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.

Cold Nipples Suck… My Tips for Successful Breastfeeding on Winter Hikes (repost from old site)

For those of you who breastfeed, know that it can be super easy and convenient to breastfeed while hiking because you don’t have to prep bottles. You don’t have to carry extra things. It makes hiking a lot easier. You can just whip your boob out when you’re ready, feed baby, and be on the go. That being said, it can be a little tricky in the winter. 

My very first time breastfeeding my son on a hike was actually in the winter. It was December 13, last year. So just over a year ago, and it was like 40 degrees out at the highest, If you were in the sun and there was no breeze. There was snow on the ground. So it wasn’t freezing cold, but it was pretty darn chilly. I made a very big mistake that time and I wore what I would normally wear to hike for that temperature. But I didn’t consider the fact that I would be freezing to death when I needed to feed my son. 

First time breastfeeding on the trail in the winter. I forgot that to feed him I’d have to take off all my layers! FREEZING

Since then I’ve learned a lot, and my favorite thing that I’ve learned is a different way of layering. I found sports bras that are easy to nurse in. I don’t have very big chest. I like one that I can just pull aside versus a snap-on-snap-off one, but there’s tons out there that are super great that snap on and snap off, if that’s what you prefer. I just like to wear a regular sports bra and pull it up. It’s more comfortable that way, and for me that’s more important long term. I also have one that’s more like a deep V-­neck sports bra, by Ice Breaker, and that one pulls off to the side very easily. I love it.

My Favorite Bras by Icebreaker Are:

To keep my body warm, I found Merino Wool, which is known for keeping you warm or cool without getting you too hot and sweaty. It’s great stuff. Definitely look into it if you have never heard of it. I like to wear a cami, which is just a really lightweight tank top. Camis don’t really provide a whole bunch of warmth by themselves, but they’re a great base layer. I like them because they’re easy to pull out of the way to nurse, but they don’t get overly hot or sweaty when you’re hiking and have all your stuff on. And then when you pull your shirt aside to nurse, you’re not freezing to death because there’s still a layer of clothing on your skin. The Siren Tank and the Siren Cami by Icebreaker are great merino wool base layer options.

So, what I’ve found is that if I wear something with a deep zipper, like a half zip sweater or athletic wear top that’s long sleeve, it works perfectly over top of a cami and sports bra. I just pull everything over to the side to nurse and pull it back on when I’m done. This way, pretty much all my clothes get to stay on, which is so much warmer than just pulling your shirt up the way I did the very first time, wherein I literally sat there shivering while feeding my son. 

Much warmer! Ok yes in this picture I’m in the car but this is the set up that worked so much better on the trail 😉

So, don’t be afraid of winter if you’re nursing. Yes, it can be a little tricky. And, yes, cold nipples suck. But it’s totally worth it. You just have to figure out what kind of clothing works best for you to layer properly.

My favorite way to go is a merino wool cami tank top, over a comfortable sports bra that’s easy to pull to the side or pull up, underneath a long sleeve half zip, then topped with a full zip coat or jacket. I prefer a full zip coat or jacket because it makes it easy to keep my arms warm, but if I really have to I can take it all the way off, and I’ll still be warm because of all the layers I have on. Obviously, the colder it is the more you’re going to need to layer. Layers are always your best friend. 

Lions and Tigers and Moose…OH MY! (repost from old site)

I want to talk about what happens when you see a moose. Now everybody knows I’ve spent a shit ton of time in the mountains. I’ve lived in the mountains basically my whole life. I grew up in Colorado Rocky Mountains. We’ve got lions and tigers and bears oh my. But really what happens when you get close to a moose moose is scary. There’s only two things I’m afraid of. And that would be mountain lions/bobcats/big cats and moose. I don’t care about Bear. I don’t care about wolves. I don’t care about coyotes but moose and cats scare the crap out of me.

Even in the winter this guy loves hiking!

So yesterday up here in Breckenridge, I was going for a snow hike (was intended to be a snow shoeing but that didn’t happen). Anyway, I digress. Hiking in the snow with my son, I am a quarter of a mile away from getting back to the trailhead and come around the corner and there are two moose. At this point I can’t quite tell. Do we have two cows? Do you have a cow and a baby? Do you have a cow and a bull? What do we have? I couldn’t quite see it, but luckily at this point my son and I had already been babbling and yelling and making all sorts of noise for miles and we did not startle them at all, which is a good thing. You don’t want to startle a moose. That’s even worse.

