Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hiking with Ten Kids

 Friday was fall break, which meant Desert Boy didn't have school. I took the day off work, and figured with the good weather we should make the most of it. That meant inviting some friends to join us on a hike. We ended up with ten kids. (I didn't count them till the end--I guess maybe I shouldn't admit that!) We also had a few adults, thank goodness!

We decided to take the South Fork Baker trail and try to do the loop around to the Baker Creek trail. According to my book (page 70), the hike is 3.1 miles long with a 950 foot elevation change. A little ambitious for ten kids? Maybe. But we had lots of snacks. And lots of energy. And we could always turn back.

We set some ground rules: the kids had to be able to see an adult, no sticks taller than you are, and no whining.
 One of the biggest things to decide was the leader. The kids took turns, and even the little ones had a chance. Desert Girl thought it was cool to lead the pack.

 We still had some fall colors, but many of the aspen leaves had already fallen off the trees. We even found some frost, which was beautiful on the fallen leaves. (I didn't manage a photo, thinking I would take one later!) The hike reminded me of one we did last year with friends, where we picnicked in a nearby meadow.
 This time we made the second bridge over the South Fork our first snacking stop. Wow, you should have seen how fast the kids whipped out their snacks. They were ready to chow down! We told them to fuel up, because we had a steep hill to conquer just ahead.

 Before we did that, the boys had to try their best to get wet. The adults were quite surprised that no one fell in. We were glad, though, we still had a ways to go.

 Here we are, heading up the steep trail! I was so impressed with Maria, who was carrying 11-month old Izaak. She hasn't done many mountain hikes, but she did great.

 I made Desert Girl hike. She was slow, but she could be persuaded with some extra snacks and cajoling. When she was in a good mood, she let her tongue hang out. I hope that isn't a habit that sticks!

As we hiked, we saw some icicles hanging from a tree. Brrr! The nights must be getting cold. It was perfect hiking weather for us, though, not too hot or cold. Lack of heat also meant that we didn't have to carry as much water, which was a real plus. 

Before too long (none of us had watches, so we didn't know how long!) we made it up to the big meadow, which is about the half-way point of the loop.

 Izaak was free! Snacks and lunch came out! Everyone ate and drank. And then the games began.

 The kids found a shady spot for a fort.

 I sent them on a mission to collect a leaf from the bush. They ran to it--so I knew they had plenty of energy left!

 They also ran back!

 Well, most of them. Ryleigh decided she wanted a turn in the backpack!

 Izaak crawled all over, exercising his little muscles.

Before long, though, we heard the cry, "Charlie got wet!" His boots, socks, and bottoms of his pants were wet, but it was warm, so he didn't mind. I wondered who else would get wet.

It didn't take long to find out. Soon I heard wails from Desert Boy. He had ended up in a deep spot and was soaked from his chest down. We wrung out his clothes and put them back on to dry. I hadn't brought any extra clothes, but I figured he would be okay. In just a moment, we found he'd be more than alright, as Ernesto was wearing a double layer and shared his extra clothes. We all decided that Ernesto was the perfect hiking partner, as he would literally give you the shirt off his back.

 The adults hanging out in the meadow. Have I said what a nice day it was?

 Eventually it was time to go. Ava caught a grasshopper.
 She doesn't let her cast slow her down at all!

 We reentered the woods, went up a slight rise, and then descended through the forest to the bridge at Baker Creek, where once again the kids did their best to get wet.

 I didn't have much time to take photos, as Desert Girl had fallen and declared she needed a bandaid. Our rule is "No blood, no bandaids" (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!). She had an itsy, bitsy scratch with the teeniest amount of blood, so I gave her a bandaid. And then another to make her happy.

 The big kids hiked without complaint. They followed the rules well. The little kids all fell asleep on the way down. It was quite the trek for them!

 Desert Girl woke up for the end and insisted that her pant leg be rolled up so her bandaids would have plenty of air. She was grouchy, but she did it.

We made it back to the trailhead about four hours after we started. It was a great hike! And I think all the kids slept well that night.


jhami said...

Sorry I had to work on such a great day. Looks like fun and your pictures are great. I especially love the last group photo :)

I Am Woody said...

Great day!! I just hope you started with 10 kids since that is what you ended with - haha!

Patrick Fitzgibbon said...

So cute! Looks like the kids enjoyed their sojourn on the wilds. Hope everything went well and without a hitch? I really enjoy looking at kids happy in their activities. And you must be one heck of a superwoman handling all of them at once. Cheers!

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