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Posts Tagged ‘family hiking’

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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Like most of nature Adventure With Alex slumbered through most of the winter. That isn’t due to a lack of wanting to get Alex out in the snow, but my guiding schedule in the winter isn’t too conductive to finding time to take Alex hiking (or blog about it). We did get a few ski days in and I documented his very first ski day here. While it has officially been Spring for a few weeks the 1.5 feet of snow in my yard could convince you otherwise. In search of some snow free trails I decided to head an hour south and around Lake Winnipesaukee to climb the popular Mt. Major.

At just under 1,800 feet and just less than 3 miles round trip this would be a perfect break-in to see how much heavier my now 2 and a half year-old was. We had to run a few errands in town so didn’t arrive at the trailhead in Alton, NH until noon. Alex had napped a bit on the drive and seemed excited to go hiking again, but within just a few minutes on the trail he started in with “Wanna go home Daddy”. For a moment I thought that might be best given the trail was anything but snow free. It was actually water-ice for the most part, and I was without any form of traction. However it was softening quickly in the 50-60 degree sunny day, and my beloved Five Ten Camp Four approach shoes were actually getting pretty decent traction. I distracted Alex by creating a find the next blaze game, which he took to quickly and loved pointing out the next blue blaze he could find on each tree.

Hunting blue blazes

Hunting blue blazes

It was quite bright out, and I had been smart enough to bring Alex’s sunglasses when we left the house and dumb enough to forget them in the car, so I soon passed my sunglasses back to an appreciative toddler following me closely up the mountain.

Sunglasses a bit oversized, but that’s the style right?

Sunglasses a bit oversized, but that’s the style right?

We took the direct route up to the summit, and while not steep by my standards I realized I usually like trekking poles with Alex on my back. I’ll also be honest and admit I forgot a few other items on this 1st toddler hike I would recommend to never go with out, mainly my first aid kit and headlamp. Luckily neither would be needed, but I noticed there were sections of the trail with no cell coverage… my work issued PLB (Personal Locator Beacon, SPOT  Gen 3)  was also sitting safely at home… well, reflections like this make us more prepared for the next hike!

We reached the summit in just over an hour, having only passed a young couple just off the trail right before we hit the summit.

Lake Winnipesaukee still frozen with a white Mount Washington in the clear distance

Lake Winnipesaukee still frozen with a white Mount Washington in the clear distance

We grabbed some shelter from the light winds in the old stone foundation that used to house a shelter for hikers and snacked and explored.

Alex loves his organic fruit/veggie push pouches

Alex loves his organic fruit/veggie push pouches

Osprey Poco Premium Child Carrier Season 3!

Osprey Poco Premium Child Carrier Season 3!

iPhone 5s Panorama

iPhone 5s Panorama

Bluebird

Bluebird

After about 15 minutes we started back down, Alex under his own power holding my hand. He loved hopping down the rocky slabs and sloshing though some spring corn snow. 10 minutes down the trail we decided it was time for him to hop back aboard and we made our way down the Boulder Trail back to the car.  Much of the upper part of this trail was south facing and snow free, but as we dropped and turned east then north the trail was a running stream bed of melt off. It wasn’t too hard keeping the feet relatively dry by linking exposed roots and rocks and we reached the parking lot just 2 hours and 2o minutes from our starting time.

Mt Major, Our Route

Mt Major, Our Route

I’m very excited for this Spring/Summer/Fall season with my toddler son. The fact that he can communicate desires like food & water, warmer or colder, will make hiking so much easier. I’m also hoping to build up a network of other rock climbing dads & moms who have toddlers so we can spend more time at the crag. Finally, I am most excited to be able to represent a couple great companies that have supported me with gear.

Friendly Foot and Piggyback Rider have provided me with some samples of their products and I am really stoked on being an ambassador for them. I extensively tested Friendly Foot throughout the winter in my backcountry ski boots and ice climbing boots, and the results have been very positive. Alex is just reaching the age to be able to use the innovative Piggyback Rider so expect a detailed review on that early this season once we have some miles “on the bar”.

So the winter slumber is over. It is pretty easy to spend time outside with a toddler now that the mercury is above freezing and I have a bit more spare time to plan adventurers. I hope you enjoyed this trip report and follow us this season, I’m sure it will be a busy one! See you in the mountains!

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