Tuesday, March 15, 2016


We've never done the typical relaxing vacation. Our honeymoon was probably as close as we ever came, and that still involved a fair amount of hiking. It's also when we fell in love with the idea of exploring all our national parks, camping and hiking our way through them.

And that's what we've been doing for nearly the past 10 years. We've hiked more than 50 miles across Isle Royale National Park, hauling all our stuff on our backs. (That first day before we redistributed our weight nearly killed me. Something about carrying half my body weight on my back.) We've camped on a nearly deserted island at Dry Tortugas National Park.

This is after hiking across Isle Royale with our packs!

When we had children, we didn't let that stop us from our adventures. Our children have seen more of this country than many adults. AJ turned one on our trip to Acadia National Park. Teddy turned one while we were at Crater Lake National Park. AJ turned 4 when we were at Saguaro National Park. (We managed to sneak balloons into our hotel room to surprise him!)

Happy 1st birthday Teddy! Celebrating in style at Crater Lake.

As the boys have gotten older, they've been able to enjoy the experiences a bit more. They get tired of riding in a vehicle, but I don't blame them after a couple thousand miles. It's pretty awesome, though, to watch your 4-year-old hike all the way up to Delicate Arch powered by his 2 little legs and some M&M energy. (We've discovered the key to AJ's ability to hike instead of complain is directly related to the sun. He hates the sun. If it's cloudy, he can hike. If it's sunny, he wilts.) And Teddy enjoys spending time with us, hopping around our tent or hotel rooms.

It's always a bit tricky to get a good family photo. Everyone is at least visible here.

These type of road trips are more of a hassle when they involve toddlers or young children, particularly when one child has special needs. Although Teddy doesn't have much adaptive equipment, we still need wheels to get him around, carriers to save us from lugging the 35 lb. lovable lug, high chair for picnic tables, special cups so he can drink and such.

And you know what? We know that each trip with Teddy has the potential to be more challenging than the last. He's still small enough that we can load him into a carrier for our hikes. At some point, that won't be a possibility. Like I said, he doesn't have that much adaptive equipment. That might change.

AJ likes to scamper ahead on rocks, kind of like his mom.
We don't take these things for granted. It might be hard to do these kinds of vacations, that are often anything but relaxing, but it's worth it for us. Those moments we get as a family seeing something incredible or simply being together in places of beauty and wonder are worth every step carrying the boys and listening to the tears or endless line of questioning from AJ.

We head on our next adventure in less than a week. It's a bit of a deviation from our norm because we're flying to Las Vegas to pick up our rental car. I'm used to packing the Tahoe with everything we could possibly need, including surprises wrapped for the boys to entertain them along the way. We'll have to be a bit more creative this time around, but I'm sure we'll manage. If not, we've told our families where to start searching for us.

Updates here may be a bit scarce starting next week because I don't plan to write a novel from a smartphone to post, but I'll try to get a few pictures and highlights of our adventures shared along the way.


  1. I give you and Dave a lot of credit, that is a lot of work with two boys!! But you will never regret it, the memories are priceless :) Have a safe trip and have fun!

  2. Thanks! We agreed that the memories made are worth the tears shed in the process. :-)