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Posts Tagged ‘adventuring with kids’

Alex and I have made two trips to the Believe in Books Literacy Foundations trail network over the last month. It is an excellent area to explore if you only have an hour or two, just 10 minutes north of North Conway Village.

100 Acre Wood Trail System

100 Acre Wood Trail System

On our first excursion with our friends Kaelan & Heather we wandered around without referring to the map and basically took “Polar Path” to “Railroad Alley” and “Winnie’s Wandering”, right down to a beautiful little swimming hole on the East Branch River. The highlight for the boys was seeing a train from the Conway Scenic Railroad cross the trestle.

Don't forget to grab a map!

Don’t forget to grab a map!

Views of Cathedral Ledge in the distance

Views of Cathedral Ledge in the distance

This is where the "North Pole" is for the famed Polar Express!

This is where the “North Pole” is for the famed Polar Express!

A small reservoir

A small reservoir

Skipping rocks and exploring

Skipping rocks and exploring

Well signed trails

Well signed trails

Choo Choo

Choo Choo

On our way out another hiker told us of the “Storybook Trail”, and while we were out of time for this day I brought Alex back a week later so we could check it out. This short half mile trail has stations every 100 feet or so with the next page of a story. It makes for a fun interactive hike!

This week's book "Dragons Love Tacos"

This week’s book “Dragons Love Tacos”

This place is another great family destination in Mount Washington Valley. You should check it out!

From their website:

100 ACRE WOOD TRAIL SYSTEM
Hours: Generally 9am-4pm • Trail passes are $3 per car load for the day, An annual pass is $50 and can be purchased at the Foundation office. (The 100 Acre Wood Trail System is open when the entrance gate is open)
1/2 Mile Storybook Trail:
“Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin
TRAIL CONDITIONS: Perfect Fall Conditions!
COMMENTS: Walk, bike or run. Dogs are Welcome on a leash but please clean up after them!

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I may be a little too nonchalant about ticks as I grew up in southern Massachuttes where they are as common as Dunkin Donuts and Red Sox fans. But some things have changed. First, Lyme Disease is becoming more prevalent and spreading. Check out the interactive map from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) here and see how it has spread over 10 years! Ten years ago the White Mountains did not see any cases of Lyme disease, but as the map indicates it has reached us, so it’s time to learn how to protect yourself, and most importantly your little ones, from this disease!

Alex on Slackline

Right after taking this picture my wife spotted Alex’s first tick… can you see it?

First you should be able to recognize the Blacklegged Tick (also called the deer tick). Most transmissions are from nymph’s because they are harder to see.

ticks at different life stages

The good news is it usually takes 24-48 hours of attachment for a tick to transmit the disease! With regular full body checks (bath time/pajama time) you should not panic if you find an attached tick!

Tick season in the White Mountains is from May to September. The best defense is a 3 pronged approach. Defend your kids, defend your pets, and defend your yard. Let’s start with the first line of defense, the yard!

This is taken directly from the CDC website:

Create a Tick-Safe Zone Through Landscaping

You can make your yard less attractive to ticks depending on how you landscape. Here are some simple landscaping techniques that can help reduce tick populations:

Tick Safe Landscaping

 

  • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  • Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
  • Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible.
  • Remove any old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.

While there are pesticides that are effective at controlling tick populations we prefer the natural battle first. If you live in a very high risk area it might be worth investigating an early Spring treatment with an acaracide (tick pesticide), such as bifenthin.

Protect your pets!

Our canine and feline friends can easily transport ticks from outside to in, so during tick season there are a few things that can reduce the risk. The above yard landscaping is a great first defense. Then a quick brush and check every time your pet comes inside from playing in the yard can find ticks before they find a good hiding space to attach. Tick & flea baths and repellents will go far at reducing risk. For more info on protecting your pets check out this page on the CDC website.

Protect your yourself and your little ones!

The CDC’s first recommendation is “Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter”. This is near impossible for a family that hikes as much as we do. It just isn’t going to happen. So for us early detection is key. Remember it takes 24-48 hours of attachment for a tick to transmit the disease! I check Alex as best as possible when we get back to the car, then again at home.

While DEET is approved for babies over 2 months old we feel it is too toxic for us to feel comfortable applying it to our thumb sucking toddler but you can not argue it’s effectiveness. For this reason I use this 30% formula on myself when mosquito’s and tick’s are in abundance. For the absolute best protection I am a huge fan of Permethrin.

SAWYER PERMETHRIN INSECT REPELLANT, 24 OZ.

SAWYER PERMETHRIN INSECT REPELLANT, 24 OZ.

