It’s the scenario everyone hiking with infants dreads ever happening to them: falling and injuring yourself on the trail. Overcoming the pain of the injury can be just as much a hurdle as overcoming the fear of getting back on the trail. Those doubts and fears can become overwhelming when it comes to returning to the trails with your children.
Dineo Dowd shared her story with us at Hike at Baby. She was able to overcome the fear of returning to the trails with the help and the support of her local HiB group. She was doubtful and nervous to attempt trying a hike with her daughter again after a traumatic fall she suffered in 2015.
When Dowd’s daughter, Armani, was four-months-old, the family took her on her first hike. They were accompanied by friends who are professional hiker/climbers. Armani was settled into her backpack carrier on her Dad’s
back and they explored a steep, narrow trail until it became too dangerous for them to continue. After taking some photos they decided to turn around and head back to the trailhead. That’s when disaster struck. Dineo missed a step and tumbled. When she tried to get up she realized her arm was badly bruised, her foot stuck by a tree, and the rest of her body was a combination of pain and numbness. The group was able to carry her back down and managed to get back to the parking lot.
Emotions ran high and Dineo’s husband begged her not to hike without him and to only let him be the one to carry their daughter on his back. He didn’t trust that Dineo could hike without falling
. It made him nervous to think of her carrying their daughter while hiking and she was afraid she would have to stop hiking. “I felt bad,” Dineo said, “I [had] been begging him to go hiking the whole week [and then] I fell”.
A week later, Dineo had fortunately recovered enough to join a HiB stroller walk. She began to tell the group about the accident that she had and how she was afraid that she would never be able to have the confidence to hike again with her daughter. The group was encouraging and persuaded her to think about coming on an easier hike with them that would be a slow pace and less intense while allowing her to ease back into hiking. This lifted Dineo’s spirits. “I went home excited to try hiking with my baby and [these] mamas.”
Dineo convinced her husband that her next hiking adventure would be safer and that with a HiB group she would feel more confident while wearing Armani during a hike. He agreed and with pleas to remain careful he gave her the support to try it out. It was a great decision for their family. “I had a blast on this hike with the group,” said Dineo. “I actually learned that leading a hike is not that complicated.”
After this successful outing, Dineo decided that hiking every other day would be beneficial for her and her daughter. She loves that their outdoor time helps Armani get her needed rest. “She naps from 12-3 pm every day after a hike!”
Dineo’s story is so inspiring. Pushing past the fear and opening yourself to new challenges with your children is so remarkable. One year after her accident, Dineo attended a hike and did not realize that it was at the same location where she had fallen. The group took a different trail that day and it was an emotional experience. Seeing her daughter now, at 15-months-old and loving to hike makes it all worth it.
Even better? For Dineo, HiB has helped her learn about hiking with babies, given her the opportunity to meet friends, and even overcome her fear of dogs! “I’m a happy mom at a happy place right now,” said Dineo. “I hike four times a week with the branch, I encourage families to come back and hike with us, [and] I even ask them to suggest the trails that they would like to try and I lead them”.
Even her husband has caught the HiB spirit and enjoys going on hikes on his weekends off. “He asks me every Friday if I’m leading a hike, because he loves exploring with the group.”
This inspiring family has found a way to find their footing after a major fall. Dineo credits HiB for helping her get back on her feet and helping her daughter find her own on the trail. Without the encouragement and support of her branch, she may have not conquered the fear of falling. “This is a therapy to me,” explains Dineo, “I’m more happy when I’m outdoors exploring. I’m so thankful Hike it Baby!”
Christel Peters is a Branch Ambassador for Hike it Baby Spearfish and the Mama to Sebastian. When she isn’t chasing her adventurous toddler on the trails she is one of the Blog Editors for Hike it Baby. Do you have a story that should appear on our blog? Let us know!! email your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org