One of the coolest things about Hike it Baby is the community it creates. The families it brings together come from all walks of life – some are seasoned hikers, some are just hitting the trail for the first time – and all are welcome. Today we put the spotlight on Anka Trifan, a branch lead in Vancouver, Washington. Anka joined Hike it Baby in June 2014, and started the Vancouver branch with two other women in September 2014. We got in touch with Anka to hear about her experiences with Hike It Baby.
Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
Our little family is made of my husband, Ezechel, myself, and our 21-month son, Apollo Liam. Both myself and my husband moved to the United States from Romania right after college, long before we knew each other, with both our families still living in Europe. After moving to the U.S., I lived in Orange County, CA for a few years before moving to Portland, OR, while my husband has lived in Portland since 2004. We’ve both been avid hikers and nature lovers prior to us knowing each other, with my husband also being a marathon cyclist.
When we met over seven years ago, fell in love, and decided to start a family, we made the ‘economic’ decision for me to move to Portland. I’ve got to say, after living in Southern California for 6 years, moving to Portland did not sound glamorous at the time. Little did I know how much I’d fall in love with the magnificent Pacific Northwest!
Abiqua Falls – The most awesome frozen hike we’ve done this winter after seeing a picture on Instagram
What has been your experience being a branch lead?
I’m an event manager by day and I love planning, so being a branch lead is no different. It’s an extension of what I already do for a living. What’s been super cool about being a lead is getting to know more people that share the same passion that I do: the outdoors! We are a great team of three ladies leading the Vancouver, WA branch and while two of us work outside of the home full-time, on top of being full-time mommies and wives, we’ve managed to balance things quiet well so far.
Leading hikes comes very easy and natural to me. Over the years we’ve put together a pretty detailed log of all our past hikes as well
future hikes we want to do. I go through that list whenever I want to do a repeat hike or a new hike. I also follow quite a few adventurers from the Pacific Northwest on Instagram and I get ideas from there. I also rely on the internet to find relevant information about specific hikes. My go-to resources have been portlandhikersfieldguide.org and trails.com, especially if it’s a hike I haven’t done before. I use Google maps heavily and I love to draw and plan my route in advance and synch it with my phone so I always know where I’m going while hiking. The truth is, we have so many tools at hand, we just need to use them!
Once I set my mind on a trail, I like to give descriptive info before I get it on the calendar, and many times I love to include a picture of the route, especially if it’s a new hike. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes in properly editing the scheduled hikes. My thought process is this: if someone from another city is visiting and wants to join my hike, will they find it easily or will they get lost?
With my son being a toddler now and weighing over 30+ pounds, I’ve started leading more toddler oriented and led hikes not just for my son, but also for similar aged kids within our group. The reality is babywearing will become a thing of the past for us soon and as much as I dread it, it will happen. So I want to be on the lookout for shorter trails, city parks, and other outdoor activities that will involve my son in this next stage of development.
Table Mountain, WA – 3350′ elevation gain – and Sacagawea Point in the background – we made it on top of it eventually
Can you tell us about a time you’ve pushed yourself while hiking with Apollo?
There’s one hike that comes to mind and it’s the hardest we’ve ever done with or without a baby. It was hiking to the top of Table Mountain, WA on July 5, 2014. Beautiful hike, but incredibly exhausting. It took us about 6 hours and it was 10.5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 3350 feet (that’s 5 times the elevation of Multnomah Falls’ Upper Viewpoint). The first few miles are some of the steepest trails in the area, and they break out into a steep talus area with the trail being a bit of a maze at times. The name of the hardest section of the trail is called The Heartbreak Ridge Trail and this name describes exactly the kind of trail this is. I front carried the baby most of the way up [after] my husband reached his exhaustion point as we were climbing. We eventually [summited] after many steep miles, and we haven’t experienced a more accomplished feeling than that!
Top of Dog Mountain, WA – 2800′ elevation gain – on a beautiful but windy spring day
What has been your favorite outdoor experience with Apollo so far? Does he have a favorite hike?
We love all outdoor experiences and while it’s hard to pick one in particular, I do like Dog Mountain Hike a lot, which we hiked three to four times already (especially in May & June when the wild flowers are in bloom) as well Angel’s Rest Hike, another hike we’ve done about five times now. I also loved our Mother’s Day ‘Bi-athlon’ last year when we biked 9.5 miles in a gorge, and then we hiked 3.5 miles to the Elowah Falls & Upper McCord Creek Falls. I’m pretty positive we’ll do something similar for Mother’s Day this year too – this will become our new family tradition!
So far from what I can tell, Apollo’s favorite hike is anywhere but inside the house!
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Anka!
Apollo leading his first hike at 15 months.