Only slightly overstating, because anything with kids is an expedition.
This is the place where I journal our family activities in the outdoors. Could be anything between cuty to epic, anywhere between the backcountry and the city, any fun from super to challenging (read aweful). This is a way to remember and appreciate evenmore all these great moments spent together in nature... feel free to follow and get inspired!
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We are coming back from a 4 days trip in the woods, somewhere close to the US Border (actually we could hike to it if we wanted to!). A couple months ago my sister in law and her brother (my husband) went there and in their memory, the cabin was close enough to the trailhead to bring the kids. Of course, why not! Well turned out the walk in was actually 6km ... not the 1.5 km they remembered! Quite a difference. Just so you can picture our caravan: 2 grand-parents, 4 parents, 2 eight years old, 2 three-almost-four years old, and one 9 months old.
Little did we plan that we would get there late afternoon instead of noon as we wanted to. Here we are, its passed 4pm and we realized the length. In the last couple weeks, rain and warmer temperature had made the gravel road usable... so we took advantage of that! Thanks to a volunteer (my husband the hero), we dropped the little ones and the heavier packs directly at the cabin and he drove back to the trailhead before walking back by himself in the dark. We couldn't keep the car there cause 30cm of snow were on the way and the very next morning that same road would be closed. Still, it was a weird start!
But the next days would be just perfect. The cabin had a very efficient wood stove, we had warmth, food, drinks, and gear to keep everyone fed, busy, and comfortable for the length of our stay. The kids played in and out and in and out all day. Uncles, aunties, mammy and pappy rotating on the playing outside shift. My 3 yo could hike to the outhouse by herself and back... even at night...!! We did something right with that one haha.
Two groups were formed for longer hikes while the others stayed back with the kids. The 4 parents managed to get away an early morning to summit Mont Gosford, the trail was magical, with tons of fresh snow and a crispy white mountain top with no view but nonetheless beautiful.
The hardest part of the adventure was coming back. Even if we had treated ourselves with a ski-doo service in and out for the heavier packs (food and bottles of wine mainly), we still had our sleeping bags, clothing and hiking necessities to carry out for everyone. The set of 8yo was not used to hike such distances... 6km on snow is not easy, and the set of 3yo walked a good 100m in total: our sled and snowshoes expedition back became quickly a challenge! We had not well prepared ourselves for the journey back, we could seriously have thought it through a little bit more as the girls got cold early on, in the sleds. This would have been easily solved by adding an insulated pad at the bottom of the sled and left a down sleeping back out for them to snuggle in it... why didn't we think about it? I guess we were overconfident about how long it would take us to hike out and underrated the cold when you are not moving. COME ON, we have been living and experiencing the outdoors out here in the winter forever and we still have not learned that... Anyways, the way back turned out to be a bit over 2 hours. Thanks to extra down jackets, a few hot pads and very motivated parents and grandparents, we made it out safely. The 8yo also got a free ski-doo ride in the last couple kilometers from a passing staff: I am pretty sure that was the highlight of their weekend, one thing for sure is that it was the coolest end to this adventure that they could have hoped for, judging by their enthusiasm!
The happiest hiker award goes to: baby Claire, who sang and slept all the way back, observing over her uncle's shoulders in the carrier backpack, and who enjoyed every second of our stay with a smile.