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Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

I don’t typically advocate hitchhiking. So we introduced our method of returning to our car at the trailhead now 50K to the south with a disclaimer. Don’t hitchhike, children. Except when you’ve just been backpacking for days and you’re with your parents.

Figuring our family of four would not get picked up together, we split up. Dad & daughter vs. son & mom – let’s see who gets back to the car first. The daughter & dad duo got a ride out of the trail parking lot with some day hikers who had decided to change their starting point and agreed to take them back down the road.

Noah and I started walking from the hike parking lot towards the main road, and in a few minutes I heard a rumble behind us. I turned around and stuck out my thumb. The van pulled over, and we clambered in next to the couple’s dog. They were only going as far as the reservation, but could drop us at the intersection of the main road out of town, and were very sociable all the while.

That ride left us next to the tourist info office (note the whale behind Noah – though it had seen better days, the whale’s tail was not quite connected to the body anymore). We spent a half hour thumbing passing cars with no luck. I turned to Noah and suggested he smile some and look more adoptable. Then an SUV pulled over and it was a father & son duo we’d seen on the trail. Yahoo!

We were grateful they stopped and got to compare notes about our experiences on the trail. After awhile, we looked out to see the other half of our family on the roadside with thumbs out. They looked so darn cute I couldn’t believe someone hadn’t stopped for them. So we piled them into the backseat with Noah & I.  We were dropped at the trailhead turnoff, gave sincere thanks to our driver, and walked to our car.

Despite all of the dire warnings about break-ins at the trailhead, the car was untouched. We happily headed on to a grocery store where we got what looked good (fresh fruit & veggies, sandwiches, chocolate milk), and debriefed our family hitchhiking.

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While I’m an advocate of family adventuring, and the longer the better, I am having to adjust to the fact that my teen would rather do shorter family trips. Our planned 10-day family trip became a week long segment, and then finally a 5-day reality. Apparently two 5-day trips or a 5-day and two 2-3 day trips are preferable.

Wanting to be a flexible parent, I’m willing to try this experiment in shorter adventures.  So it will be kayaking with my daughter and another mother-daughter pair one week, a bike trip without the kids the next week, and then the 5-day backpacking adventure. Feels like I’ve joined a Trip of the Week Club.

Guess that’s honing other important aspects of our adventuring: independence, flexibility, and balance, for example.

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While the Seven Natural Wonders of the World is probably a well argued list, my daughter discovered sevennaturalwonders.org‘s list this week. She was surprised and delighted to discover she has experienced two of the seven: the Grand Canyon (USA) and the volcano Paricutín (Mexico).

I say “experienced” because we didn’t just take a look, we hiked them for hours and days, got dirty with their rocky dust, and marveled from many angles because we were involved for many hours.

Oohing and ahing outdoors together is an aspect of family adventuring you can experience almost anywhere if you look and listen. Try your neighborhood and region for easier access, as there are many wonders beyond the supposed Seven. In fact, the organization has sublists by continent as well.

What do they name as the Seven Natural Wonders of the World? In addition to the Grand Canyon and Paricutín, they cite the Aurora Borealis, Victoria Falls, the Great Barrier Reef, Mount Everest, and the harbor of Rio de Janeiro. My daughter thought our family ought to try for the Aurora Borealis next.

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Making Tracks

I’m working on an article on scat and tracks, and I find it is affecting how I see the world.

I like to think of myself as a noticer of details, and hope I am passing that along to my children. But I hadn’t really thought that much about how the world looks from the point of view of other animals in it. The tracks remind us they pass by, but they don’t tell the whole story. If I were a real tracker, I’d have a sense of the when and why of a passing animal, but I’m not.

So I’ll concentrate on identifying the scat and tracks for those I share the area with, and otherwise simply muse about who went by and what they were up to. And then I’ll hope to add those thoughts to conversations with my kids, so they too can identify more than those tracks in this photo.

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The Well Filmed Trip

P8300746Once upon a time, my kids journaled when we went adventuring. We have notebooks of their words and drawings on our shelves, and I love how those can take us back to a trip as the kids experienced it. Nowadays, my son is completely into filmmaking, so it is camera and tripod, not pencil and paper, that travel with us.

On our last weekend-long backpacking trip, his equally into filmmaking friend came along. This led to the rest of us feeling rather well documented, as the boys each had a camera. And they spent a great deal of time with one filming, and the other calling out director notes.

This backpacking trip, on the heels of our 12-day bicycling trip which also included the son’s video camera, are getting me used to adventuring with a film crew. I suppose I need to modify our packing lists now, to include his video equipment. Or maybe I don’t. I doubt he’ll ever forget to pack it.

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P8040586 While on our recent bicycle adventure, we stopped by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s totem pole carving workshop.

We braked on the downhill into Blyn and scanned the beautiful tribal buildings for the House of Myths, which some friends from the area had told us about. Then we parked our bikes and lurked in the House of Myths’ doorway until we saw a welcome sign encouraging people to come in, look around at the totem poles in process, and watch the carvers.

The day we were there two carvers were at work, and when one took a phone call, the other chatted with us about the incredible art all around us. He talked about how the colors were traditionally made, how each one-of-a-kind pole is made from a single tree, and how the story and design process works. We were amazed.

P8040584You never know what a day will bring when you’re adventuring self-propelled. Sometimes we read about what lies ahead, or hear something intriguing from other folks, and plan to stop at a particular destination. Other times, we just stumble upon interesting places and stop, even if it is on a downhill, to look and learn.

Make sure to allow for experiences that weren’t on the itinerary. Sometimes they become highlights.

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The Five Ferry Tour

P8030576When we awoke in the tent on the first morning of our 12-day bicyling trip, Tom listened to the radio a little and heard that the Keystone ferry was not running. Cancelled until further notice due to a mechanical problem. And we had planned to be on it in a couple hours.

We did a morning hike instead, finally heading over Deception Pass bridge and on south, arriving at the ferry 5ish. And found it was running just fine.

All of our other ferries on the tour departed as scheduled, and no problem.P8130681 We ferried across international waters to get to and from Vancouver Island. We had a two-ferry day to get from Vancouver Island to Lopez Island. And we got quick at tying down our bikes on the car deck and scampering up the stairs to watch from the passenger areas.

The five ferry tour allowed us to vary our trip (not just bicycling each day), visit friends, and complete a circle tour with a water assist.

Any ferry destinations in your area? Consider including them on your itinerary.

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