- May 19, 2020 at 7:37 am #3648057
So a little background first. Both my wife and I work full time jobs. My wife works an hour away in a different time zone, I currently work 15min from home. We have 2 young boys (4&6) both in school, well until this pandemic happened, and live in Northern, IN. Were we live I have to travel at least 2-3+hrs away for any type of true backpacking trails of any length. There are plenty of trails close to me that are perfect for day hiking. I also like to do camping that’s no in a campground that you have to reserve and drive to your site, I prefer to walk/hike to my site and not have many or non around…..
So my question is for those of you with small kids/families and 2 working parents how do you find time to get out to do anything? i always finding myself, even if i schedule it, not going b/c i feel bad leaving my wife alone with our crazy kids after a long week of work, even though i know she can handle it…..May 19, 2020 at 8:22 am #3648067GarrettBPL Member
“i feel bad leaving my wife alone with our crazy kids after a long week of work”
Same situation here. I let my wife take her own trips where I have to stay home with the kids. Luckily she can’t handle being away from them as long as I can. Either way there is some guilt involved. You’d have to know my kids to understand : )May 19, 2020 at 8:33 am #3648071
You’d have to know my kids to understand : ) HA! i feel the same!!
i’ve let my wife go on plenty of trips as well and she’s let me go on mine, i just am horrible about asking/talking about it. dunno why but i feel like a kid asking their parents to go on a sleep over and knowing they are going to say no. it’s stupid but true.May 19, 2020 at 10:50 am #3648111Paul WagnerBPL Member
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
I am now retired, but back in the day…
We planned it well ahead of time, and the whole family did things together. No sneaking off without the wife and kids. And when our first daughter became a teenager…well, That was different.May 19, 2020 at 11:48 am #3648125Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
This really comes down to your relationship with your wife, IMO.
My first wife, and the mother of my kids, only went backpacking once and hated it. We didn’t have kids for the first 8 years of our marriage, so she got used to me going on backpacking trips. We did go car camping a lot together.
When the two kids came, she was a stay at home mom, which is a full-time job. I would think that being at home all day with small kids would create more animosity towards a working spouse who wanted to go backpacking alone on the weekend. But she understood and never objected. However, we did a lot of camping as a family, and bought a tent trailer when the kids were very young. Plus we live where it was easy to go camping as a family.
I went backing often enough that when my kids went to church on Sundays and their friends would ask where their dad was, they would tell them dad wasn’t Catholic, but a backpacker. They would also tell their friends Mt San Jacinto was daddy’s mountain and Joshua Tree was daddy’s desert, since I spent a lot of time in those places.
The biggest challenge was when the kids got into school and joined activities, which meant that almost every weekend was taken up with sports, cheerleading, etc.
My second wife had never gone camping in her life. We started doing that together almost every weekend, as many here know. And I still did quite a bit of solo backpacking trips. My first wife told her that I was careful being alone, and it wasn’t something to worry about. Kinda of neat an ex-wife would have this kind of an attitude. Sometimes my present wife will suggest I go do a trip if it has been a while. So these are part of the marriage relationship.
Craig Wisner does many, many little trips alone. I don’t want to speak for Craig, and my observations might not be accurate, or even none of my business. Many of his solo trips are 24 hour trips or weekends. He has two kids. Craig and I have talked about this a lot and we first did a trip together when his kids were fairly young. I know his wife. His wife and I have talked about this a couple times while I was at their house waiting for Craig to come home. She is very supportive, knows how important it is for him, and like my two marriages, encourages him to go out, because it makes their marriage better when he gets back home.May 19, 2020 at 12:21 pm #3648134W I S N E R !BPL Member
Speak of the devil…I was about to comment on this and I see Nick invoked me…You spoke for me just fine! My kids are older now and can be left alone as long as need be without burdening my wife, but I did a lot when they were little too…
It’s absolutely about your relationship…so it’s a little hard to give advice there. So without getting into that, I would simply suggest that a TON can be done if you’re willing to either travel far, fast, and light or stay close and really slow down to appreciate a small, local area…I love both approaches.May 19, 2020 at 12:46 pm #3648142
i’m working on recovering from injuries that have plagued me. one involving a surgery to fix, the other tons of PT and still working on it so i can get back in shape so i’m able to travel fast, then narrow down on what i want to go light. i’m not opposed to traveling, obviously the money plays in account to how far you go … most of the stuff i want to do is an easy 8hr drive, for me it’s the UP of MI. beyond that flying out to tahoe and desolation wilderness or similar area out west but if i fly i’d want more than 2 days. i did a skiing trip to tahoe years ago and it was 3 days, very enjoyable but short, but i’ll take what i can get.
