First PCT Overnighter Without the Baby Carrier

Pacific Crest Trail
Mile 41 – 39 (2 miles)

Gabriel finished his first year of pre-school and as a celebration we all went on an overnight trip along the PCT – without the baby carrier for the first time. In fact, he carried his own backpack containing his favorite ‘sons’: Bun-Bun the rabbit, Baby Sea Ott the baby sea otter, and Parrot the parrot.

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We set off from Burnt Rancheria in the Mt Laguna Recreation Area at about 1pm. Our planned hike was 2 or so miles south along the PCT. ‘Remote camping’ is not allowed within the recreation area so we would make our way outside the park and stop along the trail for the night.

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Our speed was approx. half a mile per hour, so the two-mile plan was nixed and we decided to look for a spot to camp about 1.5 miles in. What a contrast to my last trip, with Shovel. Eventually we found a flat spot just off the trail on a hillside and set up camp. This isn’t good Leave No Trace practice as we ended up squashing some vegetation. No excuses, that was no good and I’m not proud of that at all! We tried to minimize our impact as much as we could and hopefully the little plants we gently moved out of our way will return to their natural springiness soon.

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Gabriel and Bernard
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King of the Rock

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After playing some King (and Queens) of the Rock and feasting on some rehydrated broccoli soup, we retired to bed. It’s a commonly known fact that ‘hiker midnight’ is 9pm. Apparently ‘hikers with a three-year-old midnight’ is more like 7:30!

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We all slept well, and in the morning it was time to continue our hike to return home.

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Strongest instant coffee I’ve ever had.

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Logs were climbed over

Gabriel did well, and had moments of really enjoying himself. He found the hike pretty challenging, but managed his way through without too many complaints. His highlights were ‘taking out Bernard (the gas stove burner) and looking at the plants, and throwing the rocks off the edge’. He also enjoyed being the leader, and whenever we came to a fork in the trail he loved figuring out which direction was the right way by identifying the PCT blazes on trees. We tried to be patient, respect his time-frame and keep everything fun.

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A pouty moment
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Kept going in spite of the challenges
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Biggest dandelion in the world

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When we made it back to Burnt Rancheria there was much celebration and joy! It was so much easier carrying only our lightweight equipment split up between Jess and me, compared to our previous trips when I would carry Gabriel and Jess would carry everything else.

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