Roadtrippin': Who says it's not fun to hike with kids?
When Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman “Hig” got married and started having children they assumed they’d have to give up hiking and long treks around Alaska or leave their babies with grandma so they could backpack and go on long excursions that sometimes lasted for weeks.
Then, they realized that was crazy and brought the kids with them.
When Katmai (named after the volcano) and Lituya (for Lituya Bay) were babies it meant packing them up in infant backpacks, then, as they got older, the two children walked by themselves. They’ve both recently started carrying their own packs and supplies.
“For myself I think being outdoors is basic learning,” Hig said, “the thing is there’s so much you do, and end up learning by being here.”
The family of four often takes hiking trips that last for weeks, months. Daily they’ll be out walking the trails in Seldovia for up to two hours.
Erin says when they start planning a trip they set daily goals, but with the understanding that all plans can be tossed.
“When we start thinking about trips it’s like ‘well it would be really cool to go here and play, to go here and just spend some time in the wildness,’” Hig said. “For the kids camping is sort of a natural habitat of children. I think they have a great time, and sometimes there’s conflicts between different goals of a 6 year-old old and us but it works pretty well.”
Erin, a science reporter for the Alaska Dispatch News, is also a writer with four books. Her most recent one called “Mud Flats and Fish Camps” details the family’s 800 mile trip around Cook Inlet.
She jokingly referred to it as not a ‘how-to’ book, but as a ‘how not-to,’ book.
The family’s next adventure will be a nine-month trip through South America. They’re learning Spanish, by Skype, to prepare.