Sunday, March 3, 2013

Our kid-friendly "backcountry" winter adventure

There are lots of great ski trails around the area but for our level of athleticism while hauling the kiddos and the kiddos tolerance for riding in the trailer in each other's spaces we are constantly looking for short-ish ski adventures, preferably with a "goal" at the end (vista, waterfall, sledding hill etc.).  While making some summer camping plans and scoping out some ski trails I came across the idea of skiing into a cabin.  Sure enough, there was a Forest Service cabin 2 miles in that was available last weekend.  We booked it and started planning out the logistics.   We ran into a small traffic jam along the way:
But were thankful for the plow to the trailhead.  Info from the Forest Service about the road was sketchy at best and they kept recommending a high-clearance, 4wd vehicle, neither of which our van is.  However, the area is pretty popular among snowmobilers and they did a good job packing everything down for us.   Catherine (and Boo of course!) were ready to go:
 Matthew started out snowshoeing for a bit:
As we hit the trailhead after lunch, he tired out quickly and jumped in the trailer.  Both kids slept the whole way which was nice, especially as it was all uphill and James kept dumping the gear sled so it was not a particularly fast trek in but it's always much faster when you don't have to stop to remind the kiddos to keep their hands to themselves.
 When we arrived Matthew was ready to go but Catherine stayed sleeping in the trailer for about another hour:
 Our little cabin in the woods:

 They maintain a woodshed so all we had to do was chop:
 View from the back:
 View from the front:
 Even though we skiied in, we brought the snowshoes along just in case.  There was a winter weather advisory for Saturday night/Sunday morning and though the bulk of the storm was to hit later Sunday (once we were back to the car/on the road, which it did) we wanted to be prepared for a dumping.  The snowshoes turned out pretty handy for changing snow conditions on the return trip and for Matthew to just galavant around the cabin:
 One of my theories about getting the kids outside is that we need to make it as fun and comfortable as possible for them so a) they don't drive me batty with whining and b) so they are excited to do these sorts of things again.  One way to get Matthew involved was that he got to pick out some special treats to have once we got to the cabin:
 It also means that we leave plenty of time for kid play in the snow instead of "progress" so we suited back up to head outside:
 For a snowball fight:
 And sledding:

After sledding we headed back to the cabin to start the woodstove and make dinner.  Kudos to one-room living pioneer families because the middle-of-the-floor woodstove is not fun with a toddler around.   Once we were warmed and fed and the kids had made all kinds of mazes and tunnels and bedding arrangements for Boo (seriously, this dog is treated as part of the family now by both kiddos), we all huddled up for a "movie" (well, 30 mins of one) on the iPad.  I'm a big fan of electronics-lite/free trips but am also willing to concede that right now our kiddos are very high energy, especially for a trip like this.  This was also a big treat for Matthew, as well as the ebooks I had downloaded for reading before bed (thanks technology for saving us some weight on that one!).   Not surprisingly the kids were up a few times in the night but Matthew did far better than Catherine, who wanted to sing and dance on the cot at 1am.  I'm not sure why I didn't bring her travel tent but next time it's a definite must as I think was just overwhelmed by it all.

The next morning we tried to get a family picture as we headed out and this was the result, which is a fairly accurate portrayal of everyone's thoughts on the ski trips:

When we skiied in, it was warm and the snow was pretty soft and slow, but as it froze overnight it was pretty fast as we left (plus the wind was at our back this time!)  However, frozen snowmobile tracks weren't the easiest for us to ski or climb when needed so we alternated gear and did some snowshoeing as well.  I also repacked the gear so that we didn't spend the whole time righting the sled:
All in all we had a great time and I definitely think we will go again, but it would be nice to go for two nights so we can enjoy a day without packing/unpacking.  Matthew has already picked out the pajamas he wants to wear next time we go camping, you know, tomorrow.   The only downside of the trail is the snowmobile traffic which is smelly and really noisy, plus their tracks are not exactly easy to ski on.  However, for a couple of newbies with young kids it was at least reassuring to know that there were people nearby to help if we got in over our heads.  I'd love to do a slightly longer trip but the snow is fleeting and by next year Matthew will be too heavy to pull but will also probably max out around 2 miles on his own so I think we've found our ideal distance for a while.  This trip was also a bit tougher than our others as normally we trade off hauling the kids so we each get to feel like we are skiing instead of trudging about half the time.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Five on Friday

1.  Look at these winter white legs out enjoying the sunshine at the dino park.  Spring has FINALLY sprung! These boys went from winter di...