When you’re getting ready to move to a new house, in a new state, and with small children in tow, it can spark a cascade of emotions. These emotions often feel like a never-ending roller coaster elevating you with glee, excitement and the anticipation of adventure, but then abruptly dropping you down with sadness, anger and a sharp twist of anxiety. These feelings and this crazy ride can go on for months before getting settled into a new place. I’ve been on this ride a couple times in the past year. But, despite feeling alone at times, I was amazed to find so much love, happiness and friendship within Hike It Baby’s embrace. Their community and support were a big reason I made it through such a stressful transition.Love, Happiness & Friendship: Making Moving Easer by Carrie Wenzel for Hike it Baby (image of two children hugging a third child, while standing on a tree stump in the middle of a wooded forest)

Finding a group I belonged to

Before finding Hike it Baby, I was a new mother and I was thirsting for friendship with a group who appreciated being outside and being active. I have a strong passion for cross-country, road and trail running. I had tried a couple different mom groups but none of them fit me quite right. They all looked great on the mannequin but bunched and bulged in all the wrong places when I tried them out. All of these mom groups were lacking in dirt, fresh air, sunscreen and the beauty of getting outside.

Luckily, there was one mother who must have noticed my discomfort because she suggested trying Hike it Baby. It immediately felt like the right fit. In 2015, I became a Branch Ambassador for Hike it Baby and took over my friend’s branch in Douglas County, Colorado. This volunteer position was going to allow me the opportunity to stay active, network and meet like-minded people who also enjoyed the outdoors with their children.

However, the first year as an ambassador was a struggle. Most of the time I was the only ambassador and our hikes usually had very little to no turnout, especially during the winter. A few of my friends were very supportive, told their friends and tried to come at least once a month to an event. Despite this success, I felt like I was failing somehow. It seemed like I was not doing enough and I was not feeling like I was creating the community I was seeing in other branches. It was a hard time. And then it happened.

Moving away

My husband got the notice that he was getting laid off. Our family would soon be moving to upstate New York as my husband followed his career path. One of the first things I did, after crying and trying to deny the inevitable, as well as securing a new Ambassador for my existing branch, was reach out to the local Hike it Baby group of Capital Region, NY. I was greeted with overwhelming kindness by five different Ambassadors who then put me in touch with all of their hike hosts. I was shocked! Floored! I had not even begun to pack and already I was planning to meet my new Ambassador team. Could this really be happening? It felt like a dream to be joining a new branch with so much activity. I spent the next few weeks, before our family’s move, actively talking with this delightful bunch of ladies and gents. I had so many questions about the area, schools, activities, best places to score gear, etc. All my questions and more were answered. Before ever packing a box and moving, I had become part of a loving and enthusiastic community.Love, Happiness & Friendship: Making Moving Easier by Carrie Wenzel for Hike it Baby (image of a mom with a kid in a frame carrier, and another tandem carried on the front by the Orenda Spring)

The HiB Community made our transition easy

After moving, the love, joy and friendship that I found through Hike it Baby was unimaginable. I learned very quickly that the majority of my new Ambassador and Host team were all transplants too. Everyone offered to help with the kids while we unpacked, or they offered to bring over food. Within a few weeks, I was attending play groups and dinner parties with all the same people I was going to be hiking with on trail. After being in New York for a couple months, I finally posted my first hike. Almost the entire Ambassador team was able to come in support of the event. It was at this moment that I  really began to understand that Hike it Baby strives to connect with as many parents as possible. And I realized that I was part of something bigger and much more far-reaching. It took almost two years of being an Ambassador and one move to upstate New York before I truly felt and became part of Hike it Baby’s community.

While our family’s time in New York was short due to my husband getting transferred back to Colorado, it sure was a remarkable journey. I learned of love from complete strangers as they reached out to help. I found happiness on and off trail and was able to share this with my children and husband. And most of all, my children and I found friendship. We will forever be grateful for these friendships and will never forget them. Moving multiple times within a year can seem like a volcanic eruption of chaos, but it does not have to be. Hike it Baby is there to catch us, support us and welcome us into its embrace of love, happiness and friendship.

Has Hike it Baby helped you transition during a move? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments. If you need help locating your new branch, click here.

Photos Courtesy of Jessy and Jack Taylor

Carrie graduated from Colorado Christian University in 2012 receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with an emphasis in early childhood development and an Associate’s degree in Human Resources. While she has aspirations of getting a Master’s degree in Art Therapy to counsel at risk youth, she has decided to postpone her higher education to focus on being a wife and mother. In 2013 she married Skip. He stole her heart because he unconditionally supported her passionate pursuit in cross-country road and trail racing. Together they have created two adventurous and spunky children. Archer will be three at the end of June and Lila will be 15 months. They are currently living together with their furry rescue dog, Bazil, in Longmont, Colorado.

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