This past weekend we embarked upon Little Baby’s first camping trip. He had a blast and was so, so good! The entire family enjoyed the trip. So much, in fact, that we’re going again next weekend. We prefer primitive style camping, so that’s what we did.
We’ve been camping with kids for years now, but this was my first time with an 8 month-old. My two big boys were older than that when they first came home. In preparing for our trip, I came across all kinds of tips and gear made just for baby. In the end, however, I decided to keep it simple. A tent, hammock, outdoor blanket, a baby carrier, some simple toys and lots of changes of clothes. That’s it.
So I’m not going to give you a list of “must haves,” “must dos” or extravagant outdoor baby gear that will be guaranteed to make your trip easy and enjoyable. My one and only tip is to keep it simple and to treasure each moment. You got this. You don’t need a ton of gear or stuff to have an awesome camp out!
….no matter what “there” means to you. While the past 8 months or so were quite eventful, stressful and busy for us, we did manage to enjoy some fun as well. In fact, the best and most peaceful times seemed to be while we were out enjoying our “there”–the great outdoors. Let’s play catch up:
Winter hiking (this past February) at Rock Island State Park:
Early spring hiking in the Smoky Mountains:
Summer coastal fun at St. Simon’s Island:
And of course, Little Man was able to run the Columbia Muddy Buddy again this past summer:
There were also lots of Little Man-Daddy fishing and kayaking trips and visits with family. I’m so thankful we took the time to get outside, even during one of the craziest times of our lives. Despite a difficult pregnancy, a year filled with psychiatric breakdowns for one of our sons and so much more, we did it and I’m proud of us for showing our children what is truly important in life. It was so worth it–to all of us!
It would seem as if I had fallen off the face of the blogosphere. I’m not sure if there is anyone still reading, and I’m sure there are some folks who were wondering if I’m still around at all. The last time I posted was February and in the middle of a fun photo challenge I was hoping to get started. What a bummer, huh?
Sometimes life has a funny way of stopping us in our tracks when we least expect it. At least that’s what happened to me.
But let me back up a bit. A lot has happened in these past 8 months. First of all, we added this little guy to our family:
The newest member of the Hiking Family made a surprise appearance in August. He is healthy, happy and such a joy to parent! I wish I could say that it was an uneventful pregnancy, but it turned out to be quite a journey, in fact.
He is now 2 months old and ventured on his first hike this past weekend.
So where do I begin again? These past 8 months have been life changing. In a very short span of time I was hospitalized three times during my pregnancy, Big Brother (pictured on the far left) was admitted to the psychiatric hospital twice–encompassing 16 days in treatment–and I lost a very dear loved one. We also made some life-changing decisions and are wading through the aftermath.
We are now trying to find ourselves amidst the new challenges we have been dealt. And I’ve come to the conclusion that instead of waiting for the fog to clear, I will instead strive to find joy while wading in the trenches. I want to use this blog to continue to chronicle our family adventures, but to also now navigate our life as we deal with some new and unique challenges. I’d love it if you joined us. Stay tuned for more of the story….
As 2012 is winding down, I feel a little sad that my family and I have not been able to spend as much time outdoors as we normally do. With three rounds of family strep (yes, 3!!) and other medical issues, getting outdoors has been hard for us over the last couple of months. So I’m really looking forward to getting back in the groove of outdoor livin’ in 2013. To cheer myself up a bit, I decided to take a look back and reminisce on our favorite outdoor moments of 2012.
10. Nature day with mama, March 2012
9. First canoe trip of 2012, April 2012
8. Nature for all, May 2012
7. Mother’s Day Caving, May 2012
6. The Great Sand Dunes, June 2012
5. Mini Muddy Buddy Run, July 2012
4. Alone in the wilderness, August 2012
3. Adventure and the special needs child, June 2012
2. Alpine Views in Colorado, June 2012
1. Water fun and Little Man’s 1st Kayak, July 2012
Congratulations to commenter number 4, Mel, who is the winner of the $25 REI gift card!! Thanks everyone for playing along. Happy Holidays!
There are few places I’d rather be than in the woods on a quiet, muddy trail. Whether I’m hiking or taking a run, it’s the one place where I can clear my mind while feeding my body and soul. So if you are like me (or you’ve got a girl like me in your life) this post is for you. I thought I’d share some of my favorite trail gear with all of you lovely readers. With the holiday season upon us, maybe you’ll be inspired with some gift ideas for the outdoorsy girl in your life.
