Experiences, anecdotes, tips, how-tos, hiking, nature, motherhood, memories.

Adventures in Camping with Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Importance of Water and Snacks When Hiking

The top of Mt. Franey Trail
From Peggy’s Cove, where our daughter learned not to dunk her new camera into the salt water while climbing on the rocks—too late, unfortunately—to Cape Breton Highlands, it was a Canadian camping vacation of firsts.  First trip where we ate delicious, if not tiny, fillets of fresh fish for dinner.  First trip where we over-hiked the children on an exhausting trail. 

At Cape Breton Highlands National Park, we took a loop trail.  We usually hiked loops for variety of scenery and positive proof that we’d end up in the same place after beginning, the parking lot where the van was.  It’s kilometers in Canada, not miles.  Like I’ve said before in my Camping with Kids blog posts, it’s very important to understand length and challenge levels before hiking a particular trail.  We know this.  You know this.  But sometimes mistakes happen and you need to be prepared for them.

We misunderstood the Mt. Franey Trailwith its steep climbs and switchbacks clinging to the wall of the valley.  In our case, the sweeping climb came first, the sharper descent came last.

We learned only afterwards that it was 7.4 km [4.6 mi], a challenging Level 4 difficulty.  It took us about six hours to hike this trail as we stopped frequently for snacks and drinks. 

This is the tip to remember when realizing that you’re on a lengthy trail, stop often, drink and snack often.  You should always hike with lots of water and nutritious, salt replacing snacks like nuts and pretzels.  We love a challenge, but time length requires replenishment.

At the close of the day after our long adventure, I attempted to congratulate the family from the comfort of our padded bunks.

            “Cape Breton is called the highlands for a reason,” I started tentatively, remembering the sweeping views from the top.

            The children were pretty much comatose.  My husband turned his head, but I think that was all he could manage.

“Weren’t the mountain streams beautiful, tumbling from crevice to rock to plateau to pool?”

Not a sound in return. 

I turned my head slightly.  Yep.  They were all in the camper.  I tried again.

“Remember how we stuck our feet into the crystal clear stream?  Gosh, it was icy-cold and bathed in sunlight.  You guys climbed on the boulders.”  Because it was at the beginning of the hike, but I left that part out.

I listened closely.  Good.  They’re still breathing.

“The sun shimmered through the sugar maple leaves creating lace patterns on the moss when we hiked through the forest.”  Boy, you could tell I was tired; still a smile creased my lips at the images my mind created.  “Anyway,” I finished, “Dad and I are very proud of you.”

Finally I received a response, a pelting of dirty balled up socks.  Lucky them…I didn’t have the energy to get mine off. 

6 comments:

  1. You would have probably had to drag me physically up that hill. Loved the post

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  2. Thank you, Marie, for reading my Camping with Kids blog post. I practically had to drag the children toward the end of the loop trail. Thanks again for leaving a comment. Please stop by Camping with Kids again.

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  3. Yes, it is confusing when going from km to miles. That is impressive that you were able to get the children to walk that far. That is quite a distance for little legs. Your family is amazing.

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  4. Thank you, Michelle, for visiting my Camping with Kids blog. It was a tedious hike to be sure. We were VERY proud of our children for finishing it. The scenery was beautiful, but we were exhausted. Thanks again for visiting.

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  5. I need lots of liquids when hiking, although I don't tend to eat much. My 10 year old grandson is continually drinking and eating on hikes, which is good. Did you see any moose on the Mt Franey Trail Victoria Marie as it mentions them in the link?

    Bill
    http://www.walksintameside.co.uk

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  6. As a matter of fact we did, Bill. Luckily he was wallowing in the cool mud and didn't get up to bother with us, but a hush fell over my normally talkative children.

    Children need lots of calories to keep them going on a hike. Usually my husband and I drink more than we eat. It's imperative to bring enough liquids when hiking, especially in summer.

    Thank you so much, Bill, for visiting my Camping with Kids blog. Please stop by again.

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