14 days on the road, 7 days camping, 2 nights at a backcountry chalet, 50+ miles of hiking, 1 boat ride, 1 flat tire, 4 Grizzly Bears, 1 Black Bear, numerous Mountain Goats, 2 Big Horn Sheep and an enormous amount of huckleberry ice cream. Who says you can’t do all that with a 16 month old? (besides the guy at the chalet, but more on that below) We did and relished every moment of it. Granted it was difficult at times but sharing the joy of the outdoors with our son was worth it.
We just got back from Glacier National Park and what a beautiful place it is. I know that our son will not remember the hikes, the animals, the yummy huckleberry ice cream or the trip for that matter, but that doesn’t stop us from sharing it all with him. We take him on these adventures not just for him but for ourselves, too. We find great happiness in showing him new places and what they have to offer. You can’t see a mountain goat in Moab or a grizzly bear.
We did some amazing hiking while in Glacier and one hike in particular was long and grueling. It was 13.4 miles round trip with 3300ft of elevation gain. Not so bad for a day hike if you’re only carrying 10-15lbs on your back. Makes for a long 8hr day when it is 40+lbs. This hike takes you to the Sperry Chalet, where most people hike up or ride horseback to stay the night. Not us, we made it a day trip and 3/4 of the way up we were wondering what we were thinking. We aren’t one’s to start a hike and then halfway turn around and head back. Many, many, many times I wanted to, but I also wanted to complete the hike so we kept on trucking. Sometimes at a snails pace but we kept our legs moving. Jackson did great during the hike. We let him out for lunch, let him hike a bit of the trail, he ran around the grounds of the chalet and then babbled practically the whole way back. That is one hike we can check off the list and not have to do again. Ha!
The stay at the Granite Park Chalet was wonderful. It is a 7.5 mile hike in on the Highline Trail with 1400ft of elevation gain (computed by hubby’s watch) and follows the Garden Wall. This time there was definitely more than 40lbs on my back and coming at the end of the trip and all the hiking we had already done my legs were sore and tired. We had friends join us on this portion of the trip and they were great company. As we hiked along the Highline Trail we were road blocked by a mountain goat, greeted by other mountain goats, crossed numerous waterfalls and streams and passed a few dozen friendly hikers. We got kudos from hikers passing by seeing Jackson on my back. The comments went something like this – “Great, start’em early”, “Go Mama”, “That’s great”, “Good for you” and on and on. It is so nice to hear encouragement and positive thoughts since it is still uncommon to see young ones on the trail.
The stay at the chalet was a treat. Rustic living quarters but that’s ok. It was all about the experience and experiencing it with our son. Although one guest of the chalet didn’t think so. He was over heard saying that it was “unsafe” to have our son there. Not sure what he meant by that but it sure got under our skin for the rest of our stay. We are experience outdoorsman with safety and medical backgrounds and we would never do anything to put our son in harms way. If he was referring to the bears, believe me, we were prepared. The chalet was a wonderful ending to our trip.
So, the next time you doubt whether you can take your tyke on a hike, a camping trip or even a road trip know that you CAN. There will be a little more planning involved, a bit more gear needed and you might have to go at a slower pace but just think of the fun you will be sharing with your tyke and the memories you will be making.
Share with us on Facebook your summer adventures along with pictures. Let’s see your tykes in action.