Before our daughter was born, my husband and I were avid day hikers, easily completing at least 200 trail miles per year. We not only hiked the abundance of local trails in our home state of Pennsylvania, but also traveled throughout the Southwest and to the Rockies. While I was pregnant, I completed my last leg of the Pennsylvania section of the Appalachian Trail.
Try Not to Count Miles
Our first lesson during our Maine trip, perhaps not surprisingly, was to tamp down our mileage expectations. We thought we could do at least five miles per day, no problem. We were, um, wrong. Getting our daughter ready and to the trailhead each morning meant a (sometimes very) late start every day, and though our daughter was happy to stay in the carrier for hours when she was small, at fourteen months she wanted to get out and explore for herself. In all, over the course of five days in Maine, we made it only 12.7 miles—a standard day hike in our pre-baby lives.
Of course, things were different from before in many ways beyond just the distance. For one, our hikes were quite a bit less quiet—my daughter developed a new hobby of shouting “up up up up up up” as I climbed with her on my back. I’m not quite sure if she intended that as a statement, a command, or perhaps a motivational speech.
Letting Go of All Expectation
Written by Marielle Macher
Marielle is a lawyer in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She loves exploring her local trails, especially the Pennsylvania section of the Appalachian Trail, and has a fourteen-month old who loves riding on her back in her Deuter Kid Comfort Pack.