Because I just ran two trips back-to-back, this posting is right on the heels of the previous one about our Colorado Adventure. While both trips were multisport adventures, the one in Lake Tahoe, as a Family tour, was wildly different.
We only started running Family Adventures last year, with an initial Yellowstone trip done as a test. It was incredibly successful and we had all 14 participants from that trip sign up for the Lake Tahoe Family Adventure this year. In addition, my niece and nephew, Erica and Brian, brought with them their parents (my brother Dave and sister-in-law Sharon) and their grandparents (my parents Spencer and Beverly). So, this was indeed a family trip for me!
Our family adventures are designed with both the parents and kids in mind. The key concept is to structure the tour so some activities are enjoyed by everyone as a group while other activities are done separately. For example, on one day our entire group went rafting on the Truckee River, coming home with wet clothes and exciting stories of the “Jaws” rapid. The next day we split the group for a hiking day. Most of the parents and older kids did a long hiking route of six miles that went uphill to the top of Squaw Valley. The short route, attended by all the younger kids and some of the parents, took a gondola ride to the top where the group did a shorter hike. So, everyone enjoyed the rafting together but those parents who wanted a workout could do the tougher hike without worrying about their kids.
After three days, because of the activities I was leading, I found that I had spent most of my time with the adults and older kids. I hadn’t yet bonded (on this trip at least) with the younger kids. One of my best experiences of the tour was to quickly change that! Getting done early from a biking day, I drove the kids back to the hotel and the outdoor pool. I jumped in with Erica, Brian, Wendy, Adam, Noah, and Rebecca and was the immediate center of the kids’ attention. For the next two hours, I got a workout by throwing balls, playing Marco Polo, and carrying kids around on my back.
It was great fun and I think indicative of the family tours. The kids just want to have fun and that is what happens on the family tours. While the parents might love that they are not responsible for making decisions, don’t have to drive a car, and can leave their kids in our hands for much of the tour, the kids simply want to have fun. And whether it is singing in the car, playing games in the park, or taking part in our scheduled activities, they definitely know how to do it!
Next year we will have two Family Adventures: Yellowstone and Colorado. I am sure glad we added the family trips!