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Reflections on Backpacking with Children

Last weekend, I took my seven-year-old son on his first backpacking trip.  For my ten-year-old daughter, it was her fourth trip into the wilderness. Why do I take my children on these overnight adventures when we already live in a place more wild and natural than designated wilderness areas?  The minimalist experience and little bit of suffering endured along the trail has made my children better people and me a better mother.

Backpacking is not just about physical endurance, there is a psychological factor as well.  Feeling the strain of the heavy back as you ascend upward towards your final destination, which in our case is a high alpine lake, overcoming the feelings that you can’t make it, only taking the essentials, the communal nature of shared meals and equipment….all of these factors create an experience that can’t be beat by any amusement park!

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Outdoor Etiquette: "Lend a Hand. Care for the land."

JUly_Recap-124 In just a few days,  I will be enjoying the great outdoors again! It’s only been 2 1/2 weeks since we’ve been back from our first trip. Were going to Mammoth and staying in a condo. Our last trip we camped for the remaining four day. Which was a bit hairy at times with a 2 yr. old and 3 mos. old but we managed. I’m so glad we did it too! It was fun to watch Tristan connect with nature. After reading Wild Animal Baby and other wildlife related books Tristan was able to put things into perspective.

During this trip we cloth diapered and had a potty trainer on our hands! The condo at Bass Lake had a washer and dryer and while camping in Yosemite we used the laundry mat at Curry Village. I only did the washing at Curry Village and let the diapers & undies air dry in the sunshine on a tree branch at our site. We were prepared to use a bucket and gloves if we did not have access to a washer! It worked out nicely though. My 2 yr. old loved being in nature and really enjoyed boat rides on the lake. He saw tons of wildlife including a BEAR! While driving back to our campsite, our first day in Yosemite, we watched a bear eating in a meadow through the car window. It was neat. Tristan also saw a “Big ole Buck” on a bike ride first thing in the morning around the campground.

It was so amazing to see nature through his eyes. He chased the squirrels to their holes and around the campsite and collected specimens to put into his bug kit. Our hike to Vernal Falls was quite a journey and I think he understood it’s significance. My husband and I consider ourselves experienced campers. We’ve done a lot of camping. Every time I walk away from a campsite, I have a new perspective on life. Unplugging for the few days and recharging your soul with Mother Nature is a must! Getting away from all the stimulus and “roughing -it” for a few days makes you appreciate the things we have in life.

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Into the Trees: A book About a Child's First Adventure Into the Woods

Mini G\'s first adventure into the forestI grew up in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. We had a yard with trees, and the park and river were not too far away.  I was fortunate my parents took me on weekend hiking trips in the Hocking Hills of southern Ohio (although I called “hocking in the Hiking Hills”). Reading Into the Trees, part of the Mini G Deluxe Baby Gift Set, I was reminded of my early adventures into the woods as a child.

Those early, enjoyable hiking trips set the stage for my environmentalism and decision to live in a remote, natural setting.

Into the Trees is the story of Mini G’s first walk into the woods. In the forest, Mini G discovers many natural wonders:

Gurgle. Gurgle. Bubble. Bubble.

Mini G had found quite a surprise.

“Look, Dad!  Look!  Look what I’ve found!

There’s water bubbling up right from the ground!”

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Green Family Values: Eco Gifts for a Green Father's Day Means Not Buying Anything!

Don't Buy Gifts, Spend Time TogetherSunday is Father's Day, and just like Mother's Day, it was inspired by tragic death. The modern American celebration of Father's Day  began in 1908, when 361 men were killed in a mine explosion in Monongah, West Virginia. Father's Day is celebrated around the world (on different days) to honor and commemorate the importance of male figures in family life. Traditionally in this country, gifts are given by children to their fathers, but does Dad really need another Jerry Garcia silk tie? According the The Green Guide, more than half of dads say they've never received a "good" gift, and the average cost of a Father's Day gift is $89.00. There are plenty of green, eco gifts available to buy Dad. Instead of supporting the overconsumerism in this country spawned by holidays, how about showing Dad you love him with a truly sustainable gift. These gifts don't require you to buy Dad anything, but to spend time with him.

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