I have decided to create a corner in the DPMR newsletter to encourage many of you like-minded parents and give a place to share stories and ideas on trails, gear, and adventures for the whole family. DPMR has always been a kid friendly club but I’m finding that during this unique time of coronavirus and the happenings of 2020, we parents need an extra dose of encouragement. It’s been a hard 6 months! Parenting this year seems to be pushing each of us to our edge no matter the age of our child(ren) and, yet at the same time, there has been a beautiful appreciation for family.
I have had mixed sentiments in having my two children (age 4 and 8) home over the last 6 months. When school closed mid-March, I only left home for my job at the hospital, the grocery store, and to go for a snowshoe run/Nordic ski. No school carpool or shuttling to all the activities. I found myself traveling at the slower pace of my children and discovering the world out our back door. We dug into the projects of home life and cooked, baked, did art, and even built a bike ramp. Even amidst the anxiety and fear of the unknown surrounding the pandemic, I found many sweet moments and simpler pace of life with my kids.
Spring turned to summer and the snow melted and the trails emerged… a joyous occasion for all of us dirt lovers! But again, I saw my world with new eyes and my kids set the pace of our adventures. Hours I previously would have spent exploring trails solo or with running groups while my kids were at school/camp became family hikes or nature explorations. We did our first backpacking trip with the whole family including grandparents and the dog. We established a short bike ride route to a swimming hole on the river that became our favorite.
Around this same time last year, I was putting in big miles training for a 100k but this year’s adventures were designed to challenge my 2nd grader while ensuring that my preschooler could keep up too. The DPMR virtual challenge in July was to run 20 times that month. I ran only 6 times. I like to believe that even though my Strava stats were fading that maybe I got extra credit for carrying all the snacks/water and giving piggy back rides.
Later in the summer, I was thankful to find time to do longer, faster adventures. My husband and I even got Labor Day weekend away to fastpack the Evolution Loop from North Lake to South Lake out of Bishop. This was a treasured escape from all of the responsibilities of parenting and our day to day world still plagued by coronavirus. Our final day of backpacking was marked by heavy smoke in the air from surrounding wildfires. Just as we stepped off the trail a forest ranger announced to us that the National Forests were now closed. We were thankful to return to the hugs of children and that our home was not threatened by any of the fires that had newly erupted while we were disconnected in the wilderness.
All of this to say, it’s been a journey. I am sure you all have stories combined with ambivalent feelings about parenting during this time. I encourage you to write them down and share them or maybe save them to share with your kids at a later time. It’s been incredible to see some of our club members complete huge challenges on the trail this summer (several of them parents themselves) but I also want to give space to honor each of you for finding ways to use your limited, treasured time to explore the trails and to take good care of yourself and family. I hope I can continue to regularly share stories and ideas to inspire and encourage. Like many of you, one of my next adventures is as teacher for online school….
Below I’ve listed a couple kid friendly trails/adventures from our summer. Please feel free to comment below with adventures or trails you would like to share.
Bike ride to Truckee River swimming hole
Park at end of paved section of South River street. Ride bikes on dirt road 0.7 miles. Right turn toward river. This is a great one that even my 4-year-old can do on his pedal bike. Keep going down the road if you want a longer ride.
Alder Creek and Prosser Lake frog and minnow catching
Park at the Donner Party Picnic Site off Hwy-89. Walk to the outer edge of the interpretive loop and keep going toward the meadow and follow the trail to the creek about 0.5-mile or go further to the lake. A great place to catch frogs and minnows and let the kids and dogs play.
Family Backpacking: Dardanelle’s Lake
Travel on Hwy-89 past South Lake Tahoe to Big Meadow trailhead. Hike a gentle 2.3 mile uphill followed by 1.4 mile down to lake (4 miles one way). Our 8-year-old carried a pack with clothes and sleeping bag and our 4-year-old walked most of the way with some carrying.
Meggie Roberts Inouye is proud to serve as DPMR board member and to serve the greater community as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Tahoe Forest Hospital. She is passionate about adventuring in the mountains and promoting the health and wellbeing of families. Feel free to email communications or ideas for Donner Party Mountain Kids to email@example.com.