As parents, my wife Kim and I fall into all-too-familiar parent-child relationships with Hemingway and Octavia. My behaviour exemplifies the old platitude: When you love your kids, you want the best for them. You’ll go out of your way to make sure their lives are better than how you perceived your own to be. I take my children on backcountry adventures to give them formative experiences at a young age, experiences I don’t remember having when I was their age. Of course, believing that these adventures are making their lives better is a romantic notion; I wonder if Hemingway feels the same way.
We’ve done three snowshoe trips this year, and I can see that he’s growing tired of it, at least for this season. When his mom asks him about the trips, he has both good and not so good memories from each trip. So if I had to rephrase the earlier platitude in Hemingway’s own words, it might read something more like: When you love your kids, you punish them by making them do things they don’t always want to do.
On February 3rd, I led a group of fifteen Island Mountain Ramblers and guests on the Helen MacKenzie loop. It’s a great trip that offers options for an out-and-back, or if conditions allow, there is a fun loop that continues past Battleship Lake before heading back to Raven Lodge. I’ve hosted this beginner trip more than dozen times over the years, including offering it as a family trip, but this time was the first time that another family brought their young children! They even brought their own pulk sled. I have some serious sled envy–it was so awesome! I say I led the trip, but really Rick King did the honours of guiding the group along the trail while I brought up the rear –thanks, Rick!
Many consider me brave, and others foolish, because we didn’t let a rainy forecast deter us from the trip. On the drive to the mountain, dozens of sunny breaks offered false hope that we would have sun instead of rain. Unfortunately, the forecast did hold true, and we snowshoed through a slurry of rain and snow falling from the sky. We held our heads high, donned many layers, and made the best of the trip to the lake. And although the weather wasn’t great, there was no wind at the lake, so we ate a leisurely lunch. For a treat, I bought my stove and boiled up some hot chocolate for the kids!
On the route back, Hemingway couldn’t stay awake. In the photos, you can see him tucked into the sled, the cover cinched up around his neck, with his rain hood pulled over his head. He fell asleep before we got to Battleship Lake, and woke up on our descent down the summer route to Paradise Meadows. I know the sled makes it possible for Hemingway to come on adventures, but I look forward to the day that he walks more than he sleds. That being said, he’s becoming a master sled-rider (sledsman?). Thanks to his fast reactions and improved grip strength, we kept the sled righted all day, and needed help only in a few places. Even when the sled slipped and dragged along the side slopes, he was able to hang on tightly enough. I dare say, he even found it fun!
It was a fun day, but I’m sure we each were happy to get back to the vehicles. A spot of sun would have been appreciated, but sometimes we just have to accept the liquid sunshine.
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