While backpacking with the baby has been an unqualified if strenuous success, we’ve been avoiding it at home. For 11 months now. M has bearanoia far greater than mine, but it took me a while to square the burden of fatherhood with the abiding worry that Grizzly bears engender. He is still tiny and helpless, but acts and most importantly sounds much less like a rodent. And he enjoys hiking and being outside so much that indulging our fears any further didn’t seem responsible. Plus, we forgot to call and get the lock combo for the lookout we had reserved for father’s day weekend until the office was already closed for the weekend, and when a spot was still open at the lake named after Little Bear’s namesake, we just had to go.
It was a good choice. Compare this photo to this photo, for example.
Another example; The Lakes stunning and better than expected backcountry campground, with tent pads just back from the water, strong but not overwhelming gusts, and a fantastic pebble beach. After dinner we watched a sow grizz and cub root their way through a field of brush and skirt the lakeshore through a cliffband, an hour plus show at the comfortable distance of 1/2 a mile. We even made it through the night with a decent amount of sleep and no bear attacks.
Most importantly, LB was a joymonster almost the whole time. Riding in the backpack is one of his favorite things, with time equally split between cooing at the changing light and silently watching the world go by, and some napping thrown in. Camp time makes everything; trekking poles, sleeping pads, spoons, rocks, and the tent canopy; toys. Walking is right around the corner, and he is practicing hard in all environments.
The walk out was, for the adults, not short. We’re not fully acclimated to packs so heavy, and we’ve hiked that trail a lot in recent years. But the satisfaction of the whole family being out, in that spot, for a gorgeous pair of days on the cusp of summer, was something best expressed in the fewest words possible.