A 14 year old backpacks alone.


My Eritrean friend looked at me for a long time and then said, “Only white people do crazy things.” Well, that’s up for debate, but I had just told him that in addition to going backpacking the coming weekend with my 12 year old daughter, my 14 year old son would be backpacking by himself. To my friend who had grown up in war torn Eritrea, doing anything “dangerous” by choice was crazy. Rock climbing, backpacking, sky diving…these things that “white people” do for no reason and yet endanger us were beyond his understanding.

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Accomplishment…backpacking with Hailey.


Backpacking with kids is immensely rewarding. 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.

I have backpacked with my kids dozens of 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.

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