The month before Mason was born I “grounded” my husband. I’ll admit it, I was completely freaked out and convinced I was going to go into labor while he was out kayaking some remote river or climbing over some pass.
I had visions of calling a cab to get to the hospital and what I would say to him when he showed up and the baby was already born. How could I not be completely annoyed at him missing the birth of our first and only child we were planning on having? Yup, pregnant thoughts.
So I set up some rules.
Here’s the thing about my husband, he’s an awesome guy. He makes me laugh, he’s my adventure buddy and my best friend. But he also hates being “limited” in what he can do when it comes to heading out for an adventure. He likes to explore without strict timelines and living in Oregon means the playground is endless. He also thinks an hour hike is not a hike, but merely a leisurely stroll.
Truthfully his adventurous spirit when it comes to getting out there is why I fell in love with him, but at times it’s also a thorn in my side when we have things that we don’t see eye-to-eye on as important. He also isn’t keen on “rules” when they are being dished out by the wife he had never planned on having in his lifetime.
But at 40 weeks I wasn’t budging. I wanted him within cell range and less than an hour away from me at all times. Oh and by the way, no activities that in any way put him in danger from being present on this earth on his son’s birth day. Kayaking big rivers, nope. Ten-mile hikes, don’t even think about it. Skiing on glaciers off peaks, are you serious? Ok, I’ll admit I was probably a wee bit hormonal and over reacting when he maybe just was saying he wanted to stand up paddle board down the river down the road, but jeez, I was about to birth a little human!
As Mason’s birth day neared Mark was feeling more anxious in general, and so his cabin fever was compounding like a bad case of poison oak that spreads the more you itch it. That’s when he decided to hike the Wildwood trail, a 30-mile-stretch of trail running through Portland. I had to agree to this because he would rarely be out of cell range for long, he could get to me within an hour from nearly anywhere in the park and if needed, I could find his exact whereabouts through cell service in case of emergency.
At the time I didn’t know this trail would eventually end up as one of my staple go to trails with Mason whenever I wanted a little urban refuge, with or without Mark.
Over the weeks leading up to Mason being born I watched Mark pull out a map that he printed up in sections and taped together, marking parts of it off with a highlighter after he had completed a section.
While the Wildwood isn’t a crazy adventure or untracked trail, it is an excellent stepping off point from being an urban hiker to slowly learning how to become a true trail hiker. There are loops and side trails and many different configurations for roaming through the 30-miles stretch of trails. Mark was able to satiate his adventurous spirit with this trail for the few weeks that I “grounded” him by simply narrowing his exploration field and setting a goal of completing the whole trail. There he found adventure within boundaries I was comfortable with.
When Mason was almost a year and a half my friend Beth texted me from the Wildwood trail. “We’ve got to hike this trail. All of it. Will you do it with me?” If you’ve heard me tell this story before you know I excitedly agreed and then this became the beginning of the Hike it Baby 30 and the rest is history and here we are today.
What I would come to discover about the Wildwood trail and why I hike bits and pieces of it almost every month, is that there are guidebooks and it’s well marked, there is also a lot of room to explore and many ways to explore it. It’s all in how you look at the trail.
After hiking all 30 miles of the Wildwood (which was 54 with the out and backs) in November 2014 I felt more connected to Mark and to Mason. Mark hiked about 10 of the miles with Mason and I, but the rest we did alone in a month while Mark was away at work.
It also has a clear goal of 30 miles to complete and it was that goal that helped both Mark and I in different ways, find the adventure we needed as Mason entered into our lives.
As we enter into 2016 I am thinking about what my new goals are with Mason. He’s two and a half now. Our life is different than it was when he was an infant and a baby. We need to find trails that I can muscle through with him on my back and that are safe enough for him to hike on his own too.
I have a few different thoughts about what my goals are. I want to hike 52 hikes in 2016 and do the 52 Hike Challenge (they are a new partner of ours so check them out!). I am committed to getting my 30 miles in on trail in the month of January even though I’ll be away for a week. But I am also thinking again about the Wildwood trail. That’s the trail in my heart. How can I explore it differently than last time? Am I up for muscling through it in the month of January?
There’s no fail in trying. But if you never look for your trail and then set that goal you’ll only wonder “what if I had…” right?
These days Mark is no longer “grounded”. He’s headed to the Grand Canyon in a few months for a month of man time away on the river. People ask me how I can let him go off and do these adventures and all I can do is smile and say because he has his goals and his trails and I have mine and if ever they do meet, and often they do, we have fun. And if ever they are apart, we each bring back our own adventures to share together in story we are weaving to tell our son when he will understand better. And then from that place we find our next adventure we can do as 3, Mark, Mason and Me.
Happy New Year everyone and enjoy those trails out there wherever you are.
HiB 30 January is underway! Are you in?
Need some motivation to get yourself and your family outside in January? If so, then sign-up for the HIKE IT BABY 30 JANUARY CHALLENGE and join the amazing Hike it Baby global community in getting your babies outside for 30 miles in 30 days, or 30 minutes 3 times a week.
Registration closes January 15.
Invite your hiking buddies and consider gifting a registration to a friend.
Last but not least, sign up by January 10th to be automatically entered to gift a registration on the January Challenge!
Thinking about doing the Hike it Baby 30 but not sure about it? We have tons of great stories from people who got out there last challenge. Check out the blog for more stories from Challengers.
Got in our last hike/walk of the challenge. I was a little disappointed I didn’t log quite as many miles as our previous challenge…but I cut myself some slack because we had a lot more going on than a couple months back. My last minute goal was to hit 120 miles…after our hike earlier today we hadn’t quite hit our goal and I was ready to just call it a day. But my older son had archery tonight and I decided to make the most of it by talking little man for a walk to the park. We made it to 120! – Monique Vargas
We did it! Almost 40 miles, over 1000 minutes, and “outside time” 17 days this month. I’ve really enjoyed hearing everyone else’s stories about getting outside too. It’s so motivating to have a personal goal and a community of people all striving for their own goals too. – Leah
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Check out our partner
52 Hike Challenge
Do you love the HiB30 Challenge and have a hard time waiting for the next one in between Challenges? The 52 Hike Challenge is an organization similar to Hike it Baby and a great way to keep yourself inspired and motivated this year on top of the HiB30 Challenges!
The goal is to log 52 hikes in a year’s time. When you do 30 miles in 30 days with a HiB30 Challenge that should knock out a few right there! Why not join another community dedicated to getting people outdoors and back into nature? It’s free and fun for all. Let’s show the world how our HiB families can get those hikes in and rock the 52 Hike Challenge on social media. Share the challenge with your friends and family around the world and let’s get hiking.
#52hikechallenge and tag @52hikechallenge if you are posting to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Lead-a-hike in January
Let’s get our calendar filled with fun and motivational outdoor activities! Choose a time that works for you and inspire other families to join you! All you have to do is submit a hike to the Hike it Baby calendar. Need even more incentive to lead a hike? How about the prizes you are automatically entered to win just by submitting a hike to the website calendar? Check out these prizes from our sponsors for the month of January! Please ask if you are unsure about how to submit a hike or would like a co-lead.
What’s for dinner?
Making time for getting outdoors can sometimes mean scrambling to put something together for dinner. Why not prep dinner while you are hiking? Talk about multi-tasking at it’s finest! Share your favorite slow-cooker recipes with other fellow hikers and we’ll feature them in the Hike it Baby blog. Submit them here.
Looking for recipes? Keep an eye on the blog for upcoming posts. In the mean time check out these favorites.