work journal

Donkey packing 101 / Outdoor parenting 102

July 25, 2021

By the time we packed up for our family pack trip to the Woody Creek Cabin and tied up loose ends with work, my husband, Pat, and I needed a vacation from our vacation, which hadn’t even started yet. 

The next morning, thanks to our donkeys, Jack and Jojo, being angels and our friend Corey and his son Emmett having our backs at every turn, we cruised easily to the cabin, which is a couple miles above Cooke City. 

But a few hours later, our son Gus, age 2 at the time, woke up from his nap with a high fever, inconsolable.

We didn’t have any children’s Tylenol, so we headed back to town. We were on the trail again in a half hour (why is is so easy to bail out of the backcountry but so hard to get out of town?), although our daughter, Eloise, 5, chose to stay the night with Corey and Emmett for her first sleepover with friends ⚡️

That night, Gus’s fever went down with the medication, so we bivied in the camper and hiked back in to the cabin the next morning with the donks to meet everyone. 

All in all, we spent zero nights of our three-night trip at the cabin, but Gus is now fine, and while Pat and I definitely looked at each other and said “we’re never going on another family vacation” at one point—which we say on every family trip—we are already planning the next one.


  1. Always bring children’s Tylenol. And children’s Benadryl, which we also learned the hard way last summer.
  2. Time off is precious. What we decide to do with it can be meaningful. This vignette offers a window into what I do with mine.
  3. Next time maybe my time off will include a hammock.
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