Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mom's Road Trip


All of our family outdoor adventures happen the same way.  Mom and Dad do almost all of the packing and planning.  Dad drives most of the time and packs the most gear.  Dad leads and navigates us from point A to point B.  It has become such a regular system I often wonder if I could set off on an adventure with the children by myself?  Can I pack, plan, drive, carry the gear and navigate by myself?  Is it important for me to do so?  Answer to both questions is YES!

The role of a mom is a never ending list and multi tasking is a must.  Prepare meals and endless snacks.  Clean up food, toys, and clothes; laundry, oh the never ending laundry; school commitments and extra curricular activities; driving here and there; squeeze walking to school in there; disciplining and teaching right from wrong; loving, nurturing, and sharing life together.  Being a mom also means being a role model, the most important role model a child can have. (As well as Dad).  The more I thought about a road trip with just me and the kids the more I realized how valuable the experience would be for me and them.  I would be able to demonstrate confidence, leadership and instil the value of being active.  Statistics show that older children are twice as likely to be active if their mothers are active and almost six times more likely if both parents are active. 

Why do most women have issues with navigating?  This drives me mad.  I research where we are going, study maps, spend hours on Google Earth and still will find myself completely wrong in which direction we are going.  There is a fear of getting lost and this fear carries over to driving.  What if I drive the wrong way?  Heaven help if I drive down a dead end street! Yikes!  It’s like my mind has me thinking I am going to drive off the edge of the earth.  It drives me mad.  Funny thing is I have never been lost.  Crazy!  One obstacle I had to overcome before setting off on a road trip with just me and the kids was driving us to where we were going.  Not much of an obstacle considering there are only two ways to get where I was going and I have travelled on both highways before.  In the Nanaimo area on Vancouver Island the major highways go North and South.  East will lead you to the ocean and west will probably lead you on gravel forestry roads through the mountainous regions.  Which, at that point, I would hope to think I would stop and turn around.  Ok, think I got this covered.   Next was packing our gear, food, and the usual road trip items.  No troubles there.  Can I carry all the gear?  Well, if we were backpacking and camping for two days it would have been a concern.  This time all I needed to pack was food, extra clothes, basic first aid supplies, and cameras as we were only tackling day hikes.  This is not new for me but if it is your first time it can be intimidating thinking about everything you need to have for you and two kids when exploring trails.   

Next was navigating.  This would prove to be the biggest hurdle for me to cross.  I chose areas that had marked trails and even then I still ended up going the wrong way.  Not lost but wrong from where I thought we were going.  Once Ben commented that the trail we were on looked familiar to him.  Of course it did, I had navigated us in a circle!  I felt a little better knowing my 6 year old could get us out of there if needed.  

So did I accomplish what I set out to do?  Absolutely!  Ben, Liv and I had a blast!  In two days I was not just mom, I was the leader, the provider, and the companion.  We hiked, explored new areas, saw some amazing wildlife and shared each others company.  I showed them that mom can do things outside her comfort zone and still be confident.  I was a role model for being active. We never drove off the edge of earth, we did not get lost and we had everything we needed.  It may not have been the normal way we adventure but we did it and we did it together.  I am looking forward to the next “Mom’s road trip”.  I am thinking a backpacking trip would be fun but I won’t lie, I will probably get a GPS for that one.  And perhaps a pack mule.

 So where did we go on our first Mom’s road trip?  We travelled from Nanaimo to Campbell River via Highway 1 and the Island Highway (Hwy 19).  On day 1 we stopped in Fanny Bay to view the California Sea Lions that gather at the government wharf every year around this time.  They are here waiting for the herring to arrive for their annual spawn.  The sea lions are a must see and a must hear!  Hundreds barking at the same time constantly is quite the sound.   

Next was exploring the trails alongside Black Creek Estuary.  We had 2km of trails all to ourselves.  Majority of the time was spent throwing rocks into the creek and watching the eagles battle the wind.   

Day 2 started off with breakfast while watching Orcas swim thru the Discovery Passage. (Between Campbell River and Quadra Island)  Then it was a day exploring the Beaver Lodge Land Trails in Campbell River.  The trail system is 1,028 acres of reforested land preserved in a trust from the Elk River Timber Company, which it turned over in 1931 and was the first forest plantation in British Columbia.  The trail system has 11 different trails to choose from.  

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