My oldest had a day off school and he asked if he and I could go on a hike on our own. He wanted to go to Mystery Lake and check it out before we go snowshoeing there this winter. We had talked about going to Mystery Lake a number of times and had also talked about the hikes it would be difficult to take my youngest on. I am believer that sometimes we need to take our individual children out and give them 100% of our attention and this was one of those times.
It started the night before by examining maps of the area, looking at topography, and doing some planning. Mystery Lake is well marked; however, it was a great opportunity to do a lesson around map reading and planning.
The hike is about 3km round trip. It is a fairly easy hike but only because of the distance. It actual climbs quite a bit, just under 150m in elevation, but the climb is over large roots and loose rock. This trail is far from accessible and is not stroller or wheelchair friendly. It is very kid friendly though, and in the summer you can find families grabbing a snack waterside and even swimming (when we were there it was a little cold and rainy for that).
It took us under 45 mins to ascend to the lake. My oldest loves scrambling so we practised on the rocks and ridges around the lake climbing up to get better views. We examined bear scat to try to figure out what they were eating and giggled at the fact that we were poking bear poop with a stick.
My son asked if we could continue to the top of the chairlift, so we left Mystery Lake and facing up hill walked to the left towards the chairlift venture onto the ski run (Northlands). We walked up the loose rock to the top of lift and looked towards Brockton Chair where we decided we would hike next time we came up together.
After enjoying the view we decided to walk down the ski run. On the way down we passed a few backpackers who were heading off into the backcountry for some camping. They probably thought we were crazy as we laughed so hard about my sons impersonation of a chipmunk trying to run downhill on their hind legs (you probably had to be there).
When we were almost at the bottom my son asked to go see Goldie Dam so we made a quick u-turn up the trail to go explore a bit and then head down.
We got back to the parking lot and stripped off some of our layers. My son asked if we could go to McDonalds and although I really kind stand it he had worked hard so I took him for a treat (plus they have surprisingly good coffee!)
We had an awesome day… and on the way home I was asked if we could go hiking, just the two of us, every once in a while. Of course I said yes and we immediately started planning our next outing.
When you have a special needs child they often get a lot of extra attention. It is important to make sure that your other children also get time with you alone… all of your focus on them and only them. Trust me, it will pay off, and not just for them.