Getting away from the crowds!

If you live in Southern California or other places where the population is pretty dense, it can sometimes be hard to go out and enjoy the “cool” places because they are crowded. Especially since the worldwide pandemic, these outdoor places are getting even more attention because there really isn’t much else to do!

Some people don’t mind the crowds and that is awesome! For me, I like to go out into nature to get away from people and clear my head. And since I became a mom, my social anxiety has sort of increased, so less people is so much easier to handle.

With all of this in mind, I wanted to share some tips and tricks that I use to avoid the crowds!

1: Wake up early and GO! There are still a good amount of people who wake up early, but of course it’s significantly less than if you were to wait until 9 AM to get on the trail. It might be intimidating to do this when you’ve got young ones, but I always make sure things are packed and ready to go before I sleep the night before (sometimes even just sleeping in my hiking clothes). My son is such a happy morning person so it isn’t super difficult for me, but I usually just keep him in his PJs when we go and change his clothes once we get to the destination just to make sure we can get there as early as possible. We also do breakfast that we can eat in the car like yogurt pouches, cheese sticks, breakfast sandwiches, etc.

2: Go in the off season. So many people are deterred from hiking in the winter months or they are intimidated. There are obviously good reasons for this, it can be significantly more dangerous hiking in the snow, but as long as you’re properly prepared it’s all good! Winter is my favorite time to hike. Less bugs and scary animals. 😉

3: Do more difficult hikes. Easy hikes are obviously going to be filled with more people because they are the most accessible. Harder hikes will have less people. If you’re not ready for hard hikes, work up to them. I think the hardest hike I have done with my son was Mount Baden-Powell which was 9 miles roundtrip and about 3,000 feet of elevation gain.

4: Travel. Easier said than done, of course! But don’t be afraid to drive a few hours to get to a place that has less people. The adventure is worth it in itself.

Healing

“just because they
still live in your mind
tucked behind memories
and places they made room in
does not mean you haven’t moved on

it just means they stayed long enough
to carve initials under parts you can’t see
you are allowed to mourn their absence
without wishing for their return”
-Anonymous

I truly wish I could give credit to this author. I tried searching for them, but unfortunately could not find them. If anyone who may stumble across this blog may know who this is, please let me know and I’ll update!

This post may not be exactly “adventure mom” related, but I’m feeling a need to jot down some of my feelings. I’ve really been struggling these past couple months. Well, to be honest, the last few years. But I think I’ve been avoiding actually FEELING my feelings because it’s scary so I take to the outdoors to run away from them, keep them at bay. This pandemic has really forced me to sit and deal. It has been uncomfortable, emotional, and incredibly difficult.

Divorce is hard. I truly feel for anyone who has had to go through it, no matter how easy or difficult the situation is. It’s never fun, even the simplest of divorces. For me, it has been FAR from easy, but there has been a lot of progress made this year and for that I’m thankful. I’ve come a long way! I’m at a point where I am excited to find a future partner to share in life’s adventures.

It’s interesting though because when you think you’re actually over someone, memories come flooding back and they try to confuse you. You feel like you’re regressing and that familiar aching resurfaces leaving you all sorts of confused. And right in the thick of all that, I came across that poem and it made so much sense! Yes, I can love those memories we made and miss them, but at the same time not wish that person would come back. It really brought me some peace and I hope you can find peace in it as well.

Being a Single [Adventure] Mom

I think most moms can agree on one thing: Being a mom is HARD. No matter your situation. And if you’re a mom who thinks being a mom is easy, well… you probably have a better heart than me. 😜 We know this is hard, but we also know how very rewarding it is too. It’s something we try so hard to explain, but you can never truly know until you experience it for yourself.

Shout out to dads too! ❤

Let me also say that being a single mom has some unique challenges. Maybe it’s not more difficult than being a married mom, but it is different for sure. Most of my friends who have kids are married and the rest of my unmarried friends don’t have kids. I’m in this weird place with no one to really relate to the things that I go through. And that’s okay! I’m hopeful that through my blog and other social media, I can find people to relate to or help other people in similar situations.

P’s dad really instilled a sense of adventure I didn’t know existed within me and to that I will forever be grateful. Because of this, I am able to pass along this attitude down to P who already thoroughly loves the outdoors.

I’ve said in previous posts that it is important to my mental health to be able to get out and continue to do these things I love, but I can’t always convince myself to put in the effort. After a week of working full time and being a mom the rest of the time, sometimes I get too tired physically, mentally, and emotionally to want to put in the effort it takes to take a toddler outdoors – Especially since I’m not part of a relationship where I can count on someone to help with the hard parts like carrying P, soothing him when he’s upset, making sure everything is packed and ready to go, and so much more. So even though it’s rewarding to put in this effort, it takes a lot of internal convincing to get out there.

It’s okay to take those days off to have lazier days with your toddler (I mean, are there even lazy days at all!? 😂). But if you’re anything like me, it’s worth the exhausting days and nights getting outside and exploring the world. It’s kind of like working out – You dread the workout itself, but once you’re done, your body is flooded with endorphins and you just feel so good!

Plus, it always helps to have friends who are super helpful and understanding!

Tips for First-Time-Parent Hikers!

If you’re thinking about taking your little one on some outdoor adventure, but don’t know where to start, here’s my main piece of advice: start small.

Hiking is a really good activity to try with your little one, especially if you have any short, easy hikes nearby to test it out for the first time.

Let me tell you, the first time I took P out hiking, I was absolutely terrified! So many thoughts racing through my head before we left: Did I pack enough? Did I pack the right things? Is he warm enough? Am I strong enough to carry him the whole time? What if he cries? What if he poops? Can I nurse him in this outfit? Are we going to get mauled by a bear!?

