I recently took some time off of work to hike a 90 mile section of the Appalachian Trail (in Shenandoah National Park), with my 7 year old son Phoenix. Since it was his first backpacking trip we went slow and the trek (including 4 off days) took us about 2.5 weeks. We carried absolutely everything we needed to survive on our backs. We had a 7 day stretch with no shower, a 2.5 day stretch with no water source, and a 2 day period where we didn’t see a single other person. We filtered drinking water out of mountain streams, cooked on our tiny backpacking stove, and had one change of clothes for the whole trip. We hiked up and down mountains all day every day in the sun and the rain with ginormous super heavy packs strapped to our backs (imagine scaling mountains 8 hours a day carrying a bag of 5 bowling balls, that was my pack lol), had a couple of nights where the temp. was in the high 20′s, and slept through thunderstorms. And we absolutely loved each and every single second we spent alone with each other in the great outdoors. Bliss.

We will most likely hike the entire 2,000+ mile trail someday, perhaps when he is 12 or 13.

Here are some i-phone photos from our trip. If you think I was about to add another 10 pounds of weight to my monster pack to bring a real camera, think again;)Yes, these are just snapshots, but I hope you enjoy taking a peek at some of our experiences and learning a little about what I love.

Every other night we camped in the backcountry. On top of a mountain, all by ourselves.

Phoenix & I ♥

We took 2 off days to go into Luray, VA & visit Luray caverns.

The Susquehanna River, PA, on the drive to VA.

Our stove & a mini bic.

Love of my life ♥

An AT thru hiker & his dog. Tracker & Tracer.

My son’s trail name was Hardcore Sixpack. Not many 7 year olds hike the trail so the thru hikers thought he was a tough guy:)They called me Mom.

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