It turns out that I had come across a cow, which is a female, and her baby. Baby is clearly less than a year old and was probably born this spring. Mom was off in the willows, a good good distance off the trail, so closer than I’d like to be but good distance from the trail, munching down on some willow bark. But baby was like two steps off the trail. Mind you, I’ve got my son on my back. We’re hiking almost back to the trailhead. I’m tired I’m exhausted. I’m sore. There’s snow. The trail itself is packed. But if you step off the trail it’s knee deep. And then the moose are standing in a little creek. I kept talking.

I decide to tell these moose, “Hey I’m here. We’re just passing by. I’m not going to hurt you.” I just keep talking to the Moose. I Show them my hands. You know a lot of people think I’m crazy for talking to animals, but I really think they can understand us. Body language means a lot to me. And so I talk to animals when I come across them because it helps keep yourself calm. It helps to make sure you’re not startling them, and I’m pretty sure it helps them know that you’re not there to hurt them. So I keep talking to these moose. I tell them how beautiful they are. I tell them we’re not going to hurt them, we’re just passing by.

Momma moose

We get past Mom no problem. But baby is really close to the trail. And when we get a little bit closer to baby he decides to take a couple steps towards us. Now even a baby moose, less than a year old, weighs more than I do. If he wanted to he could easily have charged me and hurt me very badly, and mom would have come to his rescue, and mom would have probably trampled me to death. That is usually what happens when there’s a moose incident. Somebody gets trampled because they get in between a mom and baby or a dog goes after the moose. That is how most accidents happen. They’re very rare, but that’s what happens. So baby Moose takes a couple steps forward. I take two steps backwards. And then I just stand still for a minute. I show the baby moves my hands. I tell them again, “I’m not here to hurt you. I’m just passing by. We’ll take our time.” He stops, stares at me for a couple of minutes and then takes a couple steps backwards and turns around. He doesn’t totally walk off, but he at least walks farther away from the trail. While he has his back to us we manage to pass him, always keeping my eyes on him. It’s kind of hard when you’re trying to watch your step in the snow but always make sure you know where you are relative to the moose. Get around him and then keep talking to him. Don’t just stop talking because you manage to pass them. They can move a lot faster than you can.

All in all, it was scary but it was also a really wonderful experience. I’ve actually never been that close to moose. I’ve had lots of close calls with a dog and moose before.

Like I said the number one incident with moose out here in Colorado is that a dog off leash goes after a moose and the moose charges. Most don’t typically run away. Most moose will turn around and charge. They know they are a big huge contraption. So what do you do when you come across the moose? You talk to them. You should never startle an animal. You should always be making sound on the trail. You talk, you sing, you babble with your baby. Always be making some sort of noise. Yeah it’s nice to listen to the birds and stuff, but especially if you’re alone in an area with animals, make some noise. If you do come across some, gauge the distance. The farther away you are, the safer you are. Do you have a dog? Get a hold of that dog immediately. It needs to be on a leash or very well held in your hand. And I really hope that dog is well trained to not chase animals. It’s really hard to do. It’s something you need to train from puppy hood. But get a hold of that dog before it goes after them as you could be in very very big trouble if that moose does decide to come at you. Don’t try to outrun it. You will not win. It will outrun you. It will trample you. That’s just the way it happens. That being said, there are a couple things you can do. You want to protect your vital organs. So if you can get behind a big tree, get behind a big tree, because Moose can run fast. They cannot slow down fast. They very well might run themselves into that tree trying to get to you.

Baby moose

The other thing is kind of curl up in a ball to protect your vital organs. Put your hands behind your neck, tuck your head down, curl up in a ball. You’re still going to get injured if you get trampled, but you’re less likely to die. And yeah that’s kind of scary to think about. But it’s something you really have to know, especially if you’re out there by yourself, and especially if you’re out there with a dog.

But the biggest thing is, again, moose incidents are rare. Being well informed, making sound, talking to them, telling them, “hey we’re not here to hurt you,” it makes a huge difference. So yeah, while it was kind of a little scary to be that close to some big moose mom and baby, it was a beautiful experience. I actually got pictures of the moose. I got to see them. My son got to see moose, so that was really awesome. Hey don’t be afraid of animals. Again, just be smart.

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.

SCORE! Budget Saving Deals (Originally Posted on AllWomenAllTrails.com)

Disclaimer: No affiliation with any links provided in the post. No commission being earned.

Backpacking, hiking, running … supposed to be the ‘cheaper’ sports. Just lace up and go. But anyone who’s done even the slightest bit of research knows that it still ain’t cheap.

So with a major trip coming up that requires a major purchase (a pack in my case) how do you save money?

