Get Out!: Baby's First 4,000-Foot Mountain | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Get Out!: Baby's First 4,000-Foot Mountain 

Get Out! Hiking with Baby

Published June 2, 2015 at 2:44 p.m.

click to enlarge Another happy family in the alpine zone - TRISTAN VON DUNTZ
  • Tristan von Duntz
  • Another happy family in the alpine zone
Memorial Day weekend has always marked the start to our summer hiking season. It’s when the Green Mountain Club opens the high-elevation sections of the Long Trail to the public after the spring thaw and mud season. By the time the trails are ready for us, my partner, Tristan, and I are beyond ready for them.

Every year we take the three-day weekend to backpack a section of the Long Trail. Tristan and I did the whole trail together in 2001 as an end-to-end hike. These shorter outings allow us to relive some of our favorite parts. On Memorial Day weekends past, we've hiked from Brandon Gap to Middlebury Gap, from Lincoln Gap to Appalachian Gap, and from Bolton Notch to Smugglers' Notch.

We took last Memorial Day weekend off because I was pregnant. This year seemed like the perfect opportunity to introduce our 6-month-old daughter, Elise, to backpacking. We planned to hike the Monroe Trail to the Hump Brook Tenting Area, a favorite campsite on the side of Camel's Hump. We would set up camp there, then hike to the summit of Camel's Hump. We’d return to our campsite, cook dinner on our backpacking stove and fall asleep next to the babbling Hump Brook.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had different plans.

With a forecast of thunderstorms and heavy rain overnight, we learned our first lesson as backpacking parents: Be adaptable. Since we didn't want to introduce Elise to sleeping in a tent on a scary and stormy night, we reassessed and decided to turn our overnight trip into a day hike. The weather looked clear for Tuesday — and our work schedules afford us some flexibility — so we chose to hike Camel's Hump that day.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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Sarah Galbraith

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