Last Minute Hiking Mom and Toddler Wish List (2019)

I re-shared my last minute list from last year- but here’s one now that I have a toddler!

Base Layers!! Both mom and kids need them to stay warm during winter activities. They are also great for sleeping in on chilly summer nights. I love merino wool!

For mom I highly recommend the Kari Traa brand. They are made for women by women. The Rose set is their most popular and I love the pants! Just size up 1 size as these are thicker and don’t stretch like their others. I also have the Tikse bottoms which are thinner and paneled for when you are more active.

Wee man has 1 wool set by Simply Merino Kids and 1 polyester set by Odlo. I bought his current size in both and they fit well enough to wear now but should also last through next season too! If your kids hate tags just gently use a seam ripper to remove them and you are good to go!

And for proper wool care I highly recommend this wool wash by The Laundress!

SOCKS!! These will always be on my lists!

I still say Swiftwick for mom! This year they have their Vision FIVE socks in merino wool with some awesome winter designs! I’m totally rockin a pair and would love another! (wink wink) I get mine from my local running store RunnersRoostLakewood.com but they are available lots of places online too.

My favorite socks! The Aspire’s are my favorite for running! I use the Zero height for working out and road running and the One or Two height for trails. And I’m just in love with these fun winter Vision’s!

For wee man he needed warmer socks than just our standard what can we find at Target this year. @wasatchwildchild on IG recommended these by HowJoJo off Amazon. They are a wool blend, cheap enough to justify for a toddler, and keep wee man’s feet nice and toasty but not too sweaty. Only downside is they are a bit slippery with no grippers but he usually is wearing them with shoes.

Sunglasses! Well for mom at least (wee man never leaves his on)! Goodrs….

Not going to lie I used to HATE these….but they’ve grown on me. I have a pair from when the company very first started-they have been used as a teether, a baby toy, and have lots of scratches. The one thing I’ve always loved is the texture of the frames. I also keep my originals in my car as backups. I love that with them on I can still see my son in his car seat via the rear view mirror via the car seat mirror. Many other sunglasses block too much light for this. I also just got myself two more pairs! With their ever expanding collection of crazy colors and patterns I found one pair for night driving to cut the glare and one pair for indoor wear when I have a migraine. And then I found this cool pair that will be gifted to my Goodr lovin friend (I’m sure she knows who she is if she reads this but I couldn’t resist sharing because they match my socks above!). Of course I get these from my local running store – but they can also be found on their website Goodr.com.

Mittens – both my hands and wee man’s hands never seem to be warm….that is until I found these!!

Swany Toasters for mom. These have light gloves inside hefty mittens. You can unzip the mitten and get your whole hand out to use your fingers for fine things (zippers for one) and to use your phone. The touchscreen friendly finger tips REALLY DO WORK on these.

Polarin O.Pyret makes 100% merino wool mittens for babies and kids. They are double layered too. Wee man’s hands never get cold in these and they are super soft. Definitely use wool wash mentioned above. They will shrink on first wash but are true to size. If he wants to play in the snow or it’s going to be rainy – just put snow or rain mittens on top!

You can also always gift an REI Co-Op membership. It’s $20 ONE TIME and it’s good for life. This gives special access to sales, 365 day returns, and even dividends on full priced items!

Those are my top picks this year! Always will be more to come and many of these will always carry over year to year, so check out last year’s list too.

Last minute Hiking Mom and Baby Wish List (2018 list)

  • Socks! I love Swiftwick. They keep they feet dry better than any others I’ve ever tried. They have wool and non wool. My favorite are the Aspire in the 2 (https://amzn.to/2EjZKZg) height to keep debris out but not be too tall. The Hikers are my favorite wool ones.
  • Baby booties! I found these on Amazon for around $10 buy big so they last. Help keep little one’s feet warm (https://amzn.to/2rp6b4P)
  • Warm Hat! Carhart (https://amzn.to/2EiHUG5) makes great ones for the wee ones that stretch and are thick and warm. By far our favorite. For well I kinda like everything. Biggest thing is I want my ears covered so I tend to lean towards men’s or ones that I can unfold the fold up. I often just wear an ear band. I love shopping local and my favorites are all from Runner’s Roost Lakewood (https://runnersroostlakewood.com/).
  • Water bottles! Hydrapak (https://amzn.to/2L1DjZz)makes my favorite soft flasks with bite valves. They come as small as 10 mL (https://amzn.to/2Uu6VmL)for the little ones (makes a great sippy bottle) and in a bunch of other sizes. Some even have straws (https://amzn.to/2UmFFq2).
  • Whistle. Everyone should carry and emergency whistle. They are cheap and effective and have many uses(https://amzn.to/2EbXRx9)
  • Bear bell. Again cheap effective and everyone should have. I have one on each of packs and each dog.(https://amzn.to/2UpUnN1)

