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[at-l] kids on the trail



Re: Kids on the Trail 
Check out Cindy Ross's 1995 book on hiking with children.  She and her
husband take their kids out every year for 400-500 miles on the Continental
Divide Trail.  They use llamas to carry gear, since they started when the
kids were 1 and 2 years old. (Those diapers were bulky.) The kids are now
about 4 and 5, and they can all cover about 10 miles per day.  She says that
with young kids, you need to stop often for longish periods of time.  I.e.
40 minutes of hiking followed by a 40 minute break.  But their kids
obviously love it.  

I have heard of an 8 year old girl who thruhiked the AT with her father (in
the Rodale book I think), and last year there was a 10 year old boy who
tried with his mother (they went home in Virginia).  Besides Cindy's kids,
the youngest backpacker I have met was a 5 year old girl in ARizona out on a
12+ mile, 6000' climb (each way), 3 day trip (2 days hiking, one day at camp
with dayhikes).  She had a hard time, especially with the heavy underbrush
which hit her at face level, but was a good sport about it. Although she
arrived at camp exhausted, within 10 minutes she was racing around.     It
takes a lot of building up though.   Her mother said that she started her as
soon as she could walk.  The girl carried her clothes and a little food and
water only.  Mom carried everything else.

Best suggestion is to try it a little at a time, building up to 5 miles,
then up to 10 or so, and see how she does.  Long distance hiking is not for
everyone.  It takes a lot of discipline, and a lot of imagination to keep
entertained when day after day after day all you do is hike.  A lot of
adults get tired or bored or tired of being tired all the time.  Kids take
even more entertaining.

Happy new year.
Ginny O.
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