This last weekend we embarked on a mission. To hike Mount Raymond with the kids. Our trusty adventure pals joined us, bringing the kid total to 5, all between the ages of 4 and 8 years old.
For most the adults, this was not the first time to have summited Raymond. [ I had done sections of the trail but never summited.] But we knew what to expect from this 8 mile round trip hike, with 3,100 feet of elevation gain. We knew it would be a hard, long and slow day. The last third of the hike is steep ridge-line with sections of scrambling.
I would never suggest this hike as kid-friendly. But we believed in our kids abilities and mostly WE were ready to give it a try, even if it meant failure.
You never know what you can do until to push beyond what you always do.
I wrote these tips on Facebook the day after:
So much is possible with kids, it is us who limits them. But it isn’t always easy. I realize that you glance at my photos and think it is like the Sound of Music as we frolicked up to the summit and back down. Maybe for small moments it is like that. 😊
But there are almost always tears and “I’m never going on an adventure again” issued from their little throats. This last weekend brought hot sun and bug bites and a few face-plants on the trail.
When we head out for long days we give ourselves lots of time, lots of food, lots of water. We go prepared to take long breaks in the shade, to carry younger kids if needed, trekking poles to help “tow” a kid up a steep section and we always have a turn-around plan as a last resort. And mostly, with kids, we never tease the edge of our own ability and experience. We stay safely within our own ability and fitness level.
Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ruin our kids love of the outdoors by pushing them. But one day after this 8 mile, 3,100 ft hike they all cheered as we headed out on the trail for a dinner-time picnic. They took off running down the trail with whoops of glee. I guess I shouldn’t be too worried, eh?
Here is how our day went down:
Mount Raymond, Wasatch Rage, Utah
Mount Raymond starts from the Butler Fork Trail Head up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The trail crosses the creek almost immediately and starts to climb steeply. For the next 1.5 miles the steep terrain rarely lets up. We move slowly in the heat. Thanking God for ice water in our reservoirs and the one Kool Tie we are passing between us.
Due to the rainy weather during May and early June, much of the trail is crowded with shrubs, grass and even Stinging Nettle [eek!]. But the flowers are equally populated amongst the terrain.
We reach the sub-ridge coming off Circle All Peak and are ready for a break. We have a snack and then tackled the next segment of trail which luckily has a very gentle grade over to Butler Pass. Spirits soar as the kids make up imaginary worlds and even run sections of the trail.
Then it is time to tackle the last and largest obstacle on this hike, the ridge scrambling. On any of the exposed scrambling [not death territory, but a fall would be unpleasant] the adults accompany each of the children. They all have spent much time climbing and scrambling both indoors and out, so this goes smoothly.
The steep climb up the ridge is slow and exhausting, the kids keep hoping the summit is over the next hump. We talk about the toughness needed to endure false summits. But finally we reach the top! Everyone is elated! The views to the south are epic.
After quite a long break, we decide we’d had enough of the sun and need to head back down to shade. The descent is slow going, as scrambling down is often more difficult that scrambling up. We make slow progress, stopping in the shade for snacks and to rest our feet.
The young kids trade off riding on Chuck’s back in the Deuter kid carrier, resting their weary feet.
Yet, we descend the final hill and cross the creek that marked the start of our adventure.
Despite growing complaints of exhaustion for the last 4 miles, my daughter still has enough energy to run the last section of trail and jump high into the air with a whoop when we reach the trailhead again. 🙂
- Total Mileage: 8 miles out and back
- Elevation Gain: 3,100 feet
- Total time: 8 hours, approximately 2 more hours than we had anticipated. Ignore the paces below, at least after mile 5…