It’s not an exaggeration: backpacking with kids is hard. Really hard. First, you have to carry almost all of their gear and food in addition to your own. Add a few pieces of firewood and it becomes a staggering load. You can’t walk very fast either. And no matter how soon you want to be done with shouldering the heavy load to camp, you have to stop every 5 minutes to eat a snack, to look at bugs, to release the pole that got jammed between the boards of the boardwalk, to tell the kids to stop swinging their walking sticks at each other, to pee, to put a band-aid on a blister, to eat more snacks, to go back and retrieve the thing we left the last time we stopped, etc.
I will never forget, however, the look of surprise on my nephew’s face when he realized that we were hiking “in the deep dark woods of the Pacific Northwest” where Sasquatch lives. I will never forget the look of glee on my niece’s face when she jumped up on a buoy swing for the first time and arced out over the sandy beach. I will never forget sharing our breakfast nook in the woods with a family of deer. I will never forget the ranger who patiently strolled down the beach with the kids, listening to their stories. I will never forget singing all of the verses of “The Ants Go Marching” as we did our own marching through “halfway meadows.”
And I will never forget how much fun it is to share my love of the outdoors with the littlest members of our family.