Before we were married, Theo and I always talked about how fun camping and backpacking would be. Of course, being unmarried, we didn’t have many chances to go backpacking/camping together.
Once we got married, we went on one or two camping trips, and we also went on one grand backpacking trip. It was a lot of fun, but it was in early May and FREEZING cold. It scared me away from backpacking for a while.
But backpacking is like running. As much as you hate it DURING the actual event, you have this crazy high afterwards. And then for days, weeks, months and years all you can think about is doing it again, just to beat the odds: hike faster, camp prettier, go bigger.
So we finally decided to do it again. Only this time, we have Tera in tow. It’s a little hard to find a babysitter, plus we really wanted to try it out with her. So, on Friday morning we packed up and headed out. It was a two hour drive to the park…this park has trails and camping spots, and it is FREE. It’s the perfect beginner backpacking loop, too.
When we first started out, it was SO hot and humid. Tera was wriggling and crying and after .5 miles I also burst into tears and said that there was NO way this was going to work. I was sweating and Tera was sweating and Tera kept pulling my hair- really hard. It was frustrating and discouraging, and honestly…it was a little scary. I didn’t want to get stuck doing that for 4 miles, only to have to turn around and do it again for another four miles!
Finally Tera calmed down, I cooled down and we kept on going. I’m glad that Theo encouraged us to keep going and that we stuck with it!
Theo carried ALL the gear…
And I carried Tera!
We all enjoy being outside- especially together!
So hot. I was fanning myself with a map. And Tera enjoyed playing with leaves that Theo would pick for her.
This was at our first rest stop. We would stop, get a snack, heat up a bottle (which Tera would refuse), and then keep going on our way! At our first stop I was greatly encouraged because we had actually gone much faster than I had anticipated. Do you see how wet Tera is? Yeah, that’s my sweat.
After the first stop, we switched Tera to face out, and she loved that so much more than facing in. For the record, I am aware that her legs are dangling and that isn’t good for her hips. I’m keeping my eye out for a real baby hiking pack. This one was horribly uncomfortable and I know we could do much better!
Last stop before camp!!!
We made it! Theo set up the tent right away so we could corral Tera inside it. It was difficult keeping Tera away from plants and small rocks and cliffs and stuff, so we just kept her in the tent. I don’t mind her getting dirty…but choking and finding poisonous objects is a whole different story.
Notice that she is drinking water from a sippy cup? By this point in the trip, she had still refused her bottle of milk – her main source of nutrients. We were getting worried, and trying to pump her as full of calories and liquids as possible. But, alas…we were stuck four miles from the nearest road and the nearest town to that road was teeny, tiny.
The campsite had a water source, so we filled up our bottle and got dinner started! Couscous and beef stew straight from the can. Delicious. And smoky, just the way a camp meal should taste.
Family! There were lots of other people at the campsite, and it was noisy, but not too bad. We saw very few people while we were on the trail, though!
We finally got Tera to sleep once it got dark out (after refusing yet again another bottle), and Theo and I enjoyed the fire together. The weather was perfect!
And the night? The night was HORRIBLE. Remember how I mentioned there were many other people at the campsite? Well, we happened to get there last and the only camp site available was one on a slight incline. So there we were, three of us stuffed into a two person tent, on a slight incline. Shortly after we had gone to bed, we hear our pack rustling. Theo sits up and shines the light out….a raccoon! That little bugger came back at LEAST 6 times in the night…probably at least once an hour, we were woken up by him. Theo got up the first few times and threw his flip-fops at him (with two direct hits!), and still the pesky thing came back. Yes, I know that you should hang your pack from a tree, or better yet put it in the tent with you, but that was just not happening this trip. Next time, next time.
So, we barely slept and then little miss sunshine herself slept great the whole night through. She was up with sun with her goofy little smile, ready to take on the world! Not once did the raccoon wake her up! We discovered in the morning that Mr. Raccoon had stolen our English muffins and that Tera STILL wouldn’t drink out of a bottle. Since we had hiked a four mile trail in to the camp site, we were going to hike a 6 mile trail out…but we ditched that idea in favor of being DONE and getting back to the car and getting Tera hydrated.
At our last stop before finishing the hike, I looked closely at the bottle and discovered that there was no hole punched in the nipple of the bottle. It’s no wonder she refused to drink out of the bottle! Don’t worry, she was hydrated enough…and she made up for it in the next few days!
So what about you? Have you ever been backpacking? Backpacking with kids? Tell me all about it! I’d love to hear it!