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.

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.

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.

Facing Fears… Again (Originally Posted on AllWomenAllTrails.com)

Anyone who knows anything about fires, especially in the Rocky Mountains, has heard of the Hayman Fire. 

June 8, 2002 the fire was started due to negligence by none other than a ranger. It burned 138,114 acres and there were 6 fatalities, making it the largest fire in Colorado’s history still to this day. I was 8 years old and remember it vividly. Many of my friends were evacuated. My family built houses extremely near the fire. Even “in town” the smoke dropped ashes.

Burn severity map of the Hayman Fire of 2002.

I’ve visited the area several times of the course of the last 17 years since the fire blazed. The last time I multi-day tripped through Lost Creek Wilderness I was in part of the burn area. It’s the driest area of an entire wilderness that is mostly full of water. Last time I was there was 14 years after the fire and the new trees were only 3-4 feet tall. 

Take that in for a minute. At elevation, AFTER FOURTEEN YEARS, trees are only a few feet tall!

The looming storm. This photo was taken around 9:30 am which is extremely early in the day for storms to roll in in Colorado.

The burn area is still full of many of the trees that burned. Many have fallen in storms, many remain standing dead as lighting rods. The only other thing in the area is large granite formations. They are gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but also spooky.

You see big cats live there. One of two mountain creatures I’m truly afraid of. The last time I was in the area there was cat scat on the trail, fresh, and a looming storm. It was dead silent. No birds chirping, no squirrels bickering, no hawks screeching…NOTHING…not even a breeze. I found myself in the midst of what became a massive thunderstorm and the only place for shelter is where the cats live…and I knew for sure one was in the area- probably watching me.

The burn area after 14 years (2016)

Thinking about it gives me the creeps. This year I will be spending a lot more time in the burn area. At lower elevations you almost can’t see the remnants of the fire and it’s not really that big a deal. At higher elevation it’s definitely still noticeable and I’ll have my precious wee man with me.

So as creepy as it was, I keep hoping those days will be sunny and full chirping birds and bickering squirrels and go on knowing I will just have to face that fear…again.

The storm rolled in within 20 minutes, bringing lightning, thunder, and over 5 hours of torrential downpour.

Miles and Miles of Trails (Originally Posted on AllWomenAllTrails.com)

I’ve had my route planned out for some time now. I’ve requestioned it about a thousand times and I still like it!

I’ll be hiking approximately 90 miles in the course of 6-7 days with my then 23 month old autistic son! That means carrying all the gear. It’s officially been decided my four legged, Riley, will be joining us too. He will love this adventure and knows these trails just as well as I do. Our last trip was just us two, now I get to share it with my son. 

The idea of taking a small, young, autistic child with me is daunting. But it’s also so exciting. The outdoors are his favorite and we’ll be getting away from the city and a lot of the things that set him off. More to come on planning with a special needs kid later.

For now the route. 

This is how I have it typed up…which looks kind of silly when you take it out of context.

Route

Payne Creek/Brookside 607
8 miles To Craig Creek 608
#1 camp 4 miles down Craig Creek day total 12

2 miles To Ben Tyler 606
5.5 miles To CO trail set 5
#2 camp 7 miles down CO Trail Seg 4/5 meet day total 15

8 miles Brookside McCurdy 2 miles to lost park
#3 camp 3 miles down Brookside day total 13

Take 607 3 miles to Bison
4 miles To Lake Park 639
7 miles To Hankins Pass 630
#4 camp near Hankins Pass day total 14 miles

4 miles To Goose Creek 612
9.5 miles to Wigwam trail 609
#5 camp near Wigwam merge day total 13.5

1 mile To rolling creek 663
6 miles To CO Trail
3 miles To Payne Creek 637
#6 camp or push to home day total 10

9 miles To 607 then 3 miles to home

Total approx 90 miles

This will to some extent be an outer loop of the wilderness area. I’m getting super excited as the day draws nearer.

Map needed for this trip. This time I’ll actually need both sides!

How to Spot an Ultra Runner (Originally Posted on AllWomenAllTrails.com)

Ok, so you’re on a backpacking trip with the plan to cover a 24-26 mile loop over the course of 2 nights/3 days and all the sudden some lady with absolutely no gear comes passing you and you’re at mile 15. What the heck?!

My dear friends let me introduce to you an Ultra Runner!

My man ‘pacing’ our friend up Hope Pass during the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run.

First off what is an Ultra Runner?

We are the crazy people who run distances farther than 26.2 miles (marathon). We tend to run that distance as our weekly (YES WEEKLY) long run. So when you’re on the trails here are some tips to know you’ve spotted one such rare beast called an Ultra Runner.

1: We are only wearing trail running shoes, shorts and a shirt (maybe) and sometimes a hat or sunglasses.

2: Our gear consists of as little as nothing, whatever fits in those tiny ass running short pockets, maybe a handheld bottle with a small pouch that doesn’t even fit most phones, or a hip belt or pack UP TO 12L. And my friends that’s a big ass pack. Oh and we may or may not have poles with us- but I can guarantee you that our pair weighs much less than one of yours – this also means we’ve been known to be stupid enough to not have enough with us – so we love you when you save our asses by offering your extra food or water!

Sometimes our “gear” is hilarious and only has a small purpose….we carry it anyways…. like said stuffed fish.

3: We are running…..out in the middle of nowhere, up that crazy mountain, through that big river (ok sometimes we might power hike, walk, or even crawl…but we gotta get home. Remember – we don’t have sleeping gear!)

4: We are miles into our day before you’ve even taken down camp – and that extra cup of coffee you brewed- we’d love to chat for a minute and help it not go to waste.

My dear friend of https://lightningpickles.wordpress.com/ running across our CO Rockies …. Damn, that view!! 

5: We eat WHILE we move – but hey, if you invite us to sit with you for lunch and we have time we probably will!! Because SITTING!!

6: Your 26 mile multi-day backpacking loop is our long training run – PLEASE keep sharing your trips! We read these to plan accordingly and they can save our lives- especially when you talk about where water is available!!

Because this is fun to run through too.

7: We are probably covered in mud or trail dust – no we usually aren’t really THAT tan.

8: We have a watch, but not just any watch. It’s a fancy GPS mile recording, heart rate tracking, Strava linking, performance checking, backtracking fancy ass watch (they make really awesome ones that are great for any type of back country trips!)

And sometimes we hike…. 9: When we do backpacking trips we cover more ground than most and start as soon as it’s light, they are just power hiking training trips – simply because we honestly don’t know how to slow down or not get up and going (example: backpacking with my 23 mo old this coming summer we plan to cover 90 miles or 14 miles per day on average). 10: You’re on a multi day trip and see us on two different days but we had dinner at home and slept in bed in between and still covered the same miles you did – while I love my bed I am jealous you get to sleep under the stars – it’s just really hard to run and carry sleeping gear. Don’t be intimidated. Sometimes a chatty walk break about craziness is exactly the boost we need to make it home. So flag us down, wave, say hello, help take that crazy picture (because it’s not real if it isn’t documented right?) and know we love these trails just as much as you.

Me in the Leadville Silver Rush 50 Mile Run….ALL SMILES