Our family’s very first backpacking trip was a winter one. The destination? A cabin in Maine’s coastal Camden Hills State Park.
It was an easy hike-in on packed snow. Our winter boots sufficed, we didn’t need skis or snowshoes as we followed the wide multi-purpose path, which in summer is actually a park road. It was an easy route, an easy trip, an easy destination by serious backpacking standards. But for a family with three elementary aged children, in the middle of a Maine winter, it was a good place to start.
Looking back, I can’t believe how cumbersome, large, and downright heavy my pack was. (I now wear a GG Gorilla pack.) After only a couple of hours I was really hurting. Thankfully, it only took a couple of hours to get to the cabin.
We’ve come a long way since then but everyone has to start somewhere. And that was as good a place as any.
Winter cabin-ing was our introduction to backpacking. Our family’s first experience of carrying everything we’d need for a few days on our backs.
Yes, our packs were heavy, much heavier than what we carry now. Part of that was because our kids were younger and needed us to carry more of their gear, and the kids were able to use smaller backpacks. Even still, we appreciated the experience enough to convince us we wanted to do it again.
And again. And again.