1. At the top we have the quick dry Toaster Top and Liberty Pants from Stonewear Designs. Warning: these pieces of clothing are so awesome, functional and comfortable you will never want to take them off! Stonewear Designs is a Colorado-based company comprised of a group of determined women who lead busy lives balancing time between family, friends, work, and play. They developed clothes that make women feel beautiful while performing under strenuous demands. They strive to fit and flatter every type of body with beautiful, durable clothing that will last for years. All Stonewear clothing is Made in the U.S.A.
2. Gypsum Mid Hiking Boots by KEEN. The only brand of boots I wear on the trail! For years, KEEN has been keeping my feet happy and safe on the trail. ‘Nuff said.
3. SpeedCross 3 Trail Running shoes by Salomon. I am in love with these awesome, lightweight but aggressive trail shoes that are perfect for muddy, mountainous terrain. I use these all the time and they are by far my faves!
4. I don’t own one of these battery-operated mobile power devices yet, but I really want to try one! They seem like a perfect gadget to have handy on a long hike or backpacking trip. Especially if you are like me and snap photos on the trail with your iphone.
And since it’s the season to spread the love, I’m going to do another giveaway today. I’m going to give one lucky reader a $25 gift card to REI. Oh yes I am! All you have to do is…
1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite outdoor activity and whether or not you’d be happy to receive any of these gifts above.
2. For one extra entry, go like my facebook page. Come back here and leave another comment telling me you did so (or tell me if you already are a fan.)
3. For one more entry, tweet about the giveaway, including a link to this post and make sure to mention me, @hikemama. Then come back here and leave a comment telling me you tweeted.
sample tweet: Gifts for the Girly Trailblazer and a $25 gift card giveaway to REI! http://wp.me/phD5i-2jB @hikemama
That’s it! Good luck and happy trails. One lucky reader will be randomly chosen on Saturday, December 15.
psst–check out my other open giveaway here!
Yesterday we took a leisurely hike through a nearby state park. Although the park is quiet and full of kid-friendly trails, it’s hardly the landscape that epic adventures are made of. But it ended up being one of the best hikes we’ve ever taken together. We had no agenda and no timeline. We just wanted to share some peaceful time together in the woods. To ensure that everyone would have a fun, fuss-free hike, we assigned each child a “job.” As our kids are growing older, I find myself continually brainstorming new ways to make sure our hikes stay fun and upbeat. Read on to see how we did it on our last hike!
Little Man took on the role of our fearless trail leader (his most favorite job of all) and Big Brother was the keeper of the leaves (again, a job he loves.) Little Man led the way and Big Brother collected leaves and strung them on a shoestring. One of his favorite ways to play is to put beads on strings, so he was estactic!
Today we visited a new park not too far from home called Cummins Falls State Park. This gorgeous span of 211 acres has an interesting history:
“It is known that buffalo wallowed in the river in a shallow basin about a quarter-mile east of the falls. Indians used this area to kill buffalo as they needed as indicated by the numerous arrowheads found at the site. In the 1790s, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, Sergeant Blackburn, for whom the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River is named, was awarded this land in lieu of a pension. This land was acquired by John Cummins in about 1825 on which he built the first of two water driven mills. Because of a growing clientele, a second and larger mill was built in 1845 about a half mile or so before the falls. Local area residents came to the mill and the falls for commerce and recreation. The mill was washed away in a great flood of 1928, but by then cars and paved highways had made the trek to Cummins Falls more of a discretionary trip than a necessary one. The mill was not rebuilt but this land stayed in the Cummins family for more than 180 years until a recent effort of private individuals and public institutions worked together to purchase the land for resale to the State. “
Since today the temperatures dipped down into the 50′s/60′s (hello Fall….finally!) we decided to take a family hike and explore this new park. It’s lovely and we can’t wait to go back and spend even more time hiking the area. We didn’t spend the whole day at the park as we had some other nearby outdoor areas on our agenda for the day as well.
After visiting the falls, we headed a few miles down the road to the Caney Fork River where I tried out some of my fly fishing skills. No fish tales to speak of, but at least I got out and tried! Maybe I’ll have better luck next time.
How did you spend the weekend? Does it feel like fall where you are?!
Giveaway Closed. Congratulations to commenter number 3 for winning the headband!
I’m not a world-renowned athlete and I’ve never led an exhilarating expedition to worlds unknown. My ab muscles are strong but are by no means toned enough to resemble a six-pack. I’m training for a half-marathon–words that I never imagined would fall from my lips. I don’t look like a supermodel and my curves sometimes annoy me. But I’m proud of my body and all that it has allowed me to accomplish.
