|The boy at trailhead, hero pic by Dad. Black Diamond trekking pole is the ticket,|
If you have kids or remember your younger days, you can relate to the way growing up involves firsts. The first day you drive, first day of school, and on. If you enjoy backcountry activities, the first time you go solo backpacking can be a big one. Our son got his chance this weekend. He’s had a ton of experience backpacking with groups, but going by yourself up into the mountains is a serious endeavor, so we waited till the experience and motivation came to a peak this summer.
We had all our Wind River backpacking gear out a couple of weeks ago, and Louie asked if we could go backpacking sooner than our planned Winds trip. I mentioned my work and obligations, but suggested he do his first solo. This past weekend he made it happen by planning and executing a sweet overnight up at Thomas Lakes, next to Mount Sopris (near here in central Colorado).
It was with some trepidation and no small amount of pride that Dad saw the boy off at the trailhead. I’d not gone over his gear with him, figuring he had it wired to the point where he’d remember the essentials — but I had to wonder when we stopped for gas on the way, and he mentioned he might have forgotten his lighter and could we buy one just in case? (Turned out he had remembered the lighter, but forgotten his spoon.)
|Louie’s photo of snack time, fresh raspberries gathered from a patch in a beautiful boulder field. Utensil to left is Orikaso Fold Flat plate/bowl, an excellent product for lightweight backpacking. For bear-aware issues, we’ll have to have a chat about eating on your sleeping pad, otherwise it looks pretty good!|
The boy’s account of his trip was interesting to say the least (to his parents, anyway.) The adventure included evening rain, natural food gathering (raspberry, thistle stalks, sarvice berries — and a fish caught with fly rod), experiments with a home-made alcohol stove, and the excitement and self-actualization that backcountry travel can so easily bring to the mind and spirit.
What a joyful occasion for a backcountry family!
And congratulations to Louie for a job well done.
Seeing a bit of backcountry trip planning always keeps the parents happy.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.