids did the 10 mile hike down in 5 1/2 hours and out in just 5 hours!