I believe fiercely that adventure and outdoor exploration are for all. I strive to stay active, push my limits, try new things and inspire others to do the same. Staying active and fit are high on my priority list. I use all of my resources to not only help my son with special needs thrive outdoors, but to show others that adventure and the natural world are within everyone’s grasp. I believe in the power of nature to sooth the soul and nourish the body and mind. I believe that everyone can benefit from being active outdoors. And I don’t think that you must have the perfect body to do so.
That’s why I was so delighted to become a member of the Stonewear Designs Grassroots Team. Stonewear clothing is designed to fit every type of body. They empower women of all shapes and sizes to be active while stylishly supported. So today, I thought I would share with you about some of my favorite Stonewear outfits that I was provided to test and use in my daily activities. And I’ll be honest….I pretty much live in my Stonewear clothing now. It makes me feel beautiful, strong and comfortable all day long. Their clothing is of very high quality (so it will last without showing wear) and is specifically designed to be tough enough to keep up with an active lifestyle.
The Lyra Top is made of a very breathable, moisture-wicking fabric that keeps you cool and dry while hiking, running, kayaking, climbing or just wrangling kids. This is my go to top for all of my activities. Not only does it keep me cool and dry down here in the hot and humid southeast, but the support is phenomenal. The Lyra Top has a built-in bra that keeps the girls nicely in place. I sometimes pair this top with Stonewear’s cross back sports bra to give myself the maximum amount of support possible because I really like to keep everything in place But the top alone provides great support. The fit is extremely flattering as well. The fabric skims the body and flatters without being clingy (which is great if you are like me and your midsection is a little soft and round!) If you are an active woman who is a bit heavy on top, then the Lyra Top is definitely for you.
The Rockin’ Capris (also referred to by me as the most awesome pair of capris to ever grace my legs) are the best thing that has ever happened to me from a clothing standpoint. These flattering, moisture-wicking capris feel great, look great and hold up to creek crossings, muddy hikes, kayaking trips and hot trail runs. They also have a side zip pocket that is large enough to store a smart phone or keys. I practically live in these capris (as well as the pant version.) Wash after wash these babies still look like new. The Rockin’ Capris are the most rugged and beautifully constructed capris/pants I’ve ever owned. They are certainly worth every penny. I cannot stress enough how awesome these are!! I will never hike in anything else again….seriously….they are that good.
Keep a lookout for an upcoming review of my other faves–the Olympia Top, Rockin’ Pants, Double Cross Back Top and Meridian Capris….
Want to see what other real women have to say about Stonewear Designs? Check out this fabulous post that shows women of all shapes and sizes sharing their favorite pieces of clothing!
1. Visit the Stonewear Designs website and take a look around, then come back and leave a comment below telling me what piece of clothing you think would be great to try and why.
2. For an extra, additional entry, you can like Stonewear Designs on Facebook. Then come back here and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.
3. For one more extra entry, you can like Hike.Blog.Love on Facebook (or tell me you already are a fan) and come back here and leave another comment.
That’s it! Good luck, ladies (and men who would like to win some swag for their lady.) The giveaway closes on Friday October 5th. The winner will recieve a headband in a random color.
Some of the Stonewear clothing shown in this post was provided to me free of charge as a member of the Grassroots Team. Some clothing was purchased with my own money because I love the clothing so darn much. All opinions expressed are strictly my own.
Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. ~Brian Tracy
Yesterday I spent the day doing something outside of my comfort zone. I attended an all-day fly fishing school along the banks of the Caney Fork River. Now don’t get me wrong, I adore doing anything in nature. But a fisher(wo)man I am not. And fly fishing? Well, that takes a lot of skill that I certainly do not possess.
But I wanted to learn this elusive art form that I’ve seen my husband master in the last several years. I guess my motivation stems from a desire to be able to enjoy a deeper connection to the mountain streams and wildlife that I spend so much time around. I have no intention of catching fish to consume, but rather I long to use catch and release in an attempt to experience this world I cannot reach by foot. After all, the hubby stops to fly fish on most of our hikes and kayaking trips, so I thought it would be great to share this with him.
So, I awoke bright and early on Saturday morning to learn how to cast and all the other skills that go along with that. I attended a class where I knew absolutely next to nothing. Turns out I’m not too shabby at this whole fly fishing thing. I had a blast and can’t wait to try out my new skills. I may even be able to teach my expert fly fishing hubby a thing or two….someday.
Have you done anything lately that has put you out of your comfort zone? Do you try to push yourself out of your comfort zone on a regular basis? Do tell!