As I was editing these photos for this post I realized that they were 10 months to the day! One, I'm really behind on editing and two, time FLYS! Colette was only just starting to crawl when they were taken and now it seems that she is running all over our camp and can barely sit through a whole hike in the carrier.
Last year we purchased a Dodge Sprinter as our family vehicle. It has actually been a long-time dream of my husband, Will, to have one and outfit it for adventures. Over the time we have owned it, he has dedicated himself to making it comfortable and ready for us to leave at a moments notice. As you can see from the pic above, it is cozy and has some creature comforts like a comfy lofted bed (and now a heater for winter camping!). I tip my hat to folks tent camping or roughing it with a baby. First, Colette is not a good sleeper, even now at nearly 19 months, she is just starting to sleep through the night. Second, it is nice to have the vehicle ready so if we decide on a Friday to leave after work for a weekend in the mountains; we're pretty much set and don't have to bother with packing up all our gear.
We knew that we wanted Colette to enjoy an active lifestyle so we began taking her on hikes early on so that she got used to it. Her earliest "hike" was in Forest Park when she was only two weeks old! She was quite enamored with the trees. Because of that early introduction she has been pretty good about sitting in the carrier and we try not to push her beyond her limit. She typically snoozes in the carrier for an hour or so and has a threshold of 2ish hours before needing a break to eat and run around.
Our first big overnight was to Mount Saint Helen's. Last Spring was a surprisingly warm one for the Pacific Northwest, which made for camping in April unusually pleasant. We left Portland early on a Saturday and drove straight to Mount Saint Helen's. Before our hike we explored a bit of Ape Caves to see what it was all about. I highly recommend this for families. We had our dog, Cassidy, with us so we didn't venture too far since it was a little much for her. We are looking forward to returning with Colette when she's a little older to see them.
The first day we hiked the Plains of Abraham trail, which is a beautiful trail bordering the side of Mount Saint Helen's. Plains of Abraham is also a great 20+ mile mountain biking trail (one of Will's favorites). We hiked for about 2 hours and got her out to stretch and eat lunch and then we were back down the mountain. This is a fantastic trail in the Spring as the whole mountain was in bloom and the lava beds are definitely a sight to behold! Most often this hike is still covered in snow till June, however it was a really light year, in case you end up going in Spring.
This trip was our first foray camping with Colette. She did has good as we could have hoped! We camped at a private campground called Eagle Cliff, which is super nice. If you're not really into roughing it or want to grab a cabin, this place has all the amenities you need. Now that we are a little more seasoned, we sometimes just pull over off the forest service trails to camp. Colette had just started crawling so needless to say she was into everything. On our second trip out with her we ended up bringing a corral for her to crawl around in.
On Sunday we did a super mellow hike along the Lewis River and stopped to catch some sun while we ate lunch. With how nice it was we were pretty surprised to not see more people out, but I think that's because most people venture up to Mount Hood.
We try to take these adventures in stride with a little one. She doesn't always cooperate, which we are prepared for, and because of that we don't get our hopes up when we can't complete a hike. I savor these moments where we explore nature with her no matter what ends up happening. Lucky for us, this first trip was a resounding success!
I am by no means an expert, but am always happy to offer advice on adventuring with a little one in tow. Thank you for sharing in our journey!