I’ve used this in jungles in South America and Asia, and obviously in the White Mountains. It’s 100% safe when used correctly. This is NOT FOR SKIN! It is meant to treat clothing, gear, footwear, etc. Once it dries there is zero chance of this “leeching” into your skin. I use it on my hiking shoes and pants, and Alex’s hiking shoes’s and pants. I also treated our kid carrier so when I set it down on the ground he has protection.

For information on the safeness of this product on kids (and us) check out this page from the University of Rhode Island. You can pick it up at your local Eastern Mountain Sports or online here. More information on this, and some other tips from the CDC can be found here.

Finally, when you find an embedded tick (and chances are you will at some point), know how to remove it. Improperly removing it can increase risk of infection. All you need is a pair of tweezers. Grasp as close to your skin as possible and pull straight out by slowly increasing pressure.

tweezers grasping a tick close to the skin's surfacetweezers pulling a tick away from the skin in an upward motion

Mistakes like twisting/jerking can cause some of the tick to stay in the skin. If one or both of the “pinchers” stay in do not try to dig them out. Your, or your child’s, body will naturally push them out over a few days but monitor the bite site for any signs of infection, which would require a trip to see the Doc. I would think it would go without saying but do not use a match or lighter on an embedded tick. This can cause it to regurgitate it’s meal, greatly increasing transmission and infection. Once it’s removed wash with soap and water and go back outside to play!

I hope this information helps! While Lyme disease is no joke it shouldn’t keep us from hiking and climbing in areas where ticks may be prevalent. It takes time for a tick to find a spot to embed, and much more time to transmit the disease. Twice daily checks reduces the risk of catching Lyme disease to around the odds of winning PowerBall!

Comment below if you have any suggestions or thoughts on the topic! We’d love to hear from you!

 

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Adventure With Alex has some big announcements to make for 2014 but first a look back at last year! AwA had 26 posts last year, averaging 2 a month. The busiest day of the year was July 26th with 130 views. The post that day was Alex’s first 4000 footer! Mount Washington!.

Lake in The Clouds, Mount Washington

Lake in The Clouds, Mount Washington

Top 4 runners up:

AwA joined Facebook, and quickly got 114 likes! Our email subscribers grew to 164! I’m estatic to think that sharing our adventures is encouraging other families to create some of their own adventures! Alex also had his first rock climb, and first plane trip!

Watching the development of Alex from infant to toddler has been the single most amazing thing I have ever experienced. While I’ve seen nieces and nephews transform though family visits the day to day changes are so surreal. New words and connections are made almost every day. Hysterical moments of toddler misinterpretation often result. Even the frustrating moments when his budding independence seems like in-your-face defiance… I am trying hard not to miss any of it.

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So what’s on the agenda for 2014? Well, many who know me are aware my winter guiding schedule does not allow for much free time for blogging, and sadly, getting outside with Alex. I can promise you this though, Alex will be on skis a few times this winter! Skiing as a child is my single most powerful memory and undoubtedly had profound impacts on decisions I have made in the last 20 years. I thank my parents for bravely putting me on the slopes in Tahoe, CA at the tender age of 3 and I am giddity at the prospect of someday watching my son leave me in the dust as he races down the mountain with the same youthful exuberance I still have! So look for near-future posts and gear reviews covering what you should be mindful of when skiing with a young toddler… I have been picking the brains of many who have a ton of experience, most recently a mom of 3 who’s youngest started at 19 months and is now 12 years old and a nationally recognized snowboarder.

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Also for 2014, and something I am definitely new to, is sponsorship. I’ve always liked sharing my opinion on products I use with customer’s and clients and based on the statistics I get back from my blog people like reading reviews just as much as trip reports. So to that end I’ll be adding a bit more product reviews to AwA. More than just generic reviews found online these will be detailed accounts of the advantages and disadvantages of something I would truly use. If it’s something that helps with adventuring with kids I’ll be happy to test it and share my honest opinion with my readers.

Earlier this month I posted a review for Friendly Foot, a really cool grass-roots company I stumbled across and am stoked to be supporting. But even before that, in late Fall, Piggyback Rider, a company that manufactures a very unique and interesting solution to the child carrying dilemma has added me to their list of ambassadors and sent me their Nomis model to demo.

Piggyback Rider

Piggyback Rider

Alex, at 25 months, wasn’t quite ready to use this but when the Spring hiking season arrives I expect he’ll be the perfect size and we’ll log some serious miles on this so stay tuned for that!

Over the next couple months things will be a little quiet here while my guiding season is full bore. Those interested in ice climbing and avalanche courses can follow along over at my personal guiding blog. Expect AwA to ramp up to full speed come April as the winter guiding season closes and a 2 and 1/2 half year old and his Dad get back to red-lining the White Mountain National Forest, back-packing, learning to ride the Strider Bike, swim lessons, and what ever else adventure comes our way!

See you soon!

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