I took my 2 boys on their first hiking trip from July 1st-July 4th. We did the Old Loggers Path in North Central PA. It's just north of Williamsport, PA.
We started Tuesday night after meeting RamblinRev at Maston. We hiked in 1/4 mile to the first campsite. With the sun setting, we took our time and my boys had their headlamps out. Once at camp, I prceeded to set up all 3 hammocks and tarps. Both boys lasted until about 5 min after I finished putting their setup up. My oldest was asleep before I got mine done. With the forcast at night to be in the mid 60's, I left my underquilt home to test some other stuff. I needed all my cloths to stay warm but that's why I brought it.
After breakfast, we headed off onto the trail. Plan was to hike for an hour, then take an extended break. Didn't want to push my boys to much. Well, I was not paying attention and missed when the trail broke uphill to the left. We kept hiking and crossed a stream. On the other side I mentioned that I couldn't see any blazes, but did I pull out my map and check? Nope. Well, half a mile later, we turned around and refilled our water at the stream and backtracked until I found the trail.
As we were nearing the top of the hill, I yelled back to my son to keep him moving when I hear someone call out ahead. Turns out it's RRev, he took a fall and ran out of water. So, after giving him some and making sure he knew where the stream was and that he was ok, we headed out. Close to lunch my youngest found some hawk feathers on the trail and stuck them on his pack, I started calling him Feather Hawk and he now has a trail name.
Of course, they kept bugging me asking when we would stop for lunch, I looked over my right shoulder to say "soon" as we entered a small clearing. Well, the trail doubled back to the left but we kept going straight. We ran into different blazes but they were the same color, so I figured they were a temporary trail due to alot of blowdowns. WRONG!
Turns out to be a 3 mile loop. We sat down to figure out where I went wrong, I finally turned Dad mode off and Hiker mode on. Once I realized, we were back off.
We arrived at camp around 5:30. I had figured we would be there around 4:30 but the extra 3 miles took a number on my oldest as we got closer to camp and we slowed our pace down. After setting up, my boys took a quick dip while I got dinner ready. Both were out before the sun was down. My youngest woke up in the middle of the night and was trying to wake the other because he was bored and couldn't sleep. I got up and sumbled my way in the pitch black over to his hammock. Told him he needed to go to sleep and then we were given the most impressive light show by fireflys I have ever seen. They were all over, blinking super fast. It was cool.
I let them sleep in since we did an extra 3miles we didn't have planned. We headed out and hit our first major up. We did it alot faster than I figured, and again, my kids surprized me. We were heading to the first good overlook of the trail for lunch. When we got there and were just resting, some day hikers came up and we talked for a bit. As they were leaving, they mentioned that it was calling for a chance of thunderstorms off and on all afternoon. Just as we are finishing up, my youngest says "Look dad, I can see the clouds coming down the valley. I turn and look. That's not clouds, that's rain. We pack up as quick as we can and break down the trail looking for a place to setup my tarp and hunker down to wait out the storm. As soon as it was up and they boys under the thunder started. We rode out the storm and we decided to just get to the next camp a mile away and we would call it there.
*Note to self: Too much free time in camp is a bad thing with 2 boys.
During the night, I woke up to it raining cats and dogs and cows. At least that's what it sounded like. In the morning, all warm and dry. I even slept in shorts with nothing but hammock under me. Funny thing is, one of my friends said he hoped it didn't rain because sleeping in mud stinks. I told him to look at the pictures again and see why mud doesn't bother us.
We headed out the next morning at 8am. We hiked 7 miles and got to the road around 2. I called the trip short due to loosing 4-5 miles due to rain and not wanting to push them too much. We started hiking the 3 mile road walk when a nice local stopped and gave us a ride to our car.
So actual trail miles: 16. Dad mode miles: 4. Road walk ~1mile