Monthly Archives: April 2013

6 Tips to Take You from Mount Vernon Trail Virgin to Veteran

Hike 2: Mt. Vernon Trail, Columbia Island Marina to Theodore Roosevelt Island

The Mount Vernon Trail

Christine and RJ take a quick pause on the Mount Vernon Trail.

4 strollers: The hike can easily be done with a standard stroller.

4 out of 4 strollers: Easily done with a standard stroller.

If you live in the DC area you’ve driven on the GW Parkway – or in many cases, sat on the GW Parkway. And if you’ve been on the GW Parkway, you’ve seen gobs of people running, walking and riding on a path along side it. Have you ever wondered what that paved and beautifully groomed path is called, or how to get onto it?

Well I’m here to help! For our second hike we ventured across the water to the ‘state for lovers’ and walked from the quiet Columbia Island Marina to the sirene Theodore Roosevelt Island. Check out my tips below to learn more about this 7-mile adventure and how you can add the MVT trail as another notch in your hiking belt.

  1. Find it on the map. The Mount Vernon Trail is an 18 mile long paved open trail that follows the Potomac River directly across from the west end of DC’s National Mall. Continue reading
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Ready, set, hike

Hike 1: Western Ridge Trail, Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park

Hike 1: Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC

John Muir once said: “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” I believe when he said this, he was referring to type-A personality moms who, like myself, have an unrealistic view on what it means to get out of the house with a child.

Stroller Rating

Stroller Rating: 4 out of 4 strollers. We took a path that needed a body carrier, but there are paved paths that any type of stroller would do great on.

It’s our first official hike-in-training and I have a plan: Get baby up, play with baby, feed baby, change baby, quietly get baby and gear into car, and head to the trail. Plans are good: they keep us sane and organized, they help us establish a routine, and most importantly, they are meant to be followed. Apparently, plans and my son haven’t yet become fully acquainted.

That’s OK, because the key to all of this is to focus on the fact that we actually made it out of the house. Consider this adventure a success already!

Off we go to Rock Creek Park to walk the Western Ridge Trail for our very first hike.

Continue reading

Set the goal, search for the path, create your solution

Hiking with babyIt’s here. The time has come; I must get out of the house. Our beautiful son is three months old and I’m heading back to work in a few short weeks so a routine is about to be pushed upon us. Something I’m both looking forward to and dreading. Grown-up conversations about something other than diaper explosions and the number of bottles consumed in a day? Nice. Missing out on each and every amazing smile my little boy has to give? Not so nice. I must find a way to incorporate him into the life I had pre-pregnancy outside of work – running, hiking, beach trips – so that he becomes a part of my balance.

I didn’t know how to do it. Then, something happened: a close friend declares she’s climbing Mount Kilimanjaro next year and needs to train. Of course I immediately declare I will be her training partner not thinking twice about the little guy that will take our training experience from a partnership to a party.

A few minutes later, I come to my senses and realize training like this may be difficult with a baby in tow. Can I actually hike for miles with an infant? Will he be OK moving through wooded areas like that? Will I be OK when I have an extra-heavy medicine ball of a tiny human attached to my front? What about bug spray and sunscreen? I have no idea how to answer any of these questions, but surely the Internet will have the answer.

So I search: “hiking trails good for babies”, “hiking with a baby”, “hiking with a stroller”, only to find nothing. There aren’t guides for whether “they” say you can hike with a baby. There aren’t maps showing the best routes to take if you have a stroller or may need a diaper change mid-trail. There aren’t even threads on the ever-famous and extremely opinionated mommy communities talking about the issue. So, rather than give up, I decided to create my own.

This blog will follow our attempt to hike 60 trails in the DC area in the next year to train Christine (said friend) for her trek up MK. The trails range from 2 miles to over 10 miles, some trails are much longer but we’ll see if we expand our attempts to include full-day treks with a baby. Most of the hikes I’ve never done before so I honestly have no idea what we’ll come up against in challenges – both physical and those associated with having a tiny human with us. I will document each hike and the adventures we have along the way. I will tell you what equipment I used for the baby, how everyone was feeling before, during and after. What the trail was like and will even give it a grade so you know if you can bring a stroller.

In addition to the hikes within and close to our nation’s capitol, as I travel for work and pleasure with the baby I’ll look for routes to cover and will be sure to report back on each adventure. Have a suggestion for a trail I should check out? Tell me about it! Leave a comment and I’ll try to check out each suggestion and report back.

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