Backpacks, water bottles, and snacks? Check.
Extra diapers, extra wipes, and a change of clothes for both boys? Check.
Carrier, infant insert, and a light blanket for the baby? Check, check, and check.
I buckled each boy into his respective seat in the car and eagerly climbed into my own in the front. I glanced back at the boys in their car seats and took a deep breath. This was it: my very first outing with two kids… by myself.
It had been months since my last hike with Hike it Baby and I’d missed spending time with my friends on the trails around Colorado Springs. After the birth of my second son and several weeks of rest and recovery, I was anxious to get back outside with my hiking family.
There was only one huge stumbling block in my way: how on earth would I manage a toddler AND a newborn out in the woods without the help of my husband?
I voiced my concerns about venturing out by myself to some friends on our branch Facebook page and the support came back loud and clear: I didn’t have to do it by myself.
“We got your back! We will be there to help with the load!”
“We can’t feed for you but we can help with everything else!”
While not completely eased, my nervousness about braving the great outdoors with my two young kids was largely gone. I knew we would be in good hands.
Dust spun around the car as we pulled into the parking lot of one of our favorite nearby parks. I excitedly hopped out of the driver’s seat, loaded my baby into his carrier, unbuckled my toddler, then took him by the hand and headed to the group of moms and babes gathered at the trailhead. After a bit of small talk and a welcome circle, we were off.
My son ran along the trail with another little boy while my baby slept soundly on my chest. I chatted and laughed with the other mothers in our group and felt completely recharged by the social interaction I’d been without for months.
One mile became two, and two became three. We kept the boys moving by having them race, tempting them with fruit snacks, and even listening to some Queen as we hiked the final stretch (I swear I could happily trudge along forever listening to a two year old sing “We Will Rock You.”).
At long last, we completed our loop through the trees and made it back to the trailhead. We said goodbye to our new friends then climbed into the trunk of the car for our usual end-of-the-hike, tailgate snack.
With the support and encouragement of my Hike it Baby family, my very first outing with my two sons was an incredible experience.
We shed our backpacks and loaded up the car. I buckled each boy back into his seat and climbed back into my own. A cloud of dust kicked up behind the car as I pulled out of the parking lot and headed home, tired and slightly sunburned but deliriously happy.
Photo Credits: Krystal Weir @krystalweirphotography
Jessie Emslie writes from her home at the foot of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she lives with her husband, her two boys, and her dog and cat. She is happiest exploring the outdoors with her baby on her chest, her husband and her toddler by her side, and her camera in hand. Jessie documents her everyday adventures on Instagram and her blog, Two Kids in Tow, where she shares stories, tips, and guides to inspire other young families to go outside and explore the world together.