First Family Backpacking Trip

A couple of weeks ago, Jess and I set out to take our kids on their first official backpacking trip. That is to say, camping away from the car. I had waffled between Wall Lake and Ruth Lake, knowing that both were within a mile from their respective trailheads. Both can get quite crowded with people, but eventually I settled on Ruth Lake, knowing it was a bit shorter and a bit more level of a trail with only small ups and downs. It also packs in a little bit of everything along the 3/4 mile of the way (small waterfall, meadows & flowers, stream crossing, etc.). Depending on how the kids did with that would determine if we'd tackle Wall Lake with them the next night or just go with a paid site with the car.

We had gotten the kids their own little "day" packs. The girls would carry their own clothing, sleeping bags, pads, snack, and water. Our youngest and only boy, at 2 years old, would carry his own clothes and dry diapers. Jess and I would be bringing up the rest between the two of us.

Of course, not more than 20 feet after starting up the trail, between the trailhead sign and the board with the register, our little boy tripped and got his lip pretty good. After tending that for a few moments, he was ready to roll again.

The kids enjoyed the changing scenery and the informative signs along the way.

Once we got to Ruth Lake, we all dropped our packs at the foot of the lake for a break. I then took my two oldest with me as we scouted the perimeter of the lake for a good camp site that would be safe enough for our younger ones (away from the shore, level with no big drops nearby). With the approval of my girls, we chose a spot on the south side of the lake.

Once we had our tents up, it was off to filter some water in a nearby stream. Each of the kids enjoyed assisting in filling their own water bottles.

With water all set, it was time to try our hand at some fishing. Jess and I each took a pole for the kids to take turns on. We would cast and then let the kids each take turns holding the pole, waiting, and reeling. For whatever reason, it would be Jess's pole that would prove most appealing to the fish. Not less than a minute from the first cast of Jess's pole, our oldest, Willow, reeled in her first fish ever.

After that excitement, Jess would cast her pole a couple more times, and not 5 minutes later, our youngest daughter, Raylee, was reeling in her first fish ever.

Sadly, that would be the last fish caught for the day. Despite another good hour of casting and waiting, for the sake of Ellory, we were unable to catch another. Though disappointed, she was content to try again in the morning. We let the girls choose between letting the fish live and releasing them back into the lake, or cooking them up with dinner. They chose to let the fish live on.

We were all hungry now, the mosquitos were teaming up on us, and so we wrapped up and headed back for camp to get some dinner going. After filling your tummies with dinner and dessert, sitting around the fire, and putting the food bags up, it was time for sleep. Jess and I split the kids up and each took a tent.

Unfortunately, it was at this time that we realized we had left some prescription ear drops for our youngest at home. He had been getting over a nasty ear infection from the week prior. After being full of excitement all day long, he turned into Mr. Hyde that evening as he showed signs of his ear bothering him again. He would not sleep much all night, which in turn kept Jess up most of the night.

By morning, after a bit more of unsuccessful fishing, it was decided that we'd just spend a bit of time exploring around the lake, and then head for home, cutting our trip a night short. We promised the kids some ice cream in Heber on the way home. In the mean time, I loaded up all I could on my back and went back down to the car at the TH where I would trade it out for our kid carrier. Amazingly, I realized that we were the only ones who had stuck around overnight and had the lake all to ourselves. There was only one other car at the parking lot when I went back that morning and that was to a couple who I had just passed upon arriving back at the TH. An empty Ruth Lake Trailhead parking lot is certainly a sight to see! Of course, that would not last as the day progressed.

So with kid carrier now in tow back at camp, we were off to explore the surrounding area. Jess and the girls ended up resting up above Ruth while Lennox and I pushed on to pay a visit to Naomi and Hayden lakes. Of course, Lennox would be making up for lost sleep for most of it.

We said farewell to Ruth Lake and made our way back down to the car.  On the drive back home, we'd stop at Provo River Falls for a bit of a gander before hitting Heber for ice cream.

Had it not been for Lennox's troubled night sleeping and forgetting his meds, we probably would have ended up in a car camp near Crystal Lake TH the next night and then day-hiked up to Wall Lake, the Notch, and Twin Lakes. However, that part will have to wait for another time, possibly this next month.

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  1. LOVE this TR. I just had my first baby, and am so looking forward to trips like this!


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