This last weekend Sabrina, my seven year old daughter, and I went on a backpacking trip in the Cascade mountains of Washington. She’s starting to carry more and more of her own gear and this time it included all her clothes, water, candles, binoculars, water bladder, pillow and some other odds and ends. It’s really nice seeing her shoulder more of her gear, especially as it means my pack gets lighter by proxy.
One thing I failed to pack for her this trip were some books for bedtime. We’ve been reading to her at bedtime since before she was born and now that she can read, she tends to read a few extra books after we’re done. While I didn’t have one of her books with me, I did have my current book of choice The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons. This first hand account by Major Powell himself of the first full exploration of the Colorado River by rafts has been a wonderful read for me so far as it passes through lands I’ve visited.
Half jokingly I handed it to her at bed time after telling her story about a crow was a bit too braggadocios and ends up getting help from a family of geckos after he breaks a wing. In place of reading her a story, Sabrina requests that I make up a story, which until recently has been difficult for me. So after the story I handed her the Powell book as i wished to do some journalling before lights out. At first she rolled her eyes, until I showed her all the cool drawings throughout the book. Pictures of the Native Americans Powell met along the way, the rapids, soaring canyons and of the men making camp to repair damage or cut new oars. The book has a wealth of drawings so I thought it’d occupy her.
While she liked the pictures, she decided to start reading the story to her two ‘buddies’, Snowdash and Ash (a stuffed snow leopard and jaguar, respectively). In the end I stopped journalling to help her with the hard words and it ended up being one of the most relaxing tented evenings I can remember. The two of us sharing a single headlamp starting an expedition with Powell and his men. I couldn’t help but glow at the thought of growing the already planted seed of adventure and travel that Sabrina has seemed to inherent from her parents. All because I failed to pack her preferred books for the night.