Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bike camping at its finest

Bike camping at its finest, originally uploaded by stoutag.

We took our first bike camping trip with the kiddos this last weekend. It was beautiful, fun, and a lot of work ;)

We rode up Lefthand Canyon past Jamestown and hit a singletrack trail up over the crest around 22 miles up from Longmont, 8,400ft elevation, and rode down to where we setup camp.

A couple years ago when we first braved backpacking with out older child, our first trip was unforgetable on more than one front, but the one that comes to mind is the overpacking first time parent, who in this particular case happens to be be carrying *everything* on their own back. Thus we were propelled into the lightweight backpacking age after lumbering up a 6 mile hike in with somewhere around 70lbs worth of stuff for an overnight stay in a mountain meadow. By the end of that summer through many steps we'd widdled our weight down to a much more manageable 30lbs or so for food and gear for the whole family

Now after last summer off from mountain adventures from a then pregnant wife, this was our first time back up, and this time, with two kids and doing it via bike as a now car free family.

In some ways it definitely reminded me of that first time backpacking. There's just no way around it, riding up 3,500ft with a load of kids and gear is not easy. Is it worth it? I suppose that depends on who you talk to. To us, yes, although it makes me think about getting that electric assist up and running on the llama sooner than later ;)

When we got back on Sunday, after settling back in and unpacking a bit the first thing we did was reevaluate the loads, and start to trim the fat. After much calculation and brainstorming we figured ways with a bit of gear making and a bit of creativity to pare our loads back by around 16lbs, which leaves our current total gear/food weight for an overnight at somewhere around 45-50lbs for the whole family.

We'll hopefully get in another overnight camping trip at least once in the next two weeks just to iron out a few more details before we head out on a 2 week bike tour with the kids up through the Rockies.