While Sarah and Miriam were in town, we decided that the sisters Hine and the babies should go on a backpacking adventure. We were not sure where we wanted to go, and had really planned anything by the day we decided to go.
Sarah and Li made some phone calls and realized that many campsites were full for the night, and finally Sarah found one on the MA/VT border that was supposed to be an easy hike in and beautiful. It was going to take about 2 1/2 hours to get there, so we packed up as quickly as possible while wrangling our little ones and got on the road.
Now, if I'm being totally honest, I was apprehensive and pretty much terrified of going on this trip - I get really nervous at night outside and in the dark, and hadn't done anything like this in years, and never without Tim. However, I really wanted to try and get Timothy started early in this life that his dad so loved, so we gave it a shot.
We arrived at the trailhead around 6:15, and were on the trail by 6:45. It was supposed to take 10-15 minutes for the first lean to, and another 15 or so to the next one if that one was full. We had quite a difficult time finding them, and finally find some people that directed us to the first one, which was occupied. We had to hike directly uphill to reach the second one - by this time it was getting pretty dark, and we were tired (and I was getting very anxious). It definitely took longer than 15 minutes to reach the lean to, but we finally found it! After setting up camp and having a quick dinner, Sarah and Lisa and Miriam set out to hang our food in the trees, while Timothy fell asleep and I sat with him. He was exhausted from hardly napping all day, and it being after 10 PM by the time he went to sleep. Miss Miriam was a trooper and stayed up after 11 to help put the food up in a tree!
We didn't get a whole lot of sleep that evening, as sleeping with a baby in a sleeping bag in the woods is about as restful as it sounds. T woke up a lot, I was restless because I was anxious about him/bears, and just the normal being outside noises that wake you up. Everyone was up and at 'em by 6:30, and we had breakfast and packed up the camp site.
We then went on a short hike uphill to see if we could get some views. We didn't, but the kiddos got a quick snooze before we headed back down to the river. The hike back down was interesting to see in daylight and we were all quite grateful to have remained safe the night before!
We found a watering hole that we had heard was wonderful, and we took the kids in for a quick dip - Miriam loved it and sat and played with the water, and T was happy to kick his toes in. It was pretty frigid, but super refreshing to dunk ourselves in after hiking!
After out swim, we hiked out to the car and headed home. It was a very successful first backpacking trip with babies!
I'm really glad we went and it will be so fun to tell Timothy all about his first camping experience when he is older, but I have to say it was really hard to do something that I have only ever done with Tim, without him. I think we all very much felt his absence, but know he is very proud of his wife, son, sisters, and niece for carrying on his adventurous spirit!