One young couple explains how having kids didn’t mean the end of their adventures
You always hear people say that when you have a baby your life is over. Someone actually told us that we can kiss our adventures goodbye, and that really bothered us. We love hiking, climbing, and anything else having to do with outdoor adventures. We get stir crazy when it rains for a couple of days; to think our life and fun in the wilderness was over for the next 18 years was terrifying. You see kids at parks and on day hikes and stuff but rarely (if at all) in the back country, atop a fourteener, alongside high mountain lakes, deep in the forest or anywhere REALLY cool. It just isn’t a “normal” thing to do, good thing we aren’t exactly a “normal” family. We decided not to let having a baby slow us down.First things first, we needed to figure out the changes and upgrades that needed to be made to our gear to accommodate a fragile infant up to a curious toddler and beyond. Off to REI to drool over things and put together a baby registry. The best investment was our backpack that the child rides in which includes a sun shade and a rain/wind cover to protect this venerable little creature. Next was practical clothing for everything from scorchers to frigid temps and high winds at 14,000 feet. The last thing that we cannot stress enough is BREASTFEED!! Not only is it healthier and better for baby and mamma all the way around, you do not want to carry the extra weight of bottles and formula or worry about running out of food 20+ miles back into the middle of nowhere. Trust me, the baby and extra clothes already weigh enough.
We had our gear. Now we had to wait 9 long months to meet our baby, (and wonder is it a boy or a girl? Either way we would raise them exactly the same). This was not an easy task for restless Mamma Bear as she got larger and larger. Our parents freaked when we hiked back and camped for a weekend out of cell phone service at 37 weeks pregnant. She was rock climbing up until about 4 months when her harness no longer fit and we climbed (she waddled) up a mountain 3 days before our due date. (The comments and looks we got on that adventure were hilarious, but that’s another story.) She made pregnancy look easy, although it was not and remained just as active as ever right up until the day she went into labor.
On May 10th at 11:58am our son was born at home (on purpose!) and we named him Caulder.
He wasn’t even a month and a half when we took him on his first big adventure to Wyoming to fish and camp. From there his adventures only got more exciting; high mountain lakes and fourteeners, beautiful mountain passes and secret sections of river in steep canyons. Our baby has done more in his short life that most people do in a whole lifetime.We want to help inspire more people to get out there an explore with their children. We want to prove its not the end of the world when you start a family. Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you love!
All of this in the eyes of Papa Bear:
We get to bond as a family and share amazing memories together. We cherish this time together hiking in the mountains. My wife and I get to discuss ideas on parenting, our hopes for where we want to be in life, and how we want to raise our children.
I believe a child raised in the woods will turn out to be a more responsible person. I think that they will have much more respect for their natural surroundings. Having them see the beauty of the mountains and the woods will have a everlasting impression on themselves and how they will take care of their world when it comes their turn to be shepherds of the land. I believe the lifestyles of ones parents has an everlasting effect on the up and coming children. Its our responsibility as parents to be the best leaders we can and do this by example. Teaching them respect for the land and its animals can be a very rewarding experience. We can use the rivers for fish, the flora for foods, and the fauna for natural protein. These sources offer learning experiences for the child. Learning how and where real food comes from.In the eyes of Mama Bear:
In my humble opinion sharing our passion and respect for nature will help our son gain respect for all things living and non. We will teach him Leave No Trace ethics and proper wildlife interaction. In the age of technology I believe those types of things are lost on today’s youth. Kids fear the forest, teenagers trash camp sites and too many people don’t know what to do if they encounter a bear. This is totally unacceptable, to me anyways. All children should know how to start a fire, build a shelter, catch and clean a fish, and respect nature. Not just from watching a TV show about it. We as nature loving parents have a responsibility to teach our children these things, to pass on our love for the outdoors.
Last but not least, I believe our family to be a closer knit unit because of our time spent in the outdoors together. Our closeness comes form our time together around a camp fire instead of a TV or computer screen, it comes form the joy of reaching a summit or an overlook together instead of the next level of a video game. If you’ve never seen the wonder of the great outdoors through the eyes of a curious and innocent child you are missing out. Truly.
Feature Photo: celebdu/Flickr
Photos: Courtesy of Babies in the Backcountry