Blow Lake is a wonderful short backpacking trip with small children. About 30 miles west of Bend in the Cascades and easily accessible from the Cascade Lakes Highway, Blow Lake gives you and the kids a wilderness experience close to home. Drake (age 5), Shane (age 3) and I headed out on a brisk fall day.The hike in from the highway is only about a mile and only gains about 140 feet. Far enough that the little ones will feel accomplished, but not too far if things go nutty.
The hike in is through a burn area that is slowly recovering. Lottsa sticks for the kids play with and a good teaching moment as you can explain the fire cycle.
Along hikes like this for the kids, it's always important to take time to enjoy the little things. The rocks you find, interesting plants, ants and funny tree trunks. Remember that the kids aren't so interested in the destination, they like the cool things they find along the journey.
Dinner after the grueling hike in.
The moonset over Blow Lake.
Hmm. Yummy oatmeal! A good lesson on this trip was to bring extra layers-way more than you think-for the kids. This is October and the nights can get cold in Central Oregon, but you can still get some good outdoors trips in.
I'm usually a no fire guy, but if there's a fire ring already established I'm okay with it. The kids of course love the fire. Yay!
The morning before the hike out as the mist floats across the lake. Yes we were only a mile into the wilderness, but in the end the kids felt great and really experienced the outdoors without an umbilical cord.