Permission to Chill

Long term travel is not for everyone. Living out of a bag, switching time zones, bouncing from place to place for months at a time. It can be stressful. It can be chaotic. It can be overwhelming. Perhaps even more so when you travel with kids, but especially teens with their specific needs.

An important part of a our travel plan to reduce the stress and disruption is to plan plenty of down time. I found that constantly going about as a tourist or traveling all day and then jumping right into exploring takes too much out of us for an extended period of time. Years ago I resolved to give us plenty of time to relax. It is just as essential to our travels as the adventures are. It is also another reason why we prefer slow travel – allowing ourselves the time to live in a place as opposed to just visiting a place. Many travelers are on a constant loop of go, go, go – but outside of seeing all the touristy aspects of a location, so much joy can come from giving yourself permission to relax.

Now it is an expectation and my guys’ need to balance the fun with the “chill days” is real. We recently spent a few days camping along the coast in Olympic National Park. It was a few hours drive from our current location, then three days/two nights at a campground. Limited facilities never mind practically no cell service and absolutely no electricity. Needless to say, this adventure took them completely out of their comfort zone. I expected it, but was still surprised how stressed it made them to be without their screens.

The planned two days of down time after this mini-trip-within-a-trip was exactly what they needed to restore everyone.  What do you use to keep everyone tuned into the traveling?

 

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Upward and onward

Since we arrived in Salt Lake City we have all been in awe of the gorgeous mountains surrounding the city. We came here with the intent to hike as often as possible. All the boys have decided that “it would just be like walking, except you’re going up.” I kept telling them that from ground-level and from a distance, the mountains may not look that high, but to trust me, they are high. Most +/- 14,000′ high, to be exact.

I pulled out my AllTrails app and researched where we should head first. All trails are rated Easy, Moderate, and Hard. They insisted that we do the hard ones because “easy trails are just walks.” I knew better, so I found us one with great reviews that was rated Moderate.

We got our packs ready and headed out to hike Desolation Trail – they loved the name, btw – with intent to get to the Salt Lake Overlook. The trail has an incline rise of nearly 1,250′ and at the highest point you’re at over 6,800′. This trail is advertised as being mostly shaded and having a number of switchbacks that take you to the top. I thought it was the perfect compromise to get us started with hiking here.

Goodness gracious, it was a steady climb and it was HARD. However, right when you felt like your legs wouldn’t be able to climb another inch, the trail leveled off a bit so you could get some rest in. It was pleasantly shaded and opened to expansive views of the other ridges and gorgeous trees. Of which, I have decided, that I am in love with. The motto of the day was “slow and steady.” Every time you stopped to rest it was harder to get into the rhythm again. Things in motion stay in motion, and all that.

Drix went off ahead, even running at times, while Aiden, myself, and Little trudged our way along. We got about halfway up when we met up with Drix. At that point we all decided that we were completely okay with calling it a day and to start making our way back down. Ironically enough, as we were making our way down, we got passed again by the gentleman who was at least 20 years older than me that ran past us a quarter of the way up. Turns out, this hike is known to be great for families and trail running. Apparently, you need to grow up with mountain legs instead of sea legs like I have in order to run up mountains.

I am in ernest to head back and give it another go. The boys are less excited about that idea. However, if we can’t get up a Moderate trail, then how are we ever going to hike those Hard ones they are so interested in?

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Aiden around a bend. The big guys weren’t interested in letting me snap photos this day, so I had to hang back a bit and wait for him to come. 

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