Hiking with Kids: It CAN be Done! {Ghost Falls}

Our local school has a marvelous schedule. Every single Friday is a short day! Typically there isn't any homework assigned that day either. Suddenly we have a few extra free hours. I love getting a head start on our weekend!

I made a rule at the beginning of the school year that we would only have play dates on Fridays. My reasoning was that between homework, dinner prep, and soccer there just wasn't time any other day of the week. At least that's what I tell the kids. That's the truth, but the deeper truth is...I hate play dates. Yeah, yeah. I'm a rotten mom and I'll get into my reasons another day.

Today I wanted to write about what we've been doing on Fridays instead of play dates. The last couple of weeks I've been putting on my Brave Mommy cape and taking all four of my children (ages 7 years to 20 months) hiking. And as with most things that I've tried for the first time in my thirties...I wonder why the heck I didn't do this sooner.

I expected this to be so frustrating that all the fun would be sucked right out of it. If precedence showed me anything it was that my kids' legs are permanently broken. Try walking home from school with them sometime. Cue whining, crying, resistance, power struggle, drama, fighting, etc. etc. etc. It's a nightmare. And that's only half a mile.

So why on earth would I think it's a good idea to take the invalids up a mountain? Well...I have this vision. One day we shall be a healthy, happy, hiking family. Everyone will carry their own pack. We'll climb deep into the mountains helping each other up and down. Stories and laughter will be swapped while we soak in the beauties of nature. Choruses of "Kumbayah" and "Amazing Grace" will reverberate around a glowing campfire. And my children will be strong, capable, clever, interesting, well-rounded individuals. For the family that hikes together, stays together.

If I want that dream...I've got to do more than sleep. I'm planting the seeds now.

We started with Ghost Falls, in Corner Canyon near Draper, Utah. The trail takes you right by a couple of neighborhoods. It's odd to be hiking by someone's backyard. Plus I have to fight back a few pangs of jealousy--(I wish my backyard was a mountain.)--but about half a mile in you're clear of the houses. This must be a great place to mountain bike because we saw tons of bikers. Honestly, I don't get it. It looks painful and unpleasant. But to each their own.

We had hiked barely 15 minutes before the kids were asking to rest and eat. I had braced for a struggle of a "hike". Luckily, I had a friend who's an avid hiker (with her kids no less) that suggested we bring lots of snacks and plan for lots of breaks. Thanks to her my expectations were low. They did need to rest fairly often and they wanted to eat something at every stop. I packed jerky, nuts, fruit leather, Gatorade, and water. The kids carried their own little backpacks which made it extra fun for them. They collected acorns, rocks, and bright colored leaves to take home.

This is what I kept in my backpack.

I had printed off a map to bring along, but due to my inability to read a map...we ended up taking the long way in and out. When all was said and done, we hiked well over 4 miles!! I was so proud of my kids! On the way up I kept asking if they wanted to stop and turn back, but they wanted to make it all the way to Ghost Falls and kept pressing on. Coming down, you could tell their energy level was waning. I had to entice them with chocolate to make it to the very end. But they did make it!

Ghost Falls

Four miles was a little long for my kids, especially for their first time. I'm afraid it killed their enthusiasm for hiking a bit, but I promised them we wouldn't go that far again. Still, I just couldn't help being so proud of them for accomplishing something like that! Especially my four year old who I expected to tank out early on. She kept right up with the rest of them with a smile on her face and a song on her lips. Gosh! I have great kids!

Mountain maidens

And now for more pictures!

Baby Cee's favorite part? All that dirt!

"I want to be a rock climber when I grow up!" ~Dee (7 yo)

Acorns! All over the place! So cute!

WE DID IT! Dee kept asking if we were going to be on the front page of the newspaper since we were the first ones to hike this mountain. He makes me laugh.

"I love to see the temple!"
My favorite picture of the day. We hiked up past the Draper LDS temple. What a beautiful view!
So...hiking with kids. It can happen. Just bring lots of snacks, water, and patience. Plan for a chocolate stop at the end. And learn how to read a map. More of our hiking adventures later...


Myya said...

That is just too awesome. It is so amazing what they can accomplish huh! I have to admit I put things off & then when I finally give in & do whatever it is I keep expectations low, really low & gosh darn every single time my kiddos amaze me.

Aziza calls acorns "lucky nuts"... when we recently went to my brother in law's hazelnut orchard she screamed "MOOOOM look at all these lucky nuts, LUCKY NUTS EVERYWHERE!!!" haaa cracked me up!

MiMi said...

Dude, you ARE brave!
Laughing at Aziza's "lucky nuts." LOL
Anyway,I can't hike. Well...maybe I can...but I don't want to. I'm such a lazy arse.
We have 1/2 days every Wednesday, but duh!, they should make it Friday!

Debra said...

You are so brave and awesome! I am always terrified that she is going to jump off a cliff.... I know, probably irrational. :)

city said...

thanks for sharing...

Piggyback Rider said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Piggyback Rider said...

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