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Why Taking Our Baby Backpacking Was a Great Idea

An overnight backpacking trip in the Raggeds Wilderness of Colorado with one adventurous baby girl.

By: Adam Parkison + Save to a List

“Babe, I don’t see any more foot prints. And look! The path ahead is covered in debris!” I continued up the trail enthusiastically.

“We must be the first ones in this drainage all year,” my wife breathed heavily, our 15 month-old daughter bobbing on her back.

We were on the Raspberry Creek Loop trail near Marble, Colorado in June. After making our way up toward the sub-alpine four miles into the hike, it became increasingly clear we were now trailblazing. I was ecstatic of course, because I loved solitude. It seemed we wouldn’t have any visitors this far up the trail on our overnight trip.

Ever since becoming a dad, my friends and family warned me that my adventuring days were over. Luckily, I am too stubborn to admit defeat and constantly challenge the norms. Backpacking trips into wilderness areas with our baby was our way of proving the naysayers wrong. This particular trip, in the Raggeds Wilderness of Colorado, was the first overnight adventure of the year.

Our excitement at being the first ones that far up the trail that year were quickly outlived when we reached a section of heavy brush. Just then, the trail disappeared, and the baby began to scream. As we stopped to get our bearings, the mosquitos began to pester us. After an hour of bushwhacking, we finally located the trail again. Tired, we decided to take a pause and make camp for the night along a tiny brook.

All day we had walked through un-ripened raspberry patches, hoping to find the bear who’s tracks we kept seeing on the muddy ground; but nothing stirred. Near our camp, just as the sun was going down, a group of velvet horned-deer appeared seemingly out of thin-air in the studded alpine above us. My daughter clapped and squealed at every squirrel chatter and bird-song in the forest nearby. I knew then, no matter the struggle, it was worth it to share the pristine wilderness with our little one.

Snuggled together, wrapped in two large down sleeping bags, we watched the sun set over the jagged horizon. I fell asleep dreaming of the endless possibilities that awaited us in the morning. 

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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