First off, not everything needs to be new. Check out Craigslist and the Facebook marketplace for local used stuff. I recommend staying away from used shoes unless they are a pair someone tried once and just didn’t work for them. If you are an REI member they have Gear Swaps once a year and often have killer deals in their garage sales (now available online too YAY). In CO I also recommend checking out local small gear shops. We have tons scattered around the state. And a newer up and coming bigger store is Feral Mountain Co. (https://feralmountainco.com/)

For new stuff: The biggest money saving thing is to remember that 90% of the time last year’s model is just as good (sometimes better) than this year’s new model. Closeouts can pretty much always be found 25-50% off their original retail price. For example, I’m getting last year’s model of the Deva 80 pack by Gregory. This year’s model retails at $349.99. I’m getting last year’s model for $179.99!! That’s $170 saved just for getting last year’s model.

Previous models are regularly found on discount sites. They often carry clothes and footwear seriously discounted as well. All have reasonable return policies too for when it doesn’t work out. These are my favorite to check out and all run their own sales and coupons too. (No affiliation with any, just sharing)

Sierra.com

Backcountry.com

TheClymb.com

MooseJaw.com

For the newest and latest REI often has great sales, especially around Memorial Day and Fourth of July. Plus their members discount days, 1 year return policy for members, and the opportunity to earn dividends (aka money back), makes them a great choice. Also, most major gear companies run their own spectacular sales. If you can wait for major sale weekends I suggest you do and shop around.

If you’re a blogger with major audience or a professional in the outdoor/fitness industry in some capacity, chances are you probably qualify for some pro discounts too.

Nightmare Come True (Part 4 and Final)

A temporary sigh of relief!

The breathing treatment worked and his stats are improving. He still requires high amounts of oxygen support but for the moment we are ok.

We still don’t know on the blood work. If it comes back not so great we are still getting transferred. If his breathing worsens again we are still looking at high flow and transferring.

I feel as if we are holding our breathe yet trying to breathe for him at the same time. Have you ever seen an over active 18 month old just roll over and pass out in the middle of the day while in the middle of conversation? …. I have. It’s scary.

Glowing toe! Pulse/ox

Still small enough for leg cuffs for blood pressure checks

…….

The hours tick by. He’s still doing relatively ok.

Finally the answer to blood work…. it’s normal. Thank goodness. For now we get stay put.

Goals

-get oxygen down to 1/2 liter or none

-get fever gone

-get the wee man to drink enough fluids to not require an IV

-no longer require the hospital grade suction from the wall – aka manage with a nose frida or a bulb syringe

…..

How to entertain an 18 month old in isolation- wagon rides back and forth in the room

Surprise visitors brought a wee man sized sloth!

Oxygen lasso while we test no O2 while awake

“If I can’t go outside can I at least look?!”

A couple surprise visits (including his primary NICU nurse) and a few days of lots of work and more breathing treatments we managed all the goals and got to home.

EZPap – not quite CPAP but similar. For a few minutes every few hours it forces air into the lungs to make them open and not close all the way when you breathe out …. and yea they hate this

Nightmare Come True (Part 3 of however many more it takes to tell the story)

Reality check. Nightmare was just beginning.

Second night in the hospital and little man’s oxygen stats drop and drop and don’t come back up. And this is already after having to wake him to get him a new IV.

We try increasing oxygen again and again and again but nothing, no improvement.

Doctor has been called and now we’re having the discussion about what happens next. About returning to high flow oxygen (oxygen with some pressure to help force lungs open), about being transferred to the main hospital, about going to ICU. Those three letters. The real nightmare. The fact we even have to discuss it is anything but ok.

……….

We have one more thing to try. If it doesn’t work – high flow. Also a blood test to see how his body is reacting. There’s a point at which the body reaches a guarantee it will need more support even if it is ok now. If this test shows he’s reached that point, even if we get him breathing better we will be transferred.

Holding our breathe.

Last attempt at a breathing treatment works. His stats start coming up. He’s still requiring extra oxygen but we’re ok for now.

Still holding our breathe on the blood test. We still don’t know if we’re really improving or if this is temporary.

To be continued…

Nightmare Come True (Part 2 of 3 … well maybe 4)

We didn’t make it to the next day.

Instead we ended up rushing ourselves to the closest Children’s Hospital ER. Not going to lie….I was flying through a construction zone at night. My little man could barely breathe and it sure as heck wasn’t getting better with the home medication.

It felt like forever getting into a room, waiting for a doctor. Sitting there and the monitor says he’s getting enough oxygen but I just know something isn’t right and he really can’t breathe.

FINALLY a doctor … and thank goodness she ordered an x-Ray of his lungs.

Pneumonia…

Black is air. White is bone or fluid

Damn that sucks. His lungs really aren’t up for tackling that.

