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Posts Tagged ‘hiking 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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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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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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Yesterday the whole family got out for a morning hike and our good friends and neighbor’s, the Ouellette’s, joined us. Alex was excited to have his little buddy Declan along for the ride, along with two canine companions, Rocky and Apollo. We hit the trail at about 10:30am. Two weeks ago Alex and I had explored some of the trails at Purity Spring Resort on the west side of Eaton Road, climbing up to the scenic Bald Ledge. Today we opted for some of the more mellow trails on the east side which would bring us through most of the NH Audubon Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary. After crossing a small footbridge at the outlet of Purity Lake and close to the Purity Lake Dam we skirted the east side of the lake for a short distance before moving through some rich wetlands.

Some beautiful pine forest

Some beautiful pine forest

An inflatable rock climbing wall in the swimming area of the resort (guests only)

An inflatable rock climbing wall in the swimming area of the resort (guests only)

Cruzing

Cruzing

Not long after this shot we heard a rather large animal down a small drainage to our right. As much as Randy and I scanned we couldn’t spot it. My guess was we had startled a moose. This wetland area is perfect for them, and while they can make a racket when being roused from a comfy spot they can just as quickly move away as stealthy as a ninja. Ninja moose, LOL, I like it. Other than the small flying biting type of wildlife we didn’t see anything else except for occasional beaver dams.

Alex has mastered drinking from the CamelBak

Alex has mastered drinking from the CamelBak

About halfway around the loop

About halfway around the loop

Size-able Beaver Dam

Size-able Beaver Dam

Small footbridge near the end

Small footbridge near the end

Great company

Great company

The Route

The Route

It was a leisurely 90 minute 1.9 mile loop when all was said and done. We grabbed some shade at a picnic table near “The Mill” and let the little guys stretch their legs. Declan seemed to enjoy his first backpack ride and Alex made the whole loop without needing to get out of the pack. Lots of guests were cooling off in the private swimming area, but we were ready to head home for some lunch and a dip at our local beach. This family owned resort is a little gem and I still want to explore it more so expect to hear about it again at some point.

Web articles coming up this week:

Bugs & Infants: How to stay outside in the thickest of bug conditions

If you enjoyed please Follow & Share! (The “Follow” Link is back at the top right of the website)

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Seeing a break from the recent rain appear we made for the 4.1 mile loop hike a few miles from our house. I hiked this trail counter-clockwise years ago before Alex, and made a couple rock climbing trips to the cliffs last Fall, so I decided to hit the loop with Alex clockwise today. We parked in the White Ledge Campground off Route 16 at about 10:20am. A small parking lot towards the back is signed for “picnicker’s and non-camper’s”. Alex seemed excited to be out and even hiked for himself a 100 yards before asking “up”.

Alex felt quite a bit heavier than he did a few weeks ago on our last hike, but it was probably the 100 oz of water I was toting that made the difference. He’s just over 25 lbs now, and the additional 15 pounds of pack-weight, gear & water, had me climbing at a snails pace for the first hour.

Here we go

Here we go

Slowly climbing up to White's Ledge

Slowly climbing up to White’s Ledge

After about 40 minutes of slow climbing Alex seemed to loose interest judging by the occasional snores I would hear behind my head. Things started to level off a bit as we neared the top.

Nice stretch of trail...

Nice stretch of trail…

That was a lot of work huh buddy?

That was a lot of work huh buddy?

Alex woke as I tried to get him back on my back so we decided to break for some leg-stretching time and a snack. He was pretty excited to see some familiar letters on the ground. “MEIA”. I gave it to him.

Some leg stretching back restin' time...

Some leg stretching back restin’ time…

We saddled back up and began a gentle descent on the opposite side of the loop.

Interesting view of the elusive "Crag Y"

Interesting view of the elusive “Crag Y”

A slick bit of trail

A slick bit of trail

Greatest trail shoes ever!

Greatest trail shoes ever! REVIEW FORTHCOMING!

2 hours in Alex was starting to whine a bit but that was easily quelled with a dozen verse’s of “A Bear Went over the Mountain”, and coincidentally that bear saw every person Alex knows by name. We reached the car just after 1pm.

Red Line Complete!

Red Line Complete!

This hike was 4.1 miles, which is coincidentally the same distance I’ll be hiking to summit Mount Washington this July with Alex for the annual Seek The Peak event. If you would like to support my climb and the Mount Washington Observatory please check out my sponsorship page here. Even a $5 donation would help me reach my goal!

Thanks for reading, lots of product reviews in the works, stay tuned!

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