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Sharing Nature’s Splendor Hiking Is More Fun With Your Kids
T his July, I’m just returning from my family’s annual backpacking trip. Every year we travel to the Eastern Sierras, get outside, strap on our packs, and hike into a campsite for a night or two along with some longtime family friends. Unfortunately, the trip we had planned to Yosemite this year was canceled because it was still inaccessible due to this year’s large snowfall. So, we had to switch to Plan B: a trip in the local mountains. It’s a five-year-old tradition that’s spawned out of my close friends’ and my desire to do more out in the great outdoors. My buddy, an experienced mountaineer, hiker, and climber, is from Colorado, where all that stuff is right in their backyard. I’ve always been a hobbyist when it comes to hiking and backpacking, and after a while, we started to throw around the idea of taking a longer hike together. But with our careers and families, it just never worked out — that is, until our kids were old enough that we could bring them along. Really, it was an inspired idea: Why not make it an entire “dads and kids” trip? We started out taking little trips over to their place on Mammoth Mountain, hiking here and there with our young children. The tradition snowballed quickly after that, until we were spending a long weekend every summer, hiking in our gear to spend a couple nights along the Saddlebag Lakes.
from the ground and held it in front of his face, grimacing. As he crunched it down like a champion, we all waited with bated breath. “This tastes like cardboard,” he declared. Of course, there was no way the other kids would be outdone — they all ate their bugs in turn, chasing them with candy. We, as responsible adults, didn’t condone this activity, but I did film it on my phone for posterity. This year’s trip was altered due to the amount of snow that is still up in Tuolumne Meadows, which really bummed us out. But having the ability to summit San Gorgonio — most of the kids’ first summit — was a fantastic experience. The beauty of Yosemite is completely and utterly mind blowing. San Gorgonio has a different beauty and was a great alternative for us this year. Hopefully we can make it to Yosemite and climb Half Dome next year! I used to do a fair bit of backpacking, but I have to say, it’s more fun with your kids. While I’m up there in the mountain air, looking over the jagged granite hills where there is no cell reception, I’m more grateful than ever to have them by my side. - Julian Manrique
The kids always have a blast. They’re young, but they’re tough and equipped with no shortage of interesting ideas. I remember once, the kids got it in their heads that it was a good idea to eat a live grasshopper ... don’t ask me why. My son plucked one
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