I’m lucky to live in the mountains of Park City, which contain extensive and well-maintained trail systems. Since moving here, hiking has become one of my favorite activities. It’s not uncommon for me to log a couple of miles with Cholula 4 or 5 times per week, in all seasons and throughout my pregnancy. I toted that big baby in my belly through my 9th month (though the distance and elevation gain were greatly diminished!) and looked forward to introducing my baby to one of my happiest places: the trail.
We’d been out and about with Oden multiple times, but it was always in his stroller. The key to getting out on the trail would be to master the baby carrier. Chalk it up to new mom-ness, but I assumed that I’d pop Oden into a sling and GO. It turns out that you have to figure out what your baby
likes will tolerate, and it was a matter of trial-and-error for us. The two slings I have worked for a millisecond; Oden became too large to comfortably tuck into them as a newborn but is too young to sit in them with his head unsupported. He liked sleeping in the Moby wrap for a while, but Oden quickly outgrew the “newborn hold” and the wrap was a bit too involved for me to quickly put it on and go. We tried two versions of the Ergo Baby, and while I think that will be a good option as Oden gets bigger, he didn’t cooperate when I put him into them. We finally borrowed a Baby Bjorn from a friend and, miraculously, Oden seems ok in it. I’ve tucked him into it facing outward with his head resting on my chest so he can look around, and my observant little guy just swings his head back and forth, taking everything in. If he’s sleepy, he also seems comfortable facing me. Truth: Being hands-free is like a miracle!
Earlier this week, on a beautifully warm spring afternoon, John and I took Oden and Cholula to one of our favorite nearby trails. It would be Oden’s first hike! He was sleeping in his carseat by the time we reached the trailhead, so I quickly tucked him into the carrier facing me. I covered his big old head with a burp cloth, tucked a pacifier into his mouth, and off we went. With each step up the hillside, I felt joy. The big blue sky! The greening trail! Sure, my back ached a bit with my giant baby hanging off the front of me, but my soul was smiling. Oden was peaceful until the very end of the hike. That evening, John and I clinked glasses to our successful outing!
A couple of days later, inspired by our good hiking fortune, I took one look at the sunny skies and got motivated to hit the trail with Oden and Cholula solo. We went to one of my favorite springtime hikes through quiet aspen groves. Again, Oden was sleepy when I tucked him into the Bjorn and stayed that way throughout the hike. We meandered along the path and I was happy to see Cholula’s wagging tail. I savored each breath (slightly more labored with Oden’s extra weight) and soaked in the sunshine on my face, the brand new wildflowers flanking the trail, and greening trees above me. Oden gripped my finger in his sleep for much of the hike and though his face and head was protected from the sun during our jaunt, I did capture a shot of my blissful sleeping baby.
Neither hike was long or intense, but the fresh air was rejuvenating and they were certainly milestones as new parents. The sheer fact that I’d overcome something that had intimidated me (hiking alone with a tiny baby and my dog) was awesome. I’d reminded myself that I can do this. I felt like a piece of myself had returned. Welcome back, Me!
More about Baby Oden.
See more of my favorite hikes around Park City here.