Oh so this is what bad weather looks like
I've been having a great time hiking this spring. I've been trying to do a good hike every weekend and a major hike every other weekend. I have been blessed with great conditions for all of my hikes so far and I have beautiful pictures from all of them. I've been learning from each outing and I've barely even seen clouds on my White Mountain trips. I'm always well prepared for the cold and wet and I have used less than 30% of my clothing and food on most trips. My latest trip was a weather challenge.
I planned a nice trip up Pierce via the Crawford Path and Mizpah cutoff, a night at Naumann tent site, then over Pierce and Eisenhauer and down Edmands Path. Now this is not a particularly difficult route for me, but I was bringing my 8 year old son and I wanted him to enjoy the trip too. The weather forecast was calling for rain and I was worried about 2 days of hiking in heavy rain. Well, we left Thursday afternoon and arrived at the Crawford Path parking area by 5pm. We dressed up and got on our way. I was pretty loaded down and my son was carrying his sleeping bag and a water bottle, but using a school bookbag. On the way up we dropped the bags and took the side path to the Crawford Cliff. The weather was cooperating so far, but the tops of Tom, Field and Willey were shrouded in clouds (as we could see from the cliff). Joshua was excited about some new gear that we got just for him (he being the only one of my four who is excited about hiking). We filled his new water bottle at the bridge over Gibbs Brook and then quickly checked out the falls from the overlook. This is when he just couldn't carry his weight anymore. I decided that I didn't want him to be miserable, so I attached his bag to the back of my pack (which weighed somewhere in the order of 65lbs total now) and we continued the climb. He seemed to enjoy the hike, but at the end of the cutoff he just wanted to be done.
We got to the tent site and Joshua selected the platform (none were taken, which surprised me a little) and I set up our gear. Joshua was awed by the bear box and the hut. We ate, stashed the food and went into th hut to check it out. We stayed for a couple of minutes out of the bugs and then returned to the tent for the night. As we settled our gear in my 2 man (but barely fits just me) it started to rain and we quickly fell asleep around 9:30. I hoped the tent would stay dry in the rain. We slept very well and didn't get wet!!!
My son awoke at 8:30 (very late for him) and it was still raining. We were nice and warm (we had 15 degrees bags) and watching the drops land on the fly, grow and then fall down the sides. So now I was stuck...it's raining pretty solidly, the cloud cover limits the veiw to about 100 yards and I'm carrying a 63 lb pack (subtracting 2 pounds of food and water). I make the command decision to summit Pierce with just a fanny pack of food and water, while leaving all our gear at the tent site for the day. The plan would be to head to Ike and then return the same path when we were done. Maybe some extra walking, but we would have less gear weight too. We rainsuited up and headed to the summit of Pierce. We made it in short order, saw nothing and Joshua decided that he was done for the day. We went back to the hut hung out and I went back to the camp to pack while Joshua drew on my new maps in pen.
We headed down just before noon and since the hike was easier we made fast time. We stopped for an extended view of Gibbs Falls including a climb up the side and a bushwhack back to the trail from the top of the falls (the rain did have the advantage of making the falls very loud and rough...in other words cool). We got back to the car around 2 and Joshua tells me that he likes hiking, but that if he had a pack like mine he could carry the weight for much longer (this is probably at least partially true since he was shouldering all of his weight...no hip belt). He pestered me all the way home to buy him a real pack and then we could plan another hike.
I've got some pictures and he seems to be enjoying himself doesn't he?
Quick - go buy him a pack and get back out there with him while he wants to do it!
Not all trips work out as planned but looks like it was a good time for both of you. Great pictures and TR. I like the one of Joshua sitting next to the brook in full rain gear. Still looks like he's having a good time!
I think that a trip like this can be very memorable! It will stick with your son like a badge of honor. It sounds like you picked a good location, too, considering the weather. You enjoyed a rustic night out in the tent, but the hut was close enough in case weather turned serious or you ended up really wet.
Great Job! Wonderful pictures! I agree with Mark - get him a pack and get him back out there (as soon as this weather clears )