Backpacking – The Next Generation

A Father’s Day weekend trip where my buddy Josh and I took Avery for his first backpacking trip.

There are certain friends who help shape, influence and become part of your life over years. Where it goes beyond grabbing a beer or taking a trip together.

Back in Rhode Island, I am fortunate to have friends who have shared many important events in  my life with…and more than a few beers. 🙂  With an upcoming wedding, it is not a question of them being able to make it to Colorado. They will be there to share in this event.

Likewise, I’ve been able to form some close friendships with some people in Colorado.

Among them is my friendship with the Zapins

Over the years we’ve shared outdoor trips together, holidays, helping each other out with problems big or small and generally being there for each other.  Josh is even going to officiate the wedding for someone and I.

Their children have adopted me as a honorary uncle and have seen the boys go from infancy to early childhood.

So, I was quite honored to be asked to accompany Josh on Avery’s first backpacking trip on Father’s Day Weekend.

The outdoors are important. Something to be preserved, cherished and enjoyed. And the best way to continue the protection of the mountains, lakes, tress and flowers? Getting a new generation out there. Letting them seeing the beauty we see. Letting them enjoy the outdoors the way we enjoy it.  Showing them a world away from Nintendo and Netflix.

Josh wanted the trip to be memorable. Something other than the local mountains (pretty as they are) near Boulder. A long-ish drive and something Avery had not seen before.

The chosen trip would be Missouri Lakes.  Only 3 miles one way and less than 1500′ gain, it is a perfect children’s backpack.  Waterfalls, wildflowers, streams, bridges, lakes, big mountains and lemon slushies would abound! 🙂

At 8am, I stopped by the Zapin household, loaded up the Kia and off we went.

Part of the experience was grabbing a big breakfast on the way.  In the town of Idaho Springs, we went to local diner and had food normally not had in the Zapin household (or in mine for that matter! ). The novelty of chicken-fried  steak intrigued Avery. And having a LARGE glass of chocolate milk with breakfast made the trip cool already!

An hour or so later, w e made it to the trailhead, suited up and off we went.

Avery and Josh

Part of the trip was point out the wildflowers to Avery.   A wildflower guide book was brought along and Avery became quite good at identifying the flowers based on colors and leaves.



Along the way, a small pond, waterfalls, creeks and wooden bridges also proved to be fascinating.


Just as Avery was getting tired, we made it to the first Missouri Lake on the trail.   A prime spot was found that also had the benefit of being sheltered from the wind. The views to Savage Mountain above were also rather, well, awesome.



As part of the weekend, lots of treats were brought in for Avery.  Some soda, Snicker bars and the makings for Lemon Slushies!


A little water, some snow and some lemonade powder makes for an awesome backcountry treat. Enough where Avery wanted more. 🙂


Of course, the adults had some treats, too….


Avery enjoyed his treats in the way only a five year old boy can…

After the novelty of eating from a pouch, we settled in for a night’s sleep.

At about 7am, it was time to get up.  Or so Avery said!

Wake up call!  (Photo courtesy of Josh Zapin)

We had breakfast, enjoyed the morning and headed up the largest of the lakes for what would prove to be a cold and windy stroll. We did not linger long. The views were just as nice as the lower lake.


We headed back, packed up the gear and made our way down to the trailhead.

Avery’s first backpacking trip was complete. Hopefully the first of many he will take over the course of his life.

All the photos


  • Directions, map and trail info  This link from the USFS has all the info you need. Includes a profile map and a great topo map
  • Other trips in area   Though a short  trip was planned on purpose, a nice little loop can be had by going over Fancy Pass, down the Fancy Trail and back to the other trailhead that is perhaps 50 yds away from the Missouri Lakes TH. The same map can also be used.  May be a trip more suitable for an older child and/or somehow who just wants a quick, but beautiful, overnighter.  The area sees more day use than overnight use.
  • Post Hike Josh wanted to spend Father’ Day with his younger son Eliah as well. So no post-hike pub grub.  Marni did surprise Josh with homemade waffles and delicious primo bacon that they were kind enough to share when we showed up.   To paraphrase Josh: “How cool is it that my vegetarian Jewish wife made bacon!”   Indeed.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments