One of the benefits of staying in relatively good physical condition is being able to enjoy impromptu hikes with my adult children. Like when we visited our son’s family in Port Orchard, WA, and they wanted to take us on our first geocaching adventure. With their twin 3 month old babies.
I had offered to stay home with the girls, not realizing it was a good hour’s drive to the park they wanted to hike in. This would not work with babies dependent on their mama for nourishment. So, off we all went in the late January drizzle that typifies a coastal northwest town. (click on any photo to enlarge.)
Even though it was 20 degrees warmer than what I had left behind in Idaho, the damp cold was penetrating my bones. We had only brought minimal outdoor attire, since we flew with carry-on luggage and it didn’t occur to us we would be hiking with 3 month old babies. No matter. My son and his wife had everything the babies needed to stay warm. When we arrived at the trail at Fort Flagler, they offered one of the girls to me as a portable heater, so-to-speak. This arrangement was also of use to them, as their dad was looking forward to being able to root around in the woods for the geocache treasure, and it was a bit much for their mom to carry both of them.
After the baby and I were all twisted and snapped into one twin’s worth of the new-fangled baby carrier, I felt reasonably sure I wouldn’t drop the child. Between the eskimo-like baby and the energy I exerted to walk, I began to warm up. Initially, I was wondering how I would adjust to wearing a baby again, let alone hiking around with one. I was pleased with how it went from the start.
I was wearing my red Sockwa’s over wool toe socks, which let me retain a great feel for balance. I was able to navigate logs, muddy bogs, and steep sections with ease. It seemed that both the stability and posture possible from such stable foot placement, plus overall strength from regular exercise, made it easy to proceed with grace and confidence. I didn’t feel at all at risk and my back never felt strained or tired.
My pyschedelic polar fleece poncho was all the coat I had, but as long as I could generate heat, it and the baby helped me retain the heat. Since I have developed an aerobic base of endurance, I could carry the extra weight and keep up without getting out of breath. I was able to converse, and even sang back to a songbird in the trees once.
The crew found 2 geocaches, and we newbies were given interesting explanations on procedures involved in trading out objects and re-hiding the container. I can see how this would add a fun element to hiking, as long as someone else is with me to do the serious looking. I liked seeing it found, but I don’t think I would have the patience to find it myself.
I told my kids that I would be happy to go on another such excursion with them when we are able to visit again. It’s nice they don’t have to worry about me keeping up or being strained by the effort. And I can even be useful carrying small children, if they are well packed.