Рубрика: Guest articles
Author: Miroslava Partala
Since we are all now a little lockdown and traditional in our society vacation with a child at the sea in a hotel fell away, many people, who are even far from hiking, wonder if we should go somewhere with tents as a family?
Is not it too early for a child? What to entertain, what to feed, what to take with you and what to do in case of illness?
Let me tell you a little bit about my experience. I’ve been hiking in the mountains for 18 years. With the birth of my baby 9 years ago, I had no intention of ending my hiking life. When I was 6 months pregnant I took my friends to winter Gymba, and when the baby was born the first 9 months I tried to live a new life, struggled with frequent lactastases that turned my life into a nightmare, watched how the baby was developing, and when he got his teeth, I took him to Dragobrat.
It had been a year since the trip to Gymba. We lived in a hotel, took turns on board and walked with the baby, who was already eating a full diet, and I thought that for his first trip in May he was ready. And we went to the Crimea. We went by car from Kiev with two overnight stays in Mygia near the threshold of Integral and Oleshkovskie sands. In Crimea, left the car in Simferopol and combed half of the Eastern Crimean Mountains, the baby was still on breastfeeding, but he ate meat (of course, that the blender is not taken during the campaign, so we cut into small pieces and he chewed it). Then it all went so easily that we started going camping often.
During the second trip, already in the Carpathians, I was worried that my son might suddenly get hungry, so I just stopped feeding him milk. How could I have had time to cook something on the stove when he was already whimpering and begging for food? The Maria cookies in my breast pocket saved the day. My son rode on me in a Deuter backpack carrier and I treated him to cookies until we got to the campsite. This is how I carried him in the carrier for three years, including dragging him behind me in dangerous places, hovering over cliffs in Marmarosa and descending 13 abseilers in Alaka Soter Canyon in the Crimea. We always took our faithful dog William with us.
Fate arranged it so that since the age of 4 we have been hiking together. Before my first hike with my son, I tried a solo hike and realized that it was much scarier and twice as much responsibility. But it was easy to ask for help from passing groups if anything happened, and even to hitchhike. Since then, five years we have been to different parts of the Carpathian Mountains and Turkey to the Lycian Trail, in addition, constantly driving somewhere nearby, almost anything we can go somewhere with a tent (Denesh, Korostyshev, Trakhtemirov, etc.) and for me every year is becoming easier, As it is no longer necessary to carry a huge backpack (I bought a little one and he carries at least his own things and a sleeping bag), no need to follow him on his heels and protect him from danger, he knows himself what you can do and what you can not. Now he is at a new age of exploring, when he often asks to go somewhere by himself, even on a camping trip. It’s a little scary to send him somewhere by himself, so I’m still thinking how to direct this independence into the peaceful way…
This is a great prelude, so now let’s move on to my recommendations.
The route should be carefully thought over from the safety point of view: where you can leave it, are there bluffs, rough rivers, unstable rocks (we mean Gorgany), danger of thunderstorms.
The route must be adequate to the age of the child.
Although last year we went 20 a day. But!
In addition to hiking, a child must train somewhere, as long as he lives in the city, physical fitness is important not only for adults. More often hike with him on the hills in Kiev (who lives here), for example on Bald Mountain.
Accordingly, the weather wait out in a tent, it’s tourists, moose can break into the rain on the Montenegrin Ridge, and the children clearly would not like it. And in general, look the weather in advance (I like to go during the full moon or a stable summer anticyclone).
Although I am a very big fan of mountaineering and heights, my son I keep and in the mountains above 2000 meters it has not yet taken. Let him grow up before his brain meets hypoxia for the first time.
What to take on a hike with a child
This guide is written both for those who have never tried it but would like to go hiking with kids, and for those who have absorbed the ice axe and rock hooks with their mother’s milk.
Hiking for kids is all about play and learning about the world. I’m even a little jealous of my little one, because I didn’t have that as a kid. But I’ve met a couple of times people who told me: “Hike with a tent? God forbid that once again in this life!!! My parents dragged me on camping trips as a kid, I’ll never forget that horror, now only to a five-star hotel!”
So don’t make your kids then remember your camping trips together this way. Walk an adequate distance, don’t get your child to the point where he can barely drag his feet, even if you yourself are a long time super duper ultra trail runner. Do not force the child to jump with you into the icy river, even if you are a hundred years as a walrus, better to heat water for him and wash (at most wipe with wet wipes). Do not create negative memories of how you “died, but did not give up.
Maximalism and mooseism the child will want, but already in college age, and then again will want comfort and canteen at Everest base camp! Either way, enjoy the fact that your child still has everything ahead of him!