| 4 Mo Old Summits His 1st 14er
This past Labor Day weekend, we ventured from our home in northern NM with our two dogs, our 4-month-old son, and a car full of camping gear. Our target was Quandary and we were excited to meet our friends from Kansas but also very much excited for our first camping trip with the baby (Josh) and his first 14er (my 4th since summer 2010). We had checked in with our pediatrician about taking an infant up to 14,000 ft. His biggest concern was not the altitude and thin air so much as the beating sun. So we just planned on slathering the sunscreen and going for it!
We arrived the night before and found several good, established camping sites a little beyond the trailhead, further up McCullough Gulch Rd. It was nice to camp within walking distance of the trail and not have to fight the crowds for parking the next morning.
I knew the mountain would be crowded on on hike day, more so than it usually is. Contrary to what I had anticipated, I actually liked hiking with so many people! We played leap-frog with the same few groups of people most of the day and it was nice to get to know them a bit.
Here's us at the start of the hike. Josh is doubled up on his layers and stayed warm all day long! He had had his 4 month check up the week before and weighed in at 17 lbs.
The first part of the trail that goes through the trees is easy and very scenic. If anyone wanted to backpack in, there are plenty of good camping sites here. The trail goes through the pines and then we started getting into the aspens.
After the aspens, we rose above treeline and were on talus for the rest of the day. I think I had expected the dirt trail to talus trail ratio to have been different, but it was fine on the way up...started killing the tired knees and feet on the way down though
Here's me and the dogs at the windy saddle, still a ways to go, as you can see.
After the saddle, the pitch starts to increase. Like with other mountains, it looks worse from a distance than it actually is once you get there. But it was still slow moving. Once below the saddle, and once about 10 minutes below the summit, Josh got cranky and we jumped off the trail to feed and change him. We were all grateful for the nice long rest. Here are my boys about 45 minutes or so below the summit, doing great!
We summited about 5 hours after we started. Stopping for Josh as well as my slow performance (it was my first major physical undertaking since having the baby) made for a longer than usual ascent, given the low difficulty, but we made it and we were thrilled. We got TONS of encouragement from folks on the way up and many congratulations when we got to the top.
The pooches were tired too!
The hike down was a little arduous. No one likes going down on rocks. But we just kept moving. Josh slept the ENTIRE way down. My husband said that something he hadn't anticipating was having to take each step carefully so as not to step so hard to jolt the pack enough to wake the little boy. I hadn't considered something like that and noticed after that how hard each of my steps off the rocks were.
All in all a wonderful day. One last shot of Josh....just waking up from a night in the tent
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