Leisure Life: 2 Sherpas & A 2-Year-Old

via Jeff Griffith-Jones, General Manager Of Operations – AVAC

Jeff and Stuart

Two weekends ago I took my son on his second Sierra backpacking trip.  The first was when he was five months old and we had two llamas to carry gear…story for another time.  This time around I needed an extra set of legs and strong back since my wife is 7 months pregnant–yes, even I can only handle so much judgment—so my dad offered to carry Stuart so I could carry our 65 lbs worth of stuff.

Half the fun of these adventures is the trip itself, the other half is everyone’s reaction to them.  Some think I’m negligent, others think it’s awesome, but mostly I get “OMG, why?!?”  Let me tell you.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a few parents at AVAC and Open Space that kept their lives almost exactly the same with children compared to pre-child, and for the betterment of their partnerships and the kids. I love that. It’s like the announcement on the airplane “If you’re traveling with a small child, place the mask on yourself first before helping the child.”  In order to be the best father, husband, employee, human, etc, I need to make sure I am fulfilled. That’s right, it’s all about me.

Seriously, my reasons for carrying a yodeling, constantly-hungry, dirt-worshipper on my back for miles mostly have to do with what the outdoors does for children:

  • “Unlike television, nature does not steal time; it amplifies it…Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses.” Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods.
  • “The natural world promotes positive cognitive development, increasingly important in a world that is dominated by computers, television, and other sedentary activities.” Christopher Van Tilburg, M.D. Introducing Your Kids to the Outdoors.

So what did we do among the lakes and granite peaks for three days? Hiked, swam, sang do-re-me 126 times, stalked chipmunks, skipped stones, climbed rocks, cooked gourmet meals, sipped single malt (2 of us), ate M&Ms, potty trained, rode in a water taxi…

Talk to me if you want more details, or visit my Facebook album for some great pics.

Happy Trails!

-Jeff Griffith Jones
Almaden Valley Athletic Club

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