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[at-l] long distance hiking with young teenagers


I'm hoping to attempt a thru-hike of the AT sometime in the next 2-5 years.
The one thing that would tempt me to push the date toward the 5 year mark
would be the possibility of walking the trail with my older daughter.
She'll be nine years old at the end of January, and 14 in January of 2002.

Heaven knows what Jessie will be like when she hits adolescence, but right
now she looks like a natural hiker.  She is very self directed, a introvert
(like her Dad), and walks with an odd sort of grace that takes her
effortlessly over rocks and tree roots.

If she wanted to do it, I think that walking the trail would be a marvelous
"contradiction" to the negative messages that young girls get far too many
of.  It can't do anything but good to take a kid out of junior high and put
her in a place where everyone sweats and no one takes a bath.  It would have
to help with peer pressure too.  And, of course, it would be a pretty
special way to spend some time with Dad!

That's the fantasy.  Reality is likely to be different.

I'm wondering if anyone on this list has done long distance hiking with a
13-14 year old girl or boy.  Did it work out well?  Was it a disaster?  How
much experience did he/she/you have?  Should I be thinking of younger or
older ages for the hike?


-- Jim

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