By the Belly of the Baby

Our hiking family

Our hiking family.

Have you ever asked yourself where the phrase “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” comes from? I hadn’t given it much thought until recently when I discovered the answer.

It comes from when those men are 10-month old babies eating you out of house and home and wearing 2T size clothing.

Despite this information, we knowingly ventured out into the wild for a family hike. We packed the little guy’s belly full of breakfast, loaded the car up with all of the essentials — including the fabulous Aunt C who was visiting — and headed out to explore the Potomac Heritage Trail on a chilled fall morning.

The trails were full of eager bikers, runners and hikers so the promise of a delightful hike was in the air. The best way to get to the Potomac Heritage Trail in DC is to park at Roosevelt Island along the GW Parkway and then walk north away from the island toward the end of the parking lot. There’s a sign at the trailhead and that’s where you’ll begin.

1 Stroller: This hike is not safe for walkers. The terrain is rough, use body-carrier if you attempt this one.

1 Stroller: This hike is not safe for little walkers. The terrain is rough, use body-carrier if you attempt this one.

If you are going to attempt this hike, you will absolutely need a body carrier for your tike. I will also say right now, I would not attempt this hike with your precious little one.

We made it about half a mile through a beautiful autumn leaf-lined trail along the river before running into a situation that made our hiking adventure on the PHT come to end. No, it wasn’t his stomach … yet. The trail shifts from hidden wooded areas to right alongside the highway. To make matters worse, the trail almost immediately then shifts to an ongoing path along the highway with no barrier between you and the passing cars.

It was at this moment that we decided to turn around. It was also at this moment that the mommy radar started to go up – you know, the one you attempt to ignore because you want to keep doing whatever it is you’re doing all the while getting an undoubtedly loud, nagging feeling things are about to get real.

Between the layers of clothing separating his belly from mine, I heard it. The undeniable rumble. No, I thought to myself, he can’t be hungry already. We filled him up to cover at least a five-mile hike. Just keep walking, you’re imagining things.

But just in case, we pull out the yogurt puffs. (For those of you who don’t know or haven’t used them with your children, yogurt puffs are an ideal trail snack.) He takes a few and settles back down into the carrier just as we get back to the starting point. Since we’ve only done about a mile, we decide to walk over to Roosevelt Island and do the loop so the morning isn’t a complete hiking loss.

We glide across the bridge, enjoying the scenery of red, yellow and orange leaves pulling us into the island; stopping shortly only to snap a photo. Then, as we set foot on the path with the reaffirmed eagerness of young hikers looking to enjoy some fresh air, it happens. The belly speaks.

The hike is over. Lunchtime it is.

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2 thoughts on “By the Belly of the Baby

  1. Stevie says:

    You really have a way with words! The way you described this trail makes it very interesting. My husband and I enjoy hiking, but we probably don’t get out as much as we should. I felt like telling you just how cute the little bugger in the picture is! Look at that face! Anyway, interesting article.


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