Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Explore the world with a child

Our daughter is now 18 months old. As a result, I find myself more and more comfortable taking her into the mountains with me. On our first trip we went as a family on a nice short 1.5 mile round trip hike. It was a good hike to do, one getting me used to hauling 30 extra pounds on my back, and two, getting her used to riding in the pack. The trip was greatly successful as she rode on my back.

Our daughter on her maiden hiking trip
Some things I learned early on, is that she's not a fan of stopping. The most important thing I learned is that make sure they have a full stomach. Also, if you find yourself in a nice spot, take a break and let the kiddo out to burn some energy.

We stopped for a little to long here!
On our second trip, I added a new level. First it was just me taking her. She was much more receptive to climbing into the pack which looked like a good sign. I also wanted to see how she'd do if I want fishing. So we hiked up to one of my favorite streams. During the hike, I came across an older couple heading up the trail to fish a lake. We chatted on the hike, I'm sure they were a little curious about me fly fishing with a baby on my back.

After we reached the lake, I split off from them and went a ways down stream. Very quickly I came across my first fishing hole. Nikki was definitely more patient about being in  one spot for a longer time period. She'd chatter, periodically scream out, but rarely cried out. Even so, her making noise didn't seem to bother the fish. Upon getting the first fish on the line, she let out the best little laugh when the brookie took to the air. After bringing him to hand, her hand quickly shot out to the side of my head, wanting to touch the little guy. So I obliged, and quickly was given another laugh. First fishing trip was deemed a success from this point on. The other couple were just a ways upstream from me, and when I glanced back, they seemed mesmerized and watched up. It may have been that I was catching fish on just about every cast. For my part, I was happy, because almost every cast was to a specific fish. This was my first opportunity to do some sight fishing with dries this season. A total blast.

Eventually though, as kids do, she grew bored and would be a bit more vocal. So I'd moved along to a new spot, and she'd immediately be happy again, and then I'd get another 10 minutes or so to cast in the new hole before the process had to be repeated.

By the end, I think the stimulus got to be to much. Regardless of how much we moved, if I stopped she'd get upset. And judging by the time, it was time to head back to the truck for some lunch. Not 5 minutes into the hike out, she fell asleep on my back and slept all the way back down.

Post hike lunch
Judging by the smile on her face (and her cheeks stuffed with a cheese sandwich) I think it was a successful day. While packing up, I saw a couple other fisherman. It seems that they all struggled to bring in any fish. Meanwhile, I had about 6 to 8 fish to hand, and hooked several more. Who says kids need to stay quiet to catch fish?

We are already planning another trip for next weekend, with Mom joining the Mottled Fly Fisher! Should be a good time for all. Maybe this time, we'll have a picnic up on the trail.

Until next time!


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