Our most recent trips have been mainly domestic. It has been a nice change after so much international travel because we had not really explored our own country much before. One of our favorite trips was a visit to Big Bend National Park in December two years ago. We found a few things upon arrival there. First of all, Big Bend is really not close to much of anything so it was a long drive through the desert just getting there.
The second thing we quickly learned about Big Bend was that not many people bring small children there (at least not when we were there). In fact, many people seemed to be somewhat alarmed that we had brought them. Helpful observers from the park rangers to random strangers cautioned us to not let go of the children, lest they be attacked by a wild animal. I am guessing this story of a child being attacked by a wild animal in the parking lot of the lodge where we were staying had something to do with it. Clearly, I had not read that before booking our trip. I can happily report that we did not see any lions or bears (or tigers either for that matter).
Slight risk of animal attack aside, the visit to Big Bend was great for both adults and children. The main modification we made to what we would normally do was to choose hikes on the easier/shorter side of what we might have otherwise chosen.
He has grown a bit now, but Henry was not yet up to walking on this trip. The hiking pack was great for him and he enjoyed all our hikes.
This climb up to balanced rock billed itself as an easy round trip of less than a mile. No mention was made of the actual climb, which made me a bit nervous but ended up in a wonderful view and also a great sense of accomplishment for Rachel and Owen.
Only a quarter mile left – turns out is was all climbing over rocks up the hill.
Snack time at the top made it all worth it (even with a scraped knee).
Another thing to prepare for when hiking with children is the possibility that they will simply not want to go on. It is a good thing that Wes can still carry the two older children when they get tired so it was not too much of an impediment to the adventures.
Learning about different desert plans in the “find that cactus” game.
Wes got in some training during our visit as well.
Snacks were imperative to keeping the troops of all ages happy.