The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.
– John Steinbeck
I can’t say it better than Mr. Steinbeck. We left the beautiful to encounter the magnificent. I have wanted to see the Redwood Forest for as long as I can remember. I was not disappointed.
I always wanted to go to Crater Lake National Park, I’m not sure why. I think I saw a picture once and the blue water intrigued me. We were so close to it driving down the Oregon coast that I just had to squeeze it in.
After a couple fabulous days in Seattle, we had jumped the Puget Sound and were on Hwy 101. We would essentially follow it for over 1,000 miles to San Francisco with lots of planned and unplanned stops along the way. Always make unplanned stops. Spontaneity really ramps up the travel experience.
In November 2014, Nathan, Hailey and I took a trip to Palo Duro Canyon in West Texas. It is the second largest canyon in the US and stunning. We camped for three nights and spent our days hiking. One thing we have all learned is that no matter how much we plan, the trip will never happen as we envisioned. The three of us have had some great adventures, which is to say the calamities we have experienced that now make the best stories. But sometimes, there is simply an unexpected blessing that makes a trip special.
Backpacking with kids is immensely rewarding. For me and for them. I encourage anyone with kids to try it. Start them young, start them slow. And know their limitations.
But don’t be scared. They can do so much more than you think. So can you.
I have backpacked with my kids more than a dozen times, and never once with another adult, or a man, or a gun, or cell service. Sure things go wrong. But no one is going to get eaten by a bear or fall off a cliff. Overcoming the inevitable mishaps is part of the journey. And the confidence gained by accomplishing, conquering, and persevering is lifelong.