Happy Holidays!

Altitude Adjustment in Babies

Everyone takes time to adjust to altitude. Babies are no exception. In fact babies actually take long to adjust to altitude as a general rule. There are a lot of factors that play into a baby’s ability to adjust to altitude.

Shelf Lake – Elevation just over 12,000 ft
Wee Man’s Highest Elevation before the age of 1 year

Before your baby was even born some of these factors were already at play. Mom’s activity while pregnant will affect the baby a lot. As well as where mom lives while pregnant. This is due to the oxygen levels shared while in utero. A mom who is active at high altitudes will have a baby more likely to adjust easily to altitude. A mom who is less active or lives a lower altitude is more likely to have a baby that requires extra time to adjust. Don’t worry it’s not anything you did wrong. It has to do with the way the body produces hemoglobin, which is the part of the blood that helps carry oxygen around the body. It’s been shown many times that those who live and are active at higher altitudes naturally have higher hemoglobin levels, which means when there is less oxygen in the air, it is easier for them to move oxygen around their bodies than someone who has lower levels. Hemoglobin levels can change rapidly though, which is why acclimation periods and sleeping at altitude can “fix” this very easily. Generally, the more time spent at altitude in low oxygen conditions, the better your body adapts. Just like anything else. This is no different for babies, and generally speaking babies are born with similar levels as their mom’s.

It’s important to understand signs of altitude sickness, for both mom and baby. Adults are more likely to notice symptoms sooner than babies. Altitude sickness in babies can be very dangerous and it’s extremely important to monitor. Sometimes, you won’t show any signs for up to 36 hours after it starts.

In adults symptoms include:

Dizziness

Short of breath

Nausea and vomiting

Diarrhea

Hang over like Headache

Muscle aches

  • These symptoms are common and should easily go away with hydration, food, and lowering in altitude
One of our favorite wilderness areas to gradually build elevation. Starts around 9,000 feet and has options to above 14,000 ft!

More serious signs in adults that REQUIRE medical attention:

Fluid in the lungs (think pneumonia), fluid in the brain- (symptoms listed above that won’t go away, loss of appetite, sleep issues, loss of energy)

It’s important to remember that it doesn’t take being at high altitude to get altitude sickness. High altitude is relative to what a person is used to. Sometimes symptoms happen from going up or down TOO quickly.

In babies symptoms are a lot more subtle and can be difficult to recognize. It’s very important to pa close attention to your baby while going up or down in altitude. Remember that speed in which you change can have a significant impact, for example my little man does great going up hiking but struggles in the car if driving above a certain speed. He also has a harder time going down than up.

In babies watch for:

Extra sleepiness (we still expect your little ones to nap approximately as much as they normally do or a little less)

Spitting up/vomiting – if you have a typically refluxy baby this can be hard to differentiate, you know your baby better than anyone so use your best judgement

Screaming for no apparent reason – hunger, bug bites, too hot/cold, positional comfort have been ruled out

Diarrhea

Refusal to eat- again this can be tricky, sometimes your baby is simply overly distracted-MAKE SURE THEY ARE HYDRATED

Again, many of these symptoms can be solved with hydration, food, and lower altitude. Take it slow, especially at first. Babies symptoms tend to linger more than adults and sometimes won’t appear until a day or two later.

When working on altitude adjustment I always keep track of the elevation we are at. It can feel very skewed out on the trails and I never want to push too high too fast.

Ok, you know what to watch for, so how do you actually help a baby adjust to altitude?

