Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Fall Hike with Nine Kids

What's more fun than a regular hike? Why, take nine kids with! Fortunately we had five adults too.

Last weekend we decided to go high up on the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive to see the fall colors. Our first stop was Mather Overlook, where the kids delighted in running all over.

A sprinkling of snow on the mountain made it look quite different than the previous week. After the kids had run out some of their energy and sufficient photos were taken, it was time to head higher up the road.

The road up the mountain starts in Baker, NV at 5,300 feet elevation. About 5.5 miles later, the Scenic Drive starts at about 6,500 feet elevation and then ascends to over 10,000 feet elevation in 12 miles.

That means you gain about a mile in elevation in about a half hour. It is an amazing drive!

Almost near the top of the road we had a good view of the Wheeler Peak cirque, which holds Nevada's only glacier. Wheeler Peak is on the right, Jeff Davis Peak on the left.

We then passed the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail parking lot, which was nearly full (go summit hikers!), and went to the parking lot for the shorter trails, which also had a lot of cars in it. Then it was time to decide what to do. We decided that given we had nine kids, all six and under and one not yet walking, a trip to Stella Lake (0.9 miles away) and back would be doable with great views.

Quickly the older kids banded together and led the way. They were delighted with the snow and started making snow angels.

Of course the younger kids thought that was pretty cool and copied!

The other popular activity was an ongoing snowball fight--Ava even has some on her nose!

We trekked along at a slow but steady pace. (We averaged a mile an hour, if you were wondering.)

Snow eating was also a common sight!

I was so impressed with little Isaac, who walked almost the whole way. He did a great job!

We saw some non-native wild turkeys along the way. They look like they've been eating a lot.

And then we arrived! The kids rushed to the water and I wondered who was going to fall in. We didn't have any extra clothes, so we told the kids to be careful.

But you know how well kids listen!

After eating, we posed for some photos.

What a beautiful day!

Only a few kids got their feet wet, so that was good.
Desert Boy took off running from the lake, his cowboy hat over his hoodie.

Later he slowed down to have a snowball contest with his friends.

Even moms got into the snowball fight! (Look at how Isaac is trying to steal his mom's snowball!)

Good aim!

The kids were definitely more tired on the way back, but it was downhill. We had plenty of time for conversation.

And Desert Girl posed for a few photos on a tree bench.

At the end, some of the kids still had a little extra energy!

And then it was time to wind our way back down the mountain. (And naps for quite a few of the hikers.)

At this moment, Great Basin National Park is closed. Here are ten things (actually twenty!) to do while you're in the area, and some are outside the park.

1 comment:

jhami said...

Great photos and entertaining. Too bad we couldn't have done Strawberry Creek before the government shut down.....

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