Don’t plan your next adventure – let the kids do it

Want to get youth excited about an outdoor adventure? Get them involved in choosing the destination! Last week I visited with a scout group regarding backpacking and Leave No Trace. They’re planning on a 50ish-mile backpacking trip this summer and thought they could use some insight. Plus I wanted to bust the myth that Leave No Trace (LNT) requires you to pack out your poop – most places a cat hole is sufficient!

Their mission was to choose one of the three potential backpacking trips with the goal of testing their knowledge, endurance, and gear. At first I only told them the location, land manager, and distance. Then they had to ask the right questions to get more details on which trip is right for their group and goals.  Once they picked their trip we went through each LNT principle with that trip in mind. Their options are listed below and as long as group size works any of the three would be a great destination.

Decisions. Decisions.

Decisions. Decisions.

1. Desolation Wilderness – Eldorado National Forest
Hike: Echo Lakes to Eagle Falls
Distance: 19 miles (thru-hike)
Elevation: 7,000 to 10,000
Permit: wilderness permit – quota system
Group size: 12 max
Fires: none
Food storage: canisters or hang

2. Tahoe Rim Trail Section – Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park
Hike: Tahoe Meadows to Spooner Lake
Distance: 21.8 miles (thru-hike)
Elevation: 7,000 to 8,000
Permit: none
Group size: not limited
Fires: in designated fire rings, follow restrictions
Food storage: bear boxes at campgrounds
Other: campgrounds first come-first serve, potable water at all campgrounds

3. Hoover Wilderness – Toiyabe National Forest
Hike: Twin Lakes to Buckeye Campground
Distance: 22 miles (thru-hike)
Elevation: 7,000 to 10,000
Permit: wilderness permit, quota season last Friday in June through September 15
Group size: 15 max, Sawtooth Zone 8 max
Food storage: canisters required
Fires: area specific regulations, follow restrictions
Other: cross into Yosemite National Park during trip (if traveling with a dog, choose a different route)

This activity got me thinking, giving youth options for your next family adventure would be a great way to get them involved. Although, unless you want to end up at Disneyland for all of your adventures, I’d give them options. This gives them ownership of the trip and gives them an opportunity to take over some (or all) of the planning. Help guide them along the way, but give them the room to discover.

Which one of the trips above do you think the scouts chose? Which one would you choose?

-Trails

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