Spoiler alert: There was no mauling that took place. 😉

I chose a hike that I was familiar with and had actually completed when I was about 5 months pregnant with P. I figured if I could do the hike while carrying him inside me, I could also do the hike while carrying him outside me. This hike is about 4 miles with less than 1000 feet of elevation gain. Easy peasy – for the most part.

The drive to the trailhead was just over an hour. Southern California doesn’t generally get snow for the most part, but this was in the mountains in January. There was a good amount of snow! But I figured humans lived through times with no heaters, so we could do the same, right? 😉

This was the end of the icy section.

The beginning of the trail had a bit of a scary section that was basically just one giant block of slippery ice with a large drop off. I knew that this would be the case, so I came prepared. I brought traction devices for my shoes and had P strapped into my child carrier hiking pack (linked here – not sponsored, I just really love this pack). This was the scariest part of the hike, but because I was prepared, we made it through with no issues.

After we got through that first challenge, we were ready to get to the old mines that were just under 2 miles away. So far we were doing great! Porter was chatty and having a good time. However, we got about a mile in and he started getting a little fussy. I was too nervous to nurse him for no reason, so I made him a bottle. That helped a bit and we went on our way. A bit further, I realized that his mouth was bleeding. I felt terrible! The air was so cold and dry and it never occurred to me to bring anything for his lips.

By the time we got to the mines, he was very upset and I decided that I needed to nurse him. I got myself situated and nursed him for a bit, but it wasn’t really helping. Normally when we go to these mines we like to hang out for a while, eat, and enjoy the scenery. But I looked at my hiking partner and asked her if it was okay if we immediately headed back to the trail head. Of course she was so understanding and we went back on our way. P actually calmed down as we made our way back to the car and even napped in my carrier most of the way back.

Although we encountered some challenges on this hike, this was, in my opinion, the best first experience with hiking with a baby. It was so fun and refreshing and confidence-boosting! I have never felt that motherhood came naturally to me, but accomplishing something even as minor as this helped me to see that I was more capable than I gave myself credit for (and that babies are more resilient than we give them credit for)!

So here’s my “tldr” tips for first time hikes with babies:

  1. Keep it simple. Find a short, easy hike and gradually increase difficulty as you gain more experience.
  2. Don’t be afraid to nurse or change diapers on the trail! Hikers are generally really friendly people and definitely don’t care. Also, bring a small blanket to lay your baby down on.
  3. Don’t start too early. Wait for your body to heal and be strong enough. Giving birth is a huge feat and your body deserves the recovery it needs.
  4. Babies are incredibly resilient. Don’t be afraid to take them outside.
  5. Write out a packing list and make sure you have all the items you need (but don’t bring more than you can carry).
  6. It’s worth spending the money on quality products, like the child carrier pack. However, always check places like Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp to see if there are any cheaper used ones to purchase!

I have lots of tips and tricks, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions! And if you have any input, I would love to hear it as well.

-M

Let me introduce myself.

Hi there!

Thanks for visiting my small space of the internet. I figured that perhaps I should start with introducing myself and giving a little background info.

I grew up in a fairly small suburb city in Southern California (that has since grown immensely). In my early years, I had a general idea of what I wanted to do with my life: get married and have babies. There’s definitely nothing wrong with having those as goals, but as I got older and older, I realized that’s not what I wanted, that’s what the culture I grew up in wanted.

As I approached the end of my senior year in high school, I began to have many doubts about where I was headed. I was accepted into my dream school (BYU), but suddenly felt terrified of attending. B I felt like it was too late. My fate was decided for me. So off I went in the fall of 2008, on my own for the first time. I quickly learned that I didn’t really fit in, but ultimately decided to stay in Utah.

I met a boy and had my first real relationship that lasted about 2.5 years. In the beginning, it was honestly a whirlwind romance. I fell in love hard and fast and let myself get completely carried away. The honeymoon stage faded pretty quickly and the fighting began. We did not have a solid relationship, constantly breaking up to make up and both of us just not really knowing what we wanted. When it all ended, it was really neither of our faults (that I learned many years later, unfortunately). After the final breakup, he quickly got married and I decided there was nothing left in Utah for me, so I moved back home.

When I moved back home, those same feelings of uncertainty flooded me the same way they did when I moved out the first time. I didn’t know what to expect and I spent a few months feeling very alone. However, that quickly ended when I entered my second real relationship. In fact, little did I know, my whole life was about to change.

We started rock climbing and doing all sorts of outdoorsy things together. We loved each other fiercely (okay.. cheesy, but true). I thought we had this unique relationship and felt so strongly that we were meant to be. And honestly, we were, just not in the way that I thought. I won’t get into the details of our relationship, but we did get married! We had the most lovely wedding and honeymoon and he made me so genuinely happy.

Nine months in, he decided he needed to move on. That was the hardest day of my life (followed by years of difficulty). I was desperate to save us. He was confused. It was a really chaotic time to put it lightly. And throughout all of that…. I ended up accidentally pregnant.

And honestly, that brings us to where we are now. That man and I didn’t end up together, but we brought the most beautiful boy into the world! So now we are figuring out coparenting and raising this little human to be the best he can be.

Because I had cultivated my love for the outdoors throughout those years, I now want to teach my son about the wonders of the earth and give him that spirit of adventure that I have been blessed with. Part of my sanity throughout motherhood depends on being able to continue to do these things I love. Often times it’s really scary and overwhelming to bring a child with you on some of these adventures, but we’re figuring it out. And I want to pass along my stories and experiences and tips to those who have similar interests! Even if you don’t have the same interests, perhaps you’ll find some humor or lessons applicable to your own life through my posts. 🙂

Thank you for reading!

-M