I took my daughter Brooke (3 yrs. old) on her first backpacking trip. I hope it becomes a tradition. We parked along the AT in PA near Bake Oven Knob, and headed south for ~1/4 miles(does word that really need an "s" at the end?).
She did a great job hiking in and carried her pack the whole way (it only took 2 fruit roll-ups and a lollipop...for much needed energy).
We got to camp in good time, and set up my 18 year old traditional tent (heavens help me if my little girl got home complaining about cold or bugs).
The Bushbuddy worked great, cooking two dinners with only a small pile of twigs. My daughter had a great time helping me collect twigs. I was happy that I had thought ahead to stow some firewood under the tent fly since it poured most of the evening.
Dinner was Ramen noodles and instant mashed potatoes.
We settled into the tent around 8:30 pm and
- played "rock, scissors, paper"
- played "I declare a thumbwar"
- played "I spy something..."
- played "hide & seek" (fun in a 2-person tent)
- read "Goodnight Moon"
- called Mommy to say goodnight
- listened to songs on my MP3 player
- listened to the cacophony of tree frogs outside
- talked about closing our eyes, not talking, and for heavens sake's not kicking Daddy anymore!
- oh yeah...and had one last nature call before bedtime. Why can't girls aim better?!? Glad I brought extra clothes.
The rain overnight was replaced with a dense fog, and occasional drizzle. We stayed warm and dry in my olde 2-person Clip Flashlight tent from Sierra Designs. Since I had to carry 2 sleeping bags, 2 pads, 2 kids books, a blankie, etc, I was reminded what it was like to carry a 25 lb base weight (even for just 1/4 mile on a nice flat trail).
Brooke stayed dry while I broke camp the next morning.
The hike out was a little tougher for my little girl with the wet rocks and mud. I did some front-packing with her since we had run out of that critical energy supplying candy.
We'll see if she wants to go each year, or if she gets distracted by other interests. Either way, I hope that she learns to enjoy some aspects of the outdoors.