Last weekend we had a chance to finally going hiking as a family again. Since our last “big” trip together, which included camping 4 months ago, hiking has been a challenge since our daughter is not happy with a front carrier anymore. Baby carriers are an odd animal, but in the end, they need to strike the balance between comfort to the parent and comfort to the child. Usually, the child changes the balance first (as with all things) and the previous carrier doesn’t work.
Last week we ordered a Deuter Kid Comfort 3 carrier and I was very keen to try it and get the ladies out. After some debate, the decision was made to go to Epping forest in North East London. Epping is one of my favorite places in London and I probably get there at least once a month. The paths are a mix of well established, wide packed trails and random turn offs that can send you to a little “lost” time – and I do (get lost, that is). We went for a less threaded part of the forest, starting on the very southern tip and heading in a northerly direction.
Mud was in abundance, and I was more casually dressed for the occasion based on past experience (jeans, a t-shirt, and a Marmot Isotherm jacket). Both Mika and I had trail running shoes that were great for me and less for Mika. Herse are a new pair (Inov-8 Roclite 243), but with all the mud and puddles her feet got wet and frozen really fast. She has the same problem with her feet as with her hands, so we will need to find a solution for her, probably neoprene socks. I was fine with my shoes and thick wool socks since I find that if I keep on walking my feet get warmer, which warms up the socks and keeps the whole system warm and nice.
The hike went as expected for some time, and based on Mika’s feet and our daughter’s tiredness levels we decided to go for a shorter option than we planned. In the great way that happens in Epping forest so often, we got lost. We were sure (well, I was) that we were well before where we really were and we were on the way to making a bigger error while assuming a correct route. After about 5 minutes I decided to take my own advice and avoid getting lost. We went back to the last point we could actually identify on the map, recalculated distance and time and found our place! From there the walk was simple and we found our way to the station very easily.
This trip gave me some thoughts and recommendations to share:
1. Find a local place (Epping Forest for me) that you can just go for a nice hike that will always feel right. I have run, hiked fast (double distance the whole length = 25 miles/40km), done walks with friends and with family and more. Find your heaven.
2. You can get lost anywhere, so stay humble and keep good navigation habits.
3. Trail shoes are great for hiking if you can bear cold feet for a while. If not, find a solution that works – neoprene socks, Gore-tex inserts, waterproof shoes or boots – just make sure it works. The idea is to enjoy the outdoors, not make a point of being there.
4. Kid carriers are great! If you like the outdoors and want to make sure your kids like it as well, take them out in a comfortable way – for them and for you.
Altogether the hike was great. All the family got some fresh air and we all got to test some new gear. Also, like any good trip, recommendations for the future were made and I will try to follow on them.
I really like having Epping Forest 40 minutes away (on public transportation!), do you have a local special place?