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Take the kids along
Top-10 tips for a magical backcountry
family adventure
¦ Discovering the backcountry
through the eyes of a child can be
magical. But finding that magical
place greatly depends on mom and
dad’s preparedness – from having
a series of fun activities planned
well before the trip to having the
right snacks readily available while
on the trail.
Since moving to Calgary five years ago,
we’ve taken our daughter Roisin and her
friends on numerous backcountry trips.
An important part of our planning process
is adding extra time to each trip (taking a
few more days than suggested in the guide
book), and letting go of any expectations
such as scrambling the alluring peaks along
the trail or taking detours for a spectacular
view. When traveling with children through
the backcountry it’s best to keep it simple
yet exciting and full of diversity.
Some of our memorable family
adventures include a five-day trip up to
the spectacular Berg Lake behind Mount
Robson when Roisin was nine years old,
and later that fall a three-day trip to
Stanley Mitchell Hut. The following year,
we took Roisin on her first memorable
glacier traverse from Bow Hut to Peyto
Hut, and on a five-day backcountry trip to
Baker Lake (behind Lake Louise Mountain
Resort), which included a scramble up
Brachiopod Mountain (elevation 2,650 1. PLan aCCORdInGLY 2. PROTECT YOUR SPInE
metres) covered in tiny coral fossils, and Choosing the right trip for your family Taking kids into the backcountry
plenty of time to splash around in Baker is probably the most important step. You means parents are carrying a heavier
Lake’s icy waters. have to consider your children’s abilities load, be it a toddler in a back-carrier,
I’m always amazed by how much stamina and personalities. Gently ease your piggy backs for the six-year-old every
children truly have. They do get tired from children into these new experiences so 10 minutes, or extra food, gear and
long uphill walks, but within less than an they can gain confidence and walk away stuff for the kids. Make sure you have
hour after reaching camp, they bounce with positive memories – a real bonus for a well-designed pack that fits your
back and run around laughing, exploring getting them on board for the next trip. back perfectly and sits on your waist
their new surroundings and loving every Consider staying at a hut; they’re always a accordingly – and get those abs in shape
second of their freedom. great hit with kids. before heading out.
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