Apparently it's called 'mizzle' - a mix of mist and drizzle - but whatever the name it seems to be the dominant weather pattern here, on the easternmost piece of rock in North America. Although F definitely has her objections I actually kind of like it. It's much more comfortable for hiking with a heavy pack than hot sun, and it even keeps the bugs down somewhat. We saw a lot of mizzle on our trip, along with hot sun, a few icebergs, some world-class scenery, and more whales than I've seen in the rest of my life combined (by at least an order of magnitude, and despite living on the west coast for the past 14 years, with three month-long kayak-based trips in there).
For our daughter F, aged 5, it would also be the longest hiking trip she's done by a wide margin. 75 km over 10 days / 9 nights, with 8 of those nights in a tent. Of course, the same could be said for our almost 2 year old N... but she was carried for substantial portions of the trip. That, combined with Line being 5 months pregnant, made us wonder if we'd actually complete the trip at all... but with the help of another family (Scott and Sandra who have a 7 year old, E, and a 4 year old, H, of thier own) we decided to keep with our plans and at least attempt it, even once we knew kid #3 was on the way.
Our friend Pascale has gotten into the habit of booking a group site on Newcastle at some point in June. This was the first year we were able to join. We have however been to Newcastle before. Last time was in fact N's first camping trip at 5 weeks old. Originally we had planned on just walking on the nanaimo ferry, and walking along the waterfront to the Newcastle ferry. Wednesday night Christian suggested that we try to bring a canoe, since the kids have this newfound joy of canoeing. I have been trying to pack for our trip to Newfoundland next week, so even the thought of finding a canoe and organizing the stuff seemed overwhelming to me, so I told him that he would be in charge. By Friday evening he had borrowed a canoe, removed the roof box from our car, and packed most of our stuff. We were ready to go.
After having taken the basic paddler course with the Beaver Canoe club, I was keen to get out to test some of my new skills, so we decided to join some of our friends on the River of Golden Dreams in Whistler. This turned out to be both a lovely and expensive day. We still don't own a canoe, so we usually rent one. Most of the time we rent close to were we put in as it is more convenient, but often also a little more expensive than renting from MEC for example. We decided on the same strategy for this trip.
Here are five tweaks we've made to our Haul-a-Day cargo bike; some are quicker than others, but they've all made our lives easier. Of course we extended the fenders almost all the way to the ground... but we also did some more creative things like shimming our kickstand to bring the balance point into an easier spot, permanently mounted ski-straps in just the right spot for towing, made a chariot attachment adapter, and added some "wheels" in the back corner of the frame that let you easily push it around when oriented vertically.
This year I managed to book the ACC's Wendy Thompson hut over Easter. That in it self is a bit of a feat. To insure that we could get the spots, I was ready by the computer as reservations opened exactly 6 months before Easter. At that point I didn't have a plan or a crew, but at I had 16 cabin spots - ready to get filled with families.
The winter is well over now, but I've been meaning to type down something about our record-size snowcave from this past January, before I loose the measurements... It was a great trip, with two families and 7 people total in the same snowcave. A combination of prior snowcaving experience and the help of Miriam, our favourite extra-adult, allowed us to dig out what is certainly the largest snowcave I have yet constructed - Final dimensions were 4.1m long by 3m wide, with a ceiling height of 1.2m (in the center of the sleeping platform - standing height in the vestibule). A smooth ceiling ensured not a single drip, and the ceiling thickness of 65cm meant no sagging overnight (at least, not enough to measure with our avalanche-probe ruler). In the morning I could jump on the ceiling and not punch through.
A few years ago I made a pair of crampons for F, and posted about them. I've since made a half-dozen pairs for her as she's grown and for a few other kids we've gone hiking with. I didn't really explain how to make them very well, though. So here are some instructions.
Last weekend the weather was forecast to be beautiful, so we made a last minute decision to go camping, and convinced a few friends to come. After a few emails back and forth we settled on Joffre Lakes. The park website had some serious warnings about ice on the trail. We figured it probably wasn't so bad, but still decided to bring microspikes for all the adults, and Christian stayed up a few extra hours making kid crampons for the four hiking kids. In the end the kids ended up disappointed due to the lack of ice on the trail. One of them still insisted on wearing the crampons on a ice covered mud puddle at the upper lake.
We arrived at the parking lot around 11am and managed to snatch the last free parking spot. Scott and Sandra had to park at the new lower lot. The trail was busy. It seemed particularly busy when you are wearing giant backpacks and have four young kids blocking the way of other hikers. The kids did amazing though and we arrived at the second lake within a couple of hours with very little complaining. Christian had put his new hiking tactic - the "slow down you whipper-snappers you're hiking too fast!" game to good work. We had a long break and only lost a few gold fish crackers and half a bagel to the very aggressive whisky jacks.
The trip sure did not start out relaxing. First I spend two days packing food, sorting gear and trying to squish it all into the car, while N constantly tried to rearrange everything. We picked up Christian straight from work, made it onto the ferry and then spend an hour driving towards Ucluelet with two screaming kids in the back. Eventually though they settled down and we drove most of the way there in silence. We didn't make it passed Kennedy Lake before nightly road closure, so we camped on the side of the road. From here on everything seemed to only get better though...
See also posts from different legs of our trip:
We "just" (ok - it's been a month) got back from 2 months cycle-touring around Europe. We toured through Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany (with a few flights, ferries, and trains in there). We took it easy in terms of distances covered, averaging about 40 km per day, so that the kids would have lots of time to play. But we still had some long days, and several days with elevation gains approaching 1000 m. Trip reports to come (spoiler - it was incredible)... but most questions are about the logistics and equipment, so let's start there!
Our youngest daughter, N, rode in the chariot bike trailer all the time. Our oldest daughter, F, had the option of riding her own bike, sitting on the back of my cargo bike, or sitting in the chariot. I would say that she rode her own bike about 25% of the time. Not surprisingly, she had a strong preference for sitting out all of the long uphills. She also never really went in the chariot unless she wanted to sleep or it was raining. Usually I would tow the chariot and we would just strap F's bike sideways across Line (mom)'s panniers. If we anticipated a lot of switching back-and-forth Line would tow the chariot and I would use the cargo bike to tow F's bike (riderless) as this was a faster transition. If I was already towing the chariot, but needed to take F's bike as well, I could also stick it vertically on the back along with all our stuff, or sideways on the front rack, but both of these took more time to set up than towing. So we had a lot of options.
All the listed weights were "typical underway" weights in the middle of the trip (specifically, when we weighed everything just as we left our friend's house in Zurich). We weren't carrying very much food/water at the time - only a day or two. Sometimes we carried for up to 4 days. We could definitely feel the difference. You can add up all the weights below, but I'll save you the trouble - all the stuff and kids together weighed in at 343 lbs being hauled around by 303 lbs worth of parents.
Dad's setup - Haul-A-Day (cargo bike), by Bike Friday
Rider Age: 35 years
Rider Weight: 158 lbs
Bike Age: 2 weeks
Bike (+ gear) Weight: 124 lbs (or 251 lbs if I also had F on the back and was towing N in the chariot - the most common configuration)
Drivetrain: 3 chainrings (30-50), 8 cogs (34-11) (with 20"x1.75" wheels and 170 mm cranks)
Lowest Gearing: 1.29 (ratio of pedal to pavement movement)
Highest Gearing: 6.64 (ratio of pedal to pavement movement)
Accessories: Beefier frame option, massive kickstand, dynamo-hub powered lights, "BigFoot" footrests with slot for towing, passenger railing / cushion, front rack (frame, not wheel, mounted).