At first the conversation was going home with antibiotics. The more we talked and the doctor got the full story, the more it became obvious he needed to stay.

At this point he’d have a fever for 14 days!!! He’s also not eating or drinking which means he’s getting more and more dehydrated every minute. Plus he’s a preemie – it doesn’t take much for things to go from bad to deadly.

A while back I shared a friends blog about how couldn’t go back. ( https://www.lifeafteryou.org/home/on-the-other-side-of-the-sanitizer ) That’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re going back. Back to living in a tiny room hooked up to cords and wires and oxygen.

For me this is more than just being in the hospital with my very sick son. This is reliving the NICU.

We make it through that night. Antibiotics and IV fluids started. Trust me when I say no on e wants to pin their child down for the things that you need to do to make them well….IVs, nasal suction, breathing treatments, etc.

The next day was another test. This time they swab is nose and send it off to see what grows. Tests for all sorts of viruses including the different flu strains and also a couple rare bacteria.

Comes back positive for RSV and Adenovirus. Both respiratory viruses that are extremely dangerous to those with weaker lungs and compromised immune systems. Both of which my preemie son have. RSV is so scary for preemies it’s literally something there’s extra precautions for and the main reason we keep our littles in bubbles and act like hermits when we get out of NICU. It can very easily kill a compromised child.

This….this is a preemie Mom’s nightmare.

To be continued…

Nightmare Come True (Part 1 of 2 maybe 3)

I’ve spent a lot time thinking and rewriting how I would share about this. How I would share about a nightmare come true. I wrote a draft basically telling everyone to F***ing wash their hands and cover their mouths. I wrote a draft that probably was a wee be too sciency for most.

Today we are home! Those words. We’ve said them before coming home from NICU. Doing a happy dance (yes literally) when we got told we’re going home.

Thank you Peanuts for teaching us how to Happy Dance

Yesterday we did that happy dance all over again.

On Valentine’s Day I got a call from my wee man’s child care provider he had a low fever and wouldn’t stop crying. After 6 days of a yo-yo fever and no other obvious symptoms I took him in to get checked out. Strep and flu negative but a bit of a red throat. Aka – no big deal probably just a little cold give it a few more days.

Sick and stealing cookies… can’t be that bad?

Next day urine reaks…I’m talking his pee only diaper smelled like the worst poopy one he’s had… REAKS. Ok so it must be a UTI.

Nope. Culture comes back negative and now he has a cough. 24 hours after cough develops its way worse and now sounds like wheezing too. To the ER

“Sounds like croup.” Treat for croup – responds – pediatrician agrees the following day.

In ER and yet he’s smiling

Now it’s Wednesday. Night before had been up and down. Morning ok. After nap little man sounds horrible. I’m thinking it’s the strider (sounds kinda like wheezing but more high pitched sound that comes with croup). Hot shower….still just standing there looking at me like he can barely breathe.

Pediatrician has an immediate opening so we head there and find out he’s actually wheezing. Thinking it’s just the virus effects on his preemie lungs. He responds to a couple nebulizer treatments and sounds and looks better. So we go home with the same medication for over night with plans to re-assess the following day.

Nebulizer at pediatrician
Playing while waiting to see if meds helped

Suction machine at pediatrician

Mom I don’t feel good

We never made it to the following day.

To be continued…

Geese Icing

Recently in Colorado it’s been on a pattern of snow 1x/week the be in the 40-50s. It’s gorgeous.

It also makes for some funny running stories

It was 2 days after a good heavy wet snow. About 45 out when I went to start a run. The thought was that the track was probably melted after a day and half in the sun so it would be fine to go run with the stroller and dogs.

Well I was wrong. It was almost completely covered still. At first it didn’t seem too bad. Stroller rolls quite smoothly through snow. But there’s a flock of geese that have been hanging out and their footprints cover about half the track. Each one being a spot that’s melted and refrozen. So a whole bunch of geese foot sized ice pits. Pushing a stroller through this is not only extremely difficult (as is pushing 1/3 of my body weight wasn’t enough) but feels like rolling over a washboard. Needless to say little man wasn’t happy and it wasn’t exactly runnable.

So pause and try again. Half the track is smooth snow without footprints. “I’ll just run U’s,” was my thought. Ok great the first few times but now the stroller tracks are turning into ice grooves. Once again little man not happy.

I decided to head home. Leave the dogs there, pee, grab a drink and try again on the paved trail. Honestly this wasn’t much better. Some areas were dry but about half was ice and slush pits.

Let’s just say it ended up being a painful it at all fun run. And bonus the little man o lay slept for a short bit and was awake before we were home, so no real nap.

Have a funny winter running story?? Share below!!