Hike, hike, baby

Henry’s first hike

I’ve been on hiatus since September, but now I’m back – with a baby in tow!

Several people have told me something along the lines of, “Now that you have a baby, you won’t be able to do all your hobbies anymore. Say goodbye to [hiking, backpacking, climbing, etc.].” I smile and nod and completely ignore them. I can still do all the things I love – I just have to transform them to work for my new setup.

Today was my son’s first hike. Henry turned seven weeks old yesterday, so it was past time to get outdoors. It’s August in Nashville, which means hot (high 80s/low 90s) and super muggy, with an average of 73% humidity. Today, however, was overcast with no rain and in the low 80s. I decided it was time.

Hiking with an infant definitely requires more preparation than hiking solo.

  • Picking a trail: For our first outing, I wanted something relatively simple – easy elevation, shaded, and less than 3 miles. I picked Beaman Park, because I knew it would be less crowded on this lovely Sunday than Percy Warner, Shelby Bottoms, and other Nashville-area trails. We ended up hiking the aptly-named Henry Hollow Loop, a 2-mile moderate loop trail starting at the Creekside Trailhead. There are some elevation gains, but they aren’t overly strenuous, and part of the trail meanders along a creek. It took us about an hour.
  • The right gear: Strollers don’t generally work on actual trails. It’s hot, so many carriers and slings won’t work without a risk of overheating. I did a lot of research and found the ergobaby Adapt Cool Air Mesh carrier. I got mine for about 2/3 of the retail price by going through ergobaby’s Everlove program and buying a “previously loved” a.k.a. used carrier in like-new condition. I made sure to make multiple trial runs with this carrier walking around the neighborhood at various times of day. It’s the best one I’ve found so far and does stay comparatively cool. To decrease the amount of heat and sweat between Henry and me when he is in the carrier, I placed an REI Multi Towel Lite between us to wick moisture and keep us cooler overall.

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  • All the extras: A full diaper bag for a short hike is a little ridiculous, but for ease of mind it’s handy to take a few basics along for the hike. With the full diaper bag staying in the car, I packed the following in my kavu bag:
    • Diapers (2) and wipes
    • Water bottle
    • Bottle with formula powder measured and ready to mix
    • Pacifier (the only baby item I actually ended up using)
    • Lara bars
    • Mask and hand sanitizer (there is a global pandemic, after all)
    • Wallet, key, and phone

Our first hike was definitely a success. All the prep was worth the special moments in the woods walking with my son.

Of course, he slept the entire time.

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