Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
In what he described as a “monumental undertaking”, Aaron Teasdale, a Montana based writer-photographer, took his two young sons on a 6-week mountain bike backpacking expedition from Glacier National Park in Montana, to Banff National Park in Canada. Teasdale and his sons rode a massive triple-seater mountain bike, which allowed the two smaller boys to keep up with their father, but caused them to have to invent some tricky bike maneuvers to get over the many fallen trees that blocked the rough trail they were following. His wife Jaqueline accompanied them and towed along a BOB trailer that contained much of their gear and food. Check out these links below to follow his journey and see pictures of a VERY cool family-style mountain bike.
How We Did It
Aaron Teasdale: Weblog
I’ve always been a bit of an insomniac, but with this pregnancy I’ve often found myself up late at night, wandering around the thicket of the interwebs. Among other research, I’ve been searching for examples of familes who have managed to maintain an adventurous lifestyle with their children. One of the first family adventures I came across is the tale of Ben and Kami Crawford, who backpacked the 93 mile Wonderland Trail with their 4 children ages 2,4,6 and 8. It took them 12 days to hike the trail, which loops around the base of Mt. Ranier, during which time they gained and lost around 20,000 feet in elevation. There are a few hairy moments; morale flagged during the constant rain mid-trip, a few dicey suspension bridge crossings had me squirming a little, and I can’t help but think about what I would do differently in terms of preparedness for extreme conditions. But overall, they had a great trip and I find it heartening to see an example that negates all the comments I’ve been getting about how we’ll never be able to leave the house again after we have kids. You can watch all 9 narrated slideshows of their trip here.
In 2007, filmmakers Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison, along with their 2 year old son Zev and their border collie Willow, set out to explore the landscapes of Canada as immortalized in the writings of Farley Mowat. To do so, they had to canoe, hike and sail over 5000 miles from the midwestern prairies of Canmore, Alberta to the shores of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. Along the way they passed through native villages, went north across the barrens to Hudson Bay, and encountered a great variety of wildlife, including one memorable scene where they have to canoe right past a polar bear. The bugs nearly drove them insane and the deep, muddy portages practically sucked the boots off their feet, but all three pushed on to their final destination. Their two-year-old son, Zev, seemed to take the whole trip in stride, and exhibited a calmness throughout the journey that makes me think about how kids adjust to what’s “normal” in their lives. If a child grows up thinking that pulling a canoe upstream through thickets and rapids is how life happens, he won’t be upset when put in that situation. If a kid is raised in front of a television and never learns to self-amuse, he’ll likely shatter under the strain of such a journey. Since we probably aren’t going to do such a long and involved journey,we’ll have to find some sort of middle ground. It’s this sense of living with the wild as “normal daily life” that we really want to foster in our own kids.
Finding Farley has won awards at several major outdoor film festivals, including the top prize at the 2009 Banff Film Festival. You can watch the entire film at Heur and Allison’s website, Neccessary Journeys.