Sunday, January 16, 2011

Out The Door In Under an Hour - Part Two of our Trekking with Two Series

By Lia Keller

I have sons 15 months apart and here is my hiking timeline from before children (B.C.), during childhood (D.C.) to the present day.

5 years B.C. - I would get a hiking itch, grab my bag, toss in a water bottle, power bar and be out of the house in about 5 minutes often with no definite destination in mind.

1 year D.C. - With one child I was doing more planning for a hike, remembering provisions for both of us, extra diapering supplies, first aid kit and bear spray.  I used the Ergo or Sherpani pack depending on the length and terrain.  I could be out the door in under 30 minutes.  I could do all my old hikes and some scrambling as well.  I just kept reminding myself I had a baby on my back!

2 years D.C. - With one little kid and an older one, hiking changed.  I had two child wearing options: big kid ergo on back and little one front sling or big kid Sherpani on the back with little one in the ergo in front.  It made for hard going on hills, but it allowed me to get out of the house and into nature.  Trekking Poles make both of these options much easier on the knees and help with balance on rough terrain.  I had to change my out the door time to 45 minutes.

Present Day - The combined weight of my kids reaches over 60 pounds and carrying them both on any strenuous hike is too much for me.  I now push or pull them.  Depending on terrain, I use the Sport Utility BOB or the bike trailer / pulk.  I always bring a carrier as inevitably someone wants to be packed if I don't bring it!  It is easy to carry one and maneuver the BOB over tree roots, small streams or up hills.

I can make my way along most trails solo with both kids- Eklutna Lake, Powerline Pass, Eagle River Nature Center, FNBP and more are doable.  It might take me a bit longer and squeezing though tight places a bit more interesting, but it is worth it to me for a little fresh air.

It is easier this winter as I have my bike trailer on skis.  My kiddos stay warmer in the pulk than those being carried.  They have blankets to keep them warm and the window closes to keep out the wind.  The skis glide to make it easier to pull them as well. 

My days of grabbing my pack and rushing out the door to do a new trail with loads of elevation gain, bush whacking and scrambling.  I am completely happy though.  It is an amazing feeling when you child wants to take a new path, wear his own back pack or ask you about the scat on a trail.  It makes all the trials worthwhile!

Some Tips

-I often plan hikes around nap time so they will snooze during a large part of the hike. 

-I have a hiking kit bag with essentials I can move to backpack, stroller or pulk without worry of forgetting an essential.

-Don't make excuses.  It is a bit harder with two kids, but I would go crazy if I didn't get out on the trails.

-Enlist help.  My mother was a sherpa this summer and packed one kid so we could do some different hikes.

-Use this time to find new trails you might have skipped over due to their easier nature.

-See what you can do.  You can  always turn back on the trail or find an alternate route. 

Give me a shout if you have any questions:

Lia Keller

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