my wife is very supportive, i just have a hard time asking for the time….. something i need to work on personally.
i’ve been thinking of getting a bag together so i can just grab and go or group my “go to” gear together so i can just quickly pack and go.
i’m hoping to involve my kids with backpacking, my oldest is interested. my wife has no interest other than car camping. she says she draws the line at #2 in the woods.May 19, 2020 at 1:55 pm #3648159Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Close to home and short. . .
Craig and I do this a lot, although not together. There are places with little side trips, off trail usually.
There is a canyon on the very western edge of Joshua Tree NP, that is 10 miles long. I can drive there is less than 20 minutes. There are a lot of little side canyons and ridges here to explore. I’ve been going there for 40+ years and have been lucky to never see another person, except an occasional ranger back in the ’80s. I like to call these micro trips.
Almost 10 years ago, Craig and I did a trip in Anza Borrego State Park. Driving home, we were both looking at all these little canyons and washes, both pointing out the potential for great short trips.
Colin Fletcher wrote 4 editions of The Complete Walker. In everyone, he included this story in his introduction, Why Walk?
“I can tell you now that I have had an unholy awful time with this introductory chapter. I wrote it a dozen times, over a period of several months, and a dozen times it utterly refused to say what I wanted to say. In the end I drove an hour out of town, parked the car on a dirt road, heaved the pack onto my back, walked for another hour, and then camped on a flat, grassy summit of a familiar hill. That was two evenings ago. I am still there. In front of me the long grass is billowing like the sea. Far beyond it and far below sprawls the city. It is very gray. But here on my hilltop there is only the grass and the wind and the sky.
“From time to time since I climbed up here I have strolled around my domain. Once I went down a few hundred feet with my pack on my back and filled all four canteens at a spring. But mostly I have sat up here in the shade of my poncho awning. I have looked at the billowing grass. I have looked beyond it at the sprawling gray city and have listened to the roar from a freeway that feeds it. I have consulted with a number of hawks, mice, beetles and trees. And this morning – after two nights and one day of bitter, bitter struggle and many, many words – I suddenly relaxed and began to write. I do not say I am yet satisfied with what I have written. But I think it will do.May 19, 2020 at 2:19 pm #3648168Jon FongBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
“So my question is for those of you with small kids/families and 2 working parents how do you find time to get out to do anything?”
What is your main objective?
- To get out and hike to meet your backpacking needs?
- To go out backpacking with the family?
Different answers to different questions.May 19, 2020 at 3:34 pm #3648178
It’s for me to meet backpacking needs. Wife isn’t into it, kids still too young to introduce long distance.May 19, 2020 at 3:53 pm #3648183Jon FongBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Josh, have you heard of Emotional Bank Accounts? You will need to make big deposits long before you make a withdrawl. Make sure that the wife & kids needs are met (and exceeded) before making a withdrawl. My 2 centsMay 22, 2020 at 9:04 am #3648595Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I never had kids, but there are pictures of me as a 1-year-old on camping trips with my family. We did a lot of car camping and I remember a backpack trip when I was a 4th grader in the Sierras. My mom brought a cookie sheet and we kids used it to sled down hills in the snow. All through my whole childhood, pizza was still served on that dented cookie sheet.
As a “wife” I can say that it may be possible that your wife might enjoy having the house to herself without you. Yeah, the kids will still be there, but you won’t. I can still remember as an under 4-year-old some times where my mom made us clam dip and corn chips and raw chocolate chip cookie dough for dinner because our dad was away. It was like our little secret.May 22, 2020 at 11:33 am #3648604W I S N E R !BPL Member
Good point Diane. We have a similar dynamic here…my wife actually enjoys it when I leave. People need breaks from each other and from the routine. I think people in relationships that don’t suffer from insecurity, jealousy, or other imbalances understand this. In fact, I believe these breaks can strengthen relationships. Even if I’m only out for a night, “homecoming” is always sweet, sitting down and having a coffee or a cocktail and catching up is always nice.
