This year Robbert, Robin and me took our kids for the second year on a 3 day hike in the mountains of Andorra.
Nothing useful is taught the Army
Or, ‘I will not be able to use any of these skills later in life, when I have a civilian job..’ well, really? How about:
- navigating through hard terrain
- being mentally tough
- building a shelter
- taking care of yourself and your buddies in extreme climates
- being precise
- prepare for mission
Yes, what will come of todays youth? In our opinion, that is mostly up to yourself. Of course there are different elements that influence the way your kid will turn out. But we think that we as fathers can have a big positive influence, on how our kids will turn out. But what to do.. Well, do something that you love and share it with them, teach them how to do it. And as you can read in my points above, there are indeed a lot of ‘military’ skills you can pass on to your kids, whilst having a great time with some of your closest brothers!
Back to Nature
What better, than to take them the wilderness, where there are no distractions from wifi, ipads, iphones, toys, tv and other children. So no pressure from thát other child who has those cool sneakers or whatever. And best of all, you can show them all those ‘useless’ skills.
Proper planning prevents piss poor performance
Involve them in every step, at home preparing food, packing the backpacks, preparing the route.
The Mental aspect
We decided on a 30 kilometer route with approximately 2000 meters of altitude and the highest point being 2800 meters. Because hiking through the mountains is tough, even for adults, we made sure to make the first day the hardest, with almost 1000 meters of altitude. This because after that we can tell the kids, it will only get easier after that high point, which by the way was a real challenge with some steep trails and hard wind blowing down the mountainside that morning.
Setting up camp
After that first ‘hard’ day, with some sore shoulders(yes, even for us), we found the perfect campsite to stay the night. Just like last year we only took tarps and bivybags, no tents. This is also a great moment to teach your kid what to do first, because after a hard day of walking, most will start relaxing right away, but there was a good chance for rain, so build the camp first, relax later.
In the end we just had a few drops of rain, but still a good routine to set up camp first. And the kids had enough time to play and relax.
As I mentioned before, this is not just for you kids, you do this with some of your closest brothers of course! So for us too, a great moment to share stories about the old days.. and to evaluate the day.
‘Mostly’ down, is what we told the kids.. well and some climbing.. At least not as many km’s. Weather was beautiful from that point on and we reached our second campsite around 1400 that day. At this spot we also stayed last year and I already saw that is would be a great place to fish for trout, so this year I a brought a fly-fish set, to see if we could catch something to eat.
After 2 hours of trying different flies I caught a trout on a small black fly. Another good moment to teach the kids how to clean a fish and prepare it. It tasted very good.
A stunning place to camp..
Last day back down
Was by far the easiest day, a few hours down and just a few hundred meters up.
All in all a great trip for the kids and us. If you are ever thinking about doing something with your kids, go to the mountains, you will be able to teach them all kinds of stuff!
We will be going next year for sure.
So, what does it mean?
For us.., having a good time together, being able to teach them our skills, preparing them for the future, make them mentally stronger.
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More on our thoughts involving kids and preparing, read this.