Tater's first backpacking trip!

August 2012
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 half-birthday!

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. He wasn't going to let anyone sleep in!

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)
More pics here!

Todd and I dayhiked along this trail back in 2008

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