We took the boys on their first “real” camping trip, backpacking into one of our old standby trails in the Sarvis Creek wilderness area. They both carried their own packs, loaded with their sleeping bag, pad, and clothes. The area had changed in the 7+ years since we had last been there, so we overshot our intended camp ground and accidentally extended the hike to roughly 3 miles. The guys handled it well though.
We found a nice spot near the creek where we could explore for bugs and watch the fish. We just didn’t have quite the view of the meadow that we liked. We didn’t spot any real wildlife, though with the racket the boys were making that wasn’t likely to happen anyway. We hiked a bit further down the trail and found a boulder field perfect for scrambling and further exploring, and we capped the day off with a nice fire and a freeze dried meal – complete with desert. It got fairly chilly that night, but the new sleeping bags seemed to keep the kids nice and cozy.
The only real problem was the mosquitoes. Being early in the year, and camping in a low-lying drainage, it was a pretty healthy breeding ground. We couldn’t get the boys to understand that bug spray can wash off if you go stomping through the creek. It was a pretty itchy night and morning. All in all it was a successful introduction to wilderness camping, and both boys proclaimed they would like to go again (after the requisite complaining during the hike out had died down of course).