Tater's first backpacking trip!
I have been trying to figure out how to pull this off - taking an infant backpacking being
no easy feat. But I knew if I planned and packed carefully and found a good friend to
help me carry gear that I could pull it off. I was initially thinking a place like May Lake
in Yosemite would be the ideal first BP trip - only 1.2 miles in and amenities like toilets
and tables. But trying to get everything coordinated and friends lined up to go up to
Yosemite was proving to be too complicated. Then a friend told me he was up in my
neighborhood for a week and one thing led to another and we planned an easy local
overnight trip to take the baby. I figured it would be the perfect way to celebrate his
The weather was fantastic - though there was a 50% chance of thunderstorms, I knew
such storms were popping up more in the eastern end of the mountains, and were
usually done by 2:00 pm. So we headed to the western end. It was warm but with a
nice cool breeze now and then and the canyon is mostly shady. At night it got down to
maybe 60* - we didn't even really need a sleeping bag really.
I'd hiked this trail before, down a beautiful wooded canyon with a stream and pretty
waterfall next to a heart-shaped pothole. I knew such a pretty locale was bound to
have at least one campsite, though it's a very steep little canyon. And sure enough,
about 1/4 mile past the heart rock there is one on the eastern bank, a good LNT
distance from the creek. What wasn't LNT about the campsite was somebody built a
lean-to and there was an illegal fire ring. We dismantled the ring before we left - the
shelter we left up.
After we set up camp and ate lunch, we then rock-hopped further down the canyon, as
the trail pretty much peters out at the heart rock. Tater fell asleep while I was rock
hopping, which surprised me because no doubt he was getting jostled around a bit. But
the inside of the pack is fleece lined so I guess it was a good spot to lay his head
The pack I used to carry him is a Kelty given to me - used, but just barely as it's good
as new. It was pretty comfortable carrying Tater and I also carried our two sleeping
bags, my sleeping pad and chair kit, nursing pillow, poncho/tarp, clothes, and diapers and
toiletries. My friend carried the baby's sleeping pad, two tents, the stove and filter,
and the bear can with the food.
After our excursion down canyon we ate dinner and had a relaxing evening. The owls,
spotted and great-horned, started calling almost as soon as the sun went down. We
then heard a bunch of thunder in the distance but thankfully the storm stayed away.
We heard all sorts of other critters that night as well - I didn't sleep well because
something was constantly rustling about in the leaves! At one point we saw an owl land
just above our heads... it was very cool.
Tater woke just before sunrise so I nursed him and then tried to keep him quiet and
occupied in the tent. That worked for about 45 minutes. Then we got out and I tried
to keep him quiet - that lasted maybe a half hour. Tater wasn't going to let anyone
We ate breakfast, packed up, and headed out early in the morning. We found a
"short-cut" on the way out, but it was steep, and my calves are still sore! But soon
enough we were back at the car and our trip was a success! I am so happy to have a new
little backpacking partner :) And I feel so blessed that he is a good baby who loves
being outside, and I have such a wonderful friend and hiking partner, who not only
carried the bulk of the gear, but even packed out the dirty diapers (triple-bagged, lol)