Monday, October 18, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park - July 2010

Our adventurous family activity for the summer was a family backpack trip in early July in  Rocky Mountain National Park.  We were out in Ft Collins for a week for my sister-in-law's wedding and were able to take a quick break from the planning action earlier in the week for a quick overnight trip.  William was 1 yr 5 mths old and Isaac was 10 months old.  I pulled all my gear together very last minute, but fortunately my gear lists were pretty up-to-date and it didn't take too long.  I decided to see if I could borrow a tent or if I had good fortune, find a Golite Shangri-la 4 or 5 for sale in Colorado.  Neither worked and I was afraid we would be forced to car camp with my soon to be brother-in-law's 20+ lb cabin tent.  I had not brought sleeping pads for the boys, so when at Walmart looking for the cheap blue foam pads, I happened to see they had a relatively lightweight compact 4 person tent.  I decided to pick it up as it was only $30.  It turned out it was only about 6.5 lbs without the stakes... really not too bad at a little over 1.5 lbs per person.  I wouldn't trust it in a storm, but it will be fine for dry, calm weather.

We headed out with two packs and the two kids.  I rented a pair of trekking poles and bear canister from an outfitter in Estes Park and we were on our way.  According to the map, it was 1.7 miles to our campsite (Old Forest Inn Sites) and William was able to walk almost 1.25 miles of that.  Hindsight, I'm really impressed he made it that far.  Unfortunately, we only brought the one kid carrier for Isaac and had to carry William on our shoulders or in our arms.

We picked the lower of the two campsites which was tucked into the convergence of Fern Creek and the Big Thompson River.  It ended up being a pretty good drop-off to the Big Thompson River, so either way I knew that we would have to watch the boys like a hawk.  Between keeping the boys corralled and keeping objects out of Isaac's mouth, we didn't have much rest time, but it was a lot of fun watching them explore and toddle around.  Isaac started walking end of May, so he was getting around pretty good by this time.

We crawled into our tent at dusk and enjoyed some family time in close proximity.  Isaac quickly crashed and we enjoyed watching the stars come out with William and then he fell asleep pretty quickly with both of us out soon after that.  Meg said she would much rather camp out here then back in MN.  She said she preferred the drier weather and campsites.

Heading out late morning the next day, I lightly load Meg's pack with sleeping bags and clothes and sent her on the way down the trail so that I could finish breaking down camp.  She put Isaac in the carrier, pack on her back and took off with William in hand.  I quickly broke down camp and took off after them.  I figured it would be much easier to get the rest of the stuff packed up without the interference of the two boys and it was.  I caught up with them after about a 3/4 mile and by that time William was done so I carried him.  He quickly fell asleep and we walked along with two sleeping boys trying to keep them shaded from the vicious high altitude sun.  We made pretty quick of the remaining mile, but it was pretty brutal carrying the sleeping weight of William along with the heavier pack.    We didn't have hardly any food left and I definitely prefer to have more in case of an emergency... I will have to plan that a little better the next time.

Enjoy some pictures.

This must be fairly early in the hike...  William was still cruising along pretty good here.  I wished we would have had some minimalist shoes for him as he is used to running around barefoot all the time.  The shoes we had for him were quite the clunkers and he was constantly tripping in them.  I wore my Feelmax Osmas and they surprisingly worked quite well.  The have no support and no padding in the bottoms, but were just fine with my 35 lb pack and carrying both boys at times.  William was about 31 lbs and Isaac was about 26 lbs at the time.

Our campsite was up on a cliff overlooking the convergence of Big Thompson River and Fern Creek.  Maybe not the best place for two little boys to be playing.  It was a full time job keeping them corralled in the confines of our campsite.  Our $30 Walmart tent worked quite well for us and will be a great car camping tent for us.  I have since purchased an MLD Supermid with netting around the bottom and am anxious to try that out.  This purchase was primarily for winter camping, but will work great as a small group and family tent.

Having fun in the tent before crashing hard.   The fleece sleepers worked great for them for sleeping in.  Isaac hates having a blanket on him, so bundling him in a sleeper is necessary.

Winding down for the nite in the tent...  We left the canopy off for a while so we could watch the stars.  William loved it!

Enjoying a Starbucks Via and some morning sunshine with the boys.  They loved crawling and climbing around the rocks.  They are quite the adventurous little guys!

Gotta like that view.  We didn't see a whole lot of elevation change from the trail head, it's quite a bit further up to some really spectacular views.  Not really feasible with the two little guys...  Hopefully I can get back out for a solo trip one of my next trips out.

Gotta love this picture.  Beautiful and precious!!


Family Camping Tents said...

Great trip recap. Looks like a fun family event.

Griffis Family said...

We did this same trip about four years ago when our boys were three and one ( Another nice, short overnighter from this same area is the walk up to Cub Lake (