His First Hike
In early August I went camping with my 17 month old son Todd Philip (Little T) and my friend Sonya in a gorgeous remote area of the San Bernardino National Forest, San Jacinto Ranger District. We camped in Boulder Basin Campground, which is 6 some odd miles up a rough dead-end dirt road. During the week there were only a couple other people out and about and it was very enjoyable.
This area of the forest features humongous granite boulders of every conceivable shape and arrangement, ancient Sugar and Ponderosa Pines, and far-reaching views to Mt. San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. It reminded me of Joshua Tree NP, only up in the trees. We had a lot of fun exploring the surroundings, scrambling up the boulder piles, and eating good food.
The second morning we got up early, ate breakfast, and packed up for a hike up Black Mountain. We took the Jeep stroller and the baby backpack up the steep narrow dirt road, but my kid insisted on hiking. I figured he'd hike a few hundred yards until it got steep... nope. He kept hiking. And hiking. And not by us cajoling him along - he was happy to keep going! He was having fun! For a good 1/2 mile and 300' elevation gain :) We had to stop once to shed his fleece, and a couple of times for a drink of water out of his Camelback. But otherwise he was like a little Energizer Bunny - just kept going and going...
Thanks to Sonya and I we got lots of pictures of his first "real" hike! He finally started to get a little cranky right towards the top of the road, so I gave him a lift the rest of the way. I wasn't about to let him climb the lookout tower staircase by himself anyway.
We climbed the fire lookout tower much to the delight of the two volunteer lookout hosts who probably had no other visitors that day. Then Little T proceeded to get into every bit of trouble he could in the tower. He wanted to climb on their chairs, mess with their maps and radio, and run around the catwalk... until he was finally worn out. He napped in the baby pack on the hike down.