The same you would an adult – slowly and over time.

It’s best to start hiking about the altitude you are used to before you ever attempt any altitude with a baby. Before heading up to altitude make sure your pediatrician clears them. This is especially important if your baby was premature, born with any lung problems, or ever required oxygen support. Once you have the clear start slow.

Since going up fast is the hardest, you’re best off starting by parking lower and walking higher. As you and your baby do well, try parking a little higher every few weeks (if hiking regularly, if not this will take much longer). Pay attention to how they handle the car and remember they cannot pop their ears like an adult can. It’s OK and highly recommended that you make stops on your drives up and down until you are certain your baby can handle it. Start with slower roads, under 60 mph overall speed. If you go up any passes go extra slow, the people behind you will get over it.

Once hiking, an altimeter can be helpful if you aren’t sure how the elevation climbs. Take extra breaks and offer your baby your breast or bottle regularly. Remember it’s not recommended to give them water before 6 months of age. (see feeding your baby). When hiking your baby’s hydration level matters much more than calories. Make sure they are still peeing regularly or even a little extra. Just like with driving, if you both do well, you can push a little higher every few weeks.

Above tree line it always feels like you can see forever away.

Other factors to consider:

What altitude you live at versus where you plan to hike.

How often you go up.

Are you going alone or with people?

Are you experienced or is this new for you too?

Be smart. Pay attention. Take it slow. And it’s ok to not make it to your goal destination.

Bailing on Plans A-Z Part 1 of 3 (Originally Posted on AllWomenAllTrails.com)

90 miles. 5-6 nights/6-7 days. Just me, my wee man, and the dog.

78lb pack: 15-20lbs heavier than goal weight. 22 lb child. Me: 136lbs.

Ambitious. Badass. I was ready – more than ready – mentally.

Playing at a water crossing.

Leading up to the trip I had pneumonia. While I recovered fully and was cleared for the trip it stalled training a good few weeks.

Needless to say things did not go to plan. By 1.5 miles I was needing to stop, drop water weight, shift some things around, and change how I was carrying my son.

Exploring at a “camp” while waiting for help to pack out.

By mile 2.something I was replanting in my head my whole trip. I knew for day one I had to get to the river so I had a water source. But from there I could make base camp, hang out a day or two then continue with a shorter route, or even head back home – I just had to have water to make it the night.

Somewhere in there my son wanted to walk so I ditched my poles and his carrier and packed them up. It was actually easier for me to go slower and give him my hands to hold. He walked a good 2 miles of technical terrain with my help. I was so proud.

The gear …. lots of it.

But that’s his max. He can’t do more than that. He started walking like he was drunk. He was so tired. I tried to carry him some more but realized I really couldn’t do that anymore. I was somewhere between 3.5 and 4 miles in. Still 4-5 miles from camp by the river. There was NO WAY. I made the hardest call I’ve ever made – for someone to come help me pack back out because I couldn’t make it back to the car and I didn’t have enough water to stay put.

I cried. I’ve never made that call.

Riley pup with his gear.

I failed, was all I could think. Not the weather turned. Not my son wasn’t handling it. Me, I, I failed. Or so I thought.

It was the right decision. My man ran in and helped me pack out. Believe it or not this was our first real hike as a family! My man and I haven’t hiked together since one of our first dates! And you know what – it was awesome.

Colorado love.

The ground fell out from underneath me at one point and I landed hard on one leg. I remember ahead of the trip people kept asking, well, what if she falls with her kid – well what if? Quite simply I land in whatever way necessary to protect my son. I’ve fallen 4 times with him at this point and he’s never touched the ground. Some call it Mother’s instinct but I call it practice (martial arts is the best way to learn how to fall safely!).

Anyways, I had literally spent all morning concocting alternative plans. Options that would be more doable, but in the end I just couldn’t. That just sucked.

My leg after the fall (and post ‘shower’).

Layouts and More Layouts (Originally Posted on AllWomenAllTrails.com)

Leaving for CA and then turning around 5 days after we get back to CO we leave for the backpacking trip. 

Yikes.