And then there’s reciprocation. I don’t give my wife a hard time if she wants to go for a trip with without me. If that meant changing diapers and taking care of little ones by myself for the weekend, that’s fine…they’re my kids and house too.
There was also a time period in which taking one or both of the kids was my key to getting outdoors, simply to not leave my wife with the burden and give her a break.May 22, 2020 at 1:26 pm #3648621David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
“kids still too young to introduce long distance.”
I’ll push back on that a bit. We figured the kids could “hike their age” so if 4 and 6 years old, we’d limit it to 4-mile days. The kids have day packs that take some volume (puffy clothes initially, then add the sleeping bag) while the parents take the weight. That’s a lot of what got me back into UL backpacking theory and practice this century (I’d previously done a deep dive in the 1980s).
Our biggest goal was to “keep it fun” so that means bringing some (light weight) games and doing kid activities – fish for 20 minutes, pan for gold for 10 minutes, try whittling a spoon, etc. Definitely let them play with fire. Bring s’mores. Bring kid food – Mac&Cheese, etc, even if it’s not your thing. During the winter, we’d bring frozen pizza and ice cream, because, why not? and we could.
You want to do more miles? Hike in 4 miles, pick a camp site, set up the tent, dump some supplies, hike 4 miles out (maybe while Mom has the kids at a diner or water park), then come in the 4 miles with the kids. I find places to hide stuff (tucked under foot bridges, or in a plastic bag under forest duff) and pre-position fuel and dry kindling and other low-value, no-smell supplies.
If I could take grade-schoolers snow-camping in Alaska while in my 50’s, it should be easier for most people in most places. Or do a lot more than we did: Manfred took the family on the JMT multiple times. Erin and Hig took their 2 and 4 year olds 800 miles around Cook Inlet, all human-powered, over 3 months. 4-year-old walked, Mom carried the 2-year-old, Dad carried everything else. She wrote a book about it: https://www.amazon.com/Mudflats-Fish-Camps-Around-Alaskas/dp/1680510185
And there is only a finite time when you’re carrying their gear. Play your cards right and eventually, they carry your gear (happened for me 3 years ago when I sprained my ankle so my teenage son schlepped my gear up the rough spots of the Chilkoot Trail).May 22, 2020 at 1:37 pm #3648624David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
For some years, we had the luxury (or maybe the necessity for a physician and consulting engineer) of having an au pair, and that third adult to take up some of the “soccer-mom” commute duties and supervision gave a lot of flexibility. That’s not cheap, but do you have an extra bedroom? If so, how about looking for a WWOOFer / WOFer? (“World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms” or Work-On-Farm). The classic gig is room and board and weekends off on a farm some place, for putting in a morning’s work each day. But if you live anyplace interesting, I have had friends that have WOFers help with sled dogs and I’ve used them on home projects. Maybe having someone like that to help for a week or two while you’re backpacking would relieve the guilt of being away? Or greataupair.com has 15,000 young adults (and some older folks) looking to provide childcare. Some are foreign, some are domestic. Some are looking for a year-long gig, others for the summer, some for shorter periods.May 22, 2020 at 2:22 pm #3648634Dave HeissBPL Member
@daveheissLocale: Pacific Northwest
Reciprocation. Wisner nailed it.
5 years ago my wife was presented with an opportunity to walk the Camino de Santiago with a girlfriend, and while she really wanted to do it she was unsure about going forward because she’d be gone for 8 weeks. I remember telling her… “8 weeks? Don’t worry about it. If you added up all my business trips and backpacking over the last 30 years of our marriage I’ve probably been away for over a year. 8 weeks? Go for it. I owe it to you.”
So she did. She loved it. And then she walked Italy (Assisi to Rome) two years later, and France (Le Puy to Pamplona) last year. Pretty sure I still owe her some time, and that’s OK. It makes my backpacking a little easier to justify :-)May 22, 2020 at 2:36 pm #3648638Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I wish I was your wife, Dave. Not because you were so generous to her but because she did all those great European trips. I’ve never been to Europe.
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