You might remember when I detailed what it’s like getting outside with a baby in winter several months ago. Now, my son is older, heavier, more awake, and his needs are growing. Thanks to balmy forecasts, we’re getting out more often and for longer periods.

baby wearing toqueSylvia Dekker

I still pack his fleece bunting (which he still fits, yay for ordering multiple sizes too big). Kiddo’s mitts and knit booties jostled for prominent space with the sunhat and sunscreen in my pack for a long time this year.

Even though spring officially beat Old Man Winter at his chilly games, we still pack a toque. Plus, we’ve added a rain suit to the mix. It works well in cutting those whipping winds and shedding the abundance of cold precipitation Alberta enjoyed this spring and early summer. At the end of June, after a hiking through hot sun and rain showers the day before, we woke up to slushy snow outside the tent.

Despite the late spring, the highways into nearby Kananaskis Country are open, and the trails are finally clear of snow. The adventure potential is boundless, even when weighed down by a squirmy 20-plus pounds.

cute baby wildflowersSylvia Dekker

My son is still a good sport on the trail. He alternates between practicing stringing vowels and consonants together, snoozing as we stride through waving wildflowers and grinning up at my nostrils (sans drip thanks to the warm air).

As I tote him up the mountain, my heavy breathing gives him the giggles, and I get a good view of his fresh upper teeth as he tips his head back. I’d laugh, too, if I wasn’t fighting for the air his little body pressed up against my chest is squeezing out.

baby outside summerSylvia Dekker

The Ergobaby carrier we use has worked well so far. It’s comfortable for him and he sleeps like, well, a baby in it. However, when hiking solo, I always wear a pack for snacks, first aid, bear spray and extra layers. With the carrier hip belt and shoulder straps sitting underneath my pack straps and belt, the weight is not properly distributed and ends up riding on my shoulders.

Attempting to avoid shelling out for a backpack carrier right now, we recently purchased a carrier called the Trail Magik. Light, packable and durable, it clips to my pack itself, which, once attached and baby is in, can be adjusted for proper and more comfortable load distribution. It will be perfect for when my son learns to walk and can toddle parts of the trails himself between carry breaks.

baby crawling in beautiful mountainsSylvia Dekker

That’s on the next visible ridge, because he is growing and growing up fast. He weaned himself in the spring, so a cup he can sip from must be always accessible and full. I pack Cheerios, raisins or bits of fruit, and puree pouches or cereal, no matter how short the hike is. He’s convinced he’s always hungry and loves food. Wild strawberries are no exception.

wild strawberriesSylvia Dekker

The warm weather is ideal for getting out with a little human. At the lake, summit or during breaks he can crawl unimpeded. The world is a big, interesting place for an 11-month-old to explore, and he’s doing his fair share of experiencing it. He chews on leaves, makes mud in his mouth, nibbles rocks and uses anything he can find to stand up. Birds, butterflies, squirrels and bees get his attention, and he now looks where I point.

baby in carrierSylvia Dekker

It’s less stressful knowing diaper changes won’t turn into hypothermia. He’s more comfortable in the carrier with less layers, and his hands are free for thumb access when he gets sleepy.

Concerns about heat and sunburn replace those about frostbite, but if I had to choose one, the warmer weather lets us get out on bigger adventures more often, so I’d take sweat over chilly ears.

sun hatSylvia Dekker

So far, his little North Face sunhat, a cap with an ear and neck cover, has been invaluable. We slather him in sunscreen before heading off if skin will be exposed and frequently offer him his water cup. There are SPF/UPF base layers for kids available (such as those from Iksplor or First Peak) that would help keep his fair skin safe from the sun, but we have yet to purchase those.

Mosquitoes and horseflies accompany warm weather, but between keeping a good eye on any exposed skin and helpful breezes typical of the Rockies, they haven’t been an issue yet.

Our backpacking and camping adventures are more frequent that the backcountry is warm and accessible as well. Even though we try to only take what’s necessary on these trips, backpacking with a baby is not a minimalistic venture. Our packs end up loaded down. His meals, snacks, sleeping arrangement, diapers, wipes and extra layers add weight and bulk little by little.

baby in towSylvia Dekker

A luxury item I do sneak along is a small, light toy or two, hidden in my hip belt pocket. Usually there are enough rocks and twigs to keep him occupied and happy on the trek, but once inside the tent, a toy helps distract him from crawling over our hound dog while he works out his wiggles. Poor Blue will risk those little gripping hands to not have to spend the night out in the company of a thousand mosquitoes, but his mournful stares as he presses himself against the side of the tent ask, “why are we still bringing this kid with us?”

Why indeed?

baby in tent happy kids outsideSylvia Dekker

Well, the baby seems to love hanging out (literally) with us for hours, cuddling and chatting as we hike, absorbing all the new sights and sounds.

We love the quality and quantity time gulping fresh air as a family.

And just because its hotter, heavier and a little harder, we can't (and won't) quit now.


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