After too long a hiatus I have decided to return to this (let’s be honest) awesomely named website, particularly in light of our newest outdoor purchase for our newest outdoor companion! Mikey is now 10 months old, and I realized after several failed attempts to use the ERGO carrier (more later) that I needed a framed pack. Today was our first hike together using the pack.
A quick note about the pack: it is designed much like Osprey’s standard backpacks, with comparable straps, belts, mesh ventilation at the back, etc. Except instead of your gear, you carry a kid back there! There are two small compartments for some effects, but our model is the simple one. The child sits on a saddle and puts his feet on the side (there are stirrups for taller kids) and is strapped in at the shoulders. This model can handle kids until they’re just over 40 lbs (heavier than I’d be willing to carry, anyway!)
At first, Mikey was a little skeptical… (“And, what do you think you’re going to do with me now?”)
Then a little more skeptical… (“Oh boy…really? I had better hold on tight.”)
I think it’ll just take some getting used to. In the opening picture, Mikey’s digging for a strap with his right arm and seems much more at home.
Now for the hike: we just did a quick 2.7 mile hike in just under an hour in Allegheny County’s South Park. To make things interesting we hiked along some actual hiking trails, in part along the park’s 6-mile Bison Ridge Trail. It was muddy and overgrown. Over the last couple years I have grown self-conscious about going to a county park too “geared up.” It’s the kind of reverse-upbringing for a Boy Scout who’s always prepared that only the mockery of family can effect (love you, hon!).
So, here’s some things I’ve been laughed at for bringing on a “walk in the park” that I really should have had today, even though we were only out for an hour, never farther than 20 minutes from the car:
(1) A walking stick, or perhaps even trekking poles.
These would have helped with the many spiderwebs along the way and with keeping my balance on the muddier sections…yes, bad daddy. Did I mention I usually get mocked for bringing a stick? (insert non-existent YouTube clip of Gandalf)
(2) Gaiters for my shoes.
Again, for the mud.
These are usually recommended in public, I know. But today I went with gym shorts. Something light and thin would have kept me cool and also would have protected my legs from bugs and brush.
(4) Bug spray.
They have to make some kind of baby-friendly stuff, and we probably own some. But I didn’t have it with us.
(5) A printed copy of the park map and a compass.
For a mile or so we hiked off of the blazed trail, and all I had was the tiny pdf on my iPhone. Although the iPhone can be both map and compass, it couldn’t be both map and compass at the same time.
(6) A buddy.
I decided after a weekend of sleep deprivation and driving in a car, I needed some exercise. So we went on this hike while Cait was at work. But Mikey and I should really do these hikes either as a family with Cait, or with some other friend/colleague/complete stranger. I can’t see him that great while the pack is on and a buddy could help with “checking in.”
All in all, fun first hike with the kid on my back — more to come!