The tweet went out last month. I was intrigued, I love bikepacking with kids!
hey @coldbike! Overnight bike packing. Minnewanka LM8. Fri April 29th First attempt with 4 year old Thomas! Gonna need your tips…
2016-03-18, 7:09 PM
I was pretty excited to see adam taking his kids out for some bikepacking goodness. I had met them previously at the park and around the neighbourhood and they seem like a fun family. Four-year-olds bikepacking seemed like a stretch, but with good planning…
We wanted to get in some bikepacking and we decided to tag along with Adam and Thomas. The Minnewanka trail is a favourite of ours, and family bikepacking is never a bad thing.
As the date approached, we decided that just Fiona and I would go, which would give me some time away with her and let Tadhg have a longer ride with me later.
The Friday came and though we had a couple of delays getting out of the house, we hit the road aiming to meet Adam in the parking lot at the trailhead. Adam was about half an hour ahead of us at this point, so fortunately he decided to start riding rather than wait for us.
This was Fiona’s first bikepacking ride with the fatbike, and as might be expected, it was a lot for her to handle. She was determined to prove to me that it was the right bike though, which probably saved me having to listen to a lot of whining. It was fairly slow going though since Fiona had to push up some of the steeper hills at the beginning of the trail.
When we got to the campground, Adam had set up his tent and was throwing rocks in the water with Thomas. Fiona went down to meet them and immediately became Thomas’s rock throwing buddy. I set up the tarp and soon they came up to see what I was doing.
Like most modern backcountry campgrounds, the food prep area at LM8 is quite a way from the tent area. We made our way over to have some dinner. I brought an alcohol stove on this trip, so there was lots of time to gather firewood while waiting for our water to boil.
Apparently Thomas’s favourite thing in the world is campfires because he was entranced, and spent the rest of the evening putting wood and rocks in the campfire, with a short break for s’mores. In a gesture of foresight and generosity, Adam shared beers with me as I had tragically neglected to bring any.
Though I hadn’t thought the rocks in the fire were that good an addition, they did provide us with some entertainment since they were glowing red with sparkles by the time we were putting out the fire for the night.
Fiona always sleeps her best in the backcountry, and this was no exception. Fiona sometimes has nightmares in which she shouts in her sleep, and apparently Thomas does too, though they were far enough away that I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been awake when it happened. Fiona slept in until 9:15 which is somewhat unprecedented, but I was glad she got enough sleep.
After a leisurely breakfast, (Adam and Thomas were up at 8 and had eaten by the time we got up) we packed up and hit the trail out. The riding went really well as the kids motivated each other. Fiona was showing off for her younger buddy, and he in turn was pushing himself to ride as much as her. Fiona had the advantage of size and low gears, but Thomas has some top-tier bike skills and the determination of a 4-year-old. It made the ride more fun for everyone and increased Thomas and Fiona’s friendship even further.
Adam’s big dummy as a bikepacking bike and sag-wagon combination worked super well. He has it set up as a 26+ mid-fat with wide rims and nearly 3″ wide tires. It handled the gravely trail well though it may also have been Adam’s bike handling skills.
If I have one complaint about this trip it is that it wasn’t long enough, but that’s probably a good complaint to have.