Thursday, June 3, 2010

Come Hike with Us. Shenandoah National Park: Big Meadows.

I'd like to say that "Come Hike with Us" will be a series. So here's the Shenandoah Big Meadows version.

With baby.

We did the Story of the Forest Trail on Saturday with my sisters and younger cousins. It was going well until a group of people warned they saw a bear and our group split up in opposite directions. I headed onward with one of my sisters, one of cousins, another family member, and the baby while my husband escorted two of my sisters and cousin (4 years old) back to the car.

Did we see the bear as we moved along? No. Was I worried about it? Slightly. No. Generally, black bears are not frazzled by people. They hear us coming, especially if we sing or are carrying a babbling, screeching, smiley baby, and move along to stay out of trouble. If the bear already crossed the trail without a care of the people on it, there's little reason this bear would shape up to trouble. I'll write a more detailed post on hiking and camping in bear country another time, but suffice it to say your chances of being attacked by a crazy bear are sort of the same as your chances of being attacked by a crazy person. Bears don't keep me out of the woods.

We started with Gabe in the stroller, but he was not happy headed down the rocks so we switched him over to the Moby Wrap. This was manageable for me, but I had to be extra careful with my footing. And we were not on a strenuous or even moderate trail, though we were in the mountains so some uphill/dowhill/rocks were in the path.

On Sunday morning, we did the Meadow Walk. It was at a perfect time of day... just after Gabe's oatmeal and fruit. He always gets very full, fussy, and sleepy, and if you handle the situation just right (which I do not always do), he goes down for a nap. And he did. Right in his stroller on the way into the meadow. He woke up in the middle of the talk, and he was happy to watch the grass roll by him. It gave me some time to shoot some nature photography, a hobby of mine that I love (I only use a point and shoot for now, though). Here are my faves from the Meadow Walk...

A carpet of bluets in the meadow.

Well, hi there, spider.

Without baby.

So sweet of my sister, she offered to babysit Gabe so that my husband and I could go hike alone for a few hours on Sunday. With our anniversary on the 31st, it was awesome to have some time alone and to get out on a trail much more our speed.

It was certainly a challenge for me to hike the Lewis Falls Trail's switchbacks because I have sort of fallen off my strict work out routine (I am down 57 pounds since I had Gabriel, though-- 50 of those were pregnancy pounds), but it felt so good to do it.

What's more romantic than a trail bathed in mountain laurel?

It was like returning to my old self again, and I think every woman needs to feel like they've returned to themselves at some point after having a baby. That hike was my little moment, and it certainly gave me the itch to get backpacking asap (this will not happen until Gabe is headed toward being weaned, which will probably really hit hard -at this rate and with G's hardcore love of food- in October of this year).

The view looking left on Blackrock.

My husband and I love hiking, and we are by no means limited by having Gabe around-- we are happy to tote him on adventures-- but we cannot do hikes like the Lewis Falls Trail with him. No strollers or wraps make that a safe trip. Anyway, our little Sunday hike was a 3.3. mile loop of awesome, complete with a moment at an amazing overlook just to ourselves. *Oh swoon.*


  1. Hmm.... I want to go hiking! I may have to have a talk with hubby soon and make some plans. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

  2. I love this post. It is so refreshing and it makes me really happy. Parents need to get out--so many people think having a baby is the end of their lives, but we just bring Dalia along for the adventure!

    I love the beautiful photography-stunning!!

  3. A friend just told me about your blog and from what I've seen I am loving it. I have always wanted to hike Shenandoah, and it's great that you're doing it with a baby in tow! I have to spend more time here, but for now I just wanted to say hi. I've also linked to you on the blog I'm getting up and running, jakeandella.com/blog. Take care! =)