A lot of the clothes and daily items I need to take backpacking I also need to take to CA. So what do I do about being prepared?

I layout – take a picture- and put it away. LOL This seems so wrong.

But here are some of the pictures:

The start of gear layouts. The guest bedroom is currently my hidden layout area safe from dogs and kid.
Prepping first aid kits including for the pup.
Packing meds. All prescriptions will be carried in their labeled prescription bottles. This helps prevent incidents if there’s an emergency with wrong dosing and makes sure that if you have a controlled substance of any sort prescribed that you won’t get in trouble for carrying them unlabeled or with intent to distribute. That would end the trip horribly.
Little man’s clothes. Everything for sun to snow.
SO MUCH FOOD! When packing for yourself plus a toddler there is so much food to pack. More food than gear! Seven days of 2 very hungry people’s food. This isn’t even all of it. Oh and don’t forget I still have to pack dog food.
My son MUST have Goldfish. I was trying to figure out how to pack enough and not squish them, so in a giant blender bottle whose lid has a loop I can use to clip on, I piled up the Goldfish. Might do this for one of his other favorites too.
My clothing layout – with a wee bit too much Salomon running clothes to get me through!!
Lost Creek engulfed in clouds.

Oh and also, why am I packing winter clothes?! Well you see this? This is a photo of the wilderness area we’ll be in completely engulfed in clouds, while my friend joked about needing to be prepared for a hurricane. Oh yea and mid June here in CO and mountain areas got 10-20” of SNOW!! Therefore, we shall be prepared for everything from sun to snow! This is weather in Colorado, extraordinarily crazy and beautiful.

Packing for a Toddler With Special Needs (Originally Posted on AllWomenAllTrails.com)

The packing has begun!

Normally I wouldn’t even start until a week or two out but with a toddler that’s different. With a toddler with special needs it’s extra different. Then there’s that vacation before the vacation (HEY look! I’ll get a vacation from my vacation haha).

The guest room is currently acting as a staging area for gear layouts.

Clothing layouts are being done, taking a picture to remember, and put away. After all I still need those clothes between now and then. 

Working on first aid kit (don’t forget the pup)

Food..well that’s complicated. I have an idea of what I’m bringing, most of which is set aside I packed in a grocery bag. But toddlers are picky eaters. I have a feeling some of his food needs will change between now and then, therefore requiring a last minute grocery trip to get more goldfish (because #dontforgetthegoldfish ) and some other new snack he’s become fascinated with. I also have to consider his drink needs and that he doesn’t do well on just water or electrolyte drinks. He needs milk of some sort. This part I’ve decided to just deal with. They make his favorite almond milk in single serve boxes – so even though it will suck to carry I will bring 1 per day. He also LOVES chocolate milk and requires probiotics and digestive enzymes daily. Bonus my favorite “recovery” drink is essentially all this in powdered form just add water. Even tastes like chocolate milk and his pediatrician and dietician have both said it’s completely fine for him to have (Thank you Skratch Labs !)

Wee man’s clothing layout.

So the other part… the hard part… what do I bring for him? I’m not talking about clothes or food or basic gear, I mean to help with his special needs. My son is autistic. He has a history of self harm – should I bring his helmet which will be awkward to carry, hot to wear, and he’s never worn on the trail before- eh probably not but I’ve thought about it, especially when there’s a meltdown mid hike. Or the weighted blanket he loves – helps him sleep, relatively small, but weighs five pounds all by itself – again maybe not, that’s the weight of my pack and sleeping set combined. What about a chewy, a special ‘toy’ specifically designed for chewing on – DEFINITELY – we have carried one on every hike and he uses it almost every time and it weighs basically nothing. A blanket to cuddle – of course I mean a small blanket isn’t much, he’s only 23 months when we go, plus there will definitely be chilly nights- why did I even query this one?

tart of gear layouts day 1….lots more sitting there now.

The list goes on. And I haven’t even touched on sorting out diapers. We cloth diaper. Which has actually made so many things including hiking better, but I still haven’t quite nailed down how many to bring (I’ll wash daily).

Definitely coming together but time to step it up and sort out the rest of the kinks.

Last major hike before leaving on our pre backpacking vacation.