Having a baby absolutely changes your lifestyle no matter who you are. I’ve been balancing life as a new mom, work (Oren is my very personable Real Estate Assistant), and keeping up with things I love to do which most definitely involves hiking.
Most of this winter had been visits to local state parks simply because it is difficult to winter hike safely with a heavy 10 month old, especially when the weather and conditions aren’t ideal. I’m upgrading to a new Deuter child carrying backpack (more on that in March!) which will help us get outside more. Right now my setup is a Lille Baby structured carrier worn in front (with about 25 lbs of baby) and my pack counterbalanced on my back.
I needed conditions to be consistent for one type of foot traction because taking off snowshoes above treeline to rock hop just isn’t realistic right now and for a while the trails were just too icy and didn’t have enough snow for us to go up north. The waiting was pretty hard for us both!
We had a trip up north gifted to us from my in-laws (a big ski weekend at Bretton Woods) and while I like to ski, I’m an extreme beginner and prefer to pizza over french fry. I opted to hike Friday when we all went up. I had decided on Willard for a short hike while everyone else went skiing.
I plugged in Willard in my GPS (I had done this hike once before) but it just spit me out in the middle of 302. I had passed the parking area for Jackson and yearning to get back on some higher ground, I turned my car around and headed up Jackson. This was probably my 7th time up this peak, and Oren’s third 4k!
The weather was changing from typical winter weather in NH to extreme with winds of up to 140 mph on Mt Washington on Saturday. Jackson being mostly below treeline is one of my recommended beginner 4000 footers. I would be hiking before the weather turned for the worse, but the trade off was skiing on a bitter cold day. The ability to really layer up and get hot chocolate at the lodge made that plan work out extremely well!
The Jackson-Webster trail is extremely popular and just about guaranteed to be packed out even just a day or two after a storm. Even still, I wanted to wear snowshoes for traction as well as prevent the occasional postholing and have more surface area to reduce risk of getting caught in a spruce trap!
The conditions were great and being below treeline we stayed warm even with my much slower than before I had a baby pace. The water crossings were well bridged and the trail packed as I knew it would be.
The summit was extremely windy and we stayed for no more than 3 seconds. Oren is wearing his new merino wool balaclava which he is not a fan of. Below treeline he was plenty warm in just his long underwear, fleece layer, and Columbia Down Bunting.
On the way down I found a spot out of the wind and in a bit of sun to feed Oren and have a snack myself. Crawford Notch is the Grey Jay capital of the Whites (a stat I just made up but absolutely stand by) so I wasn’t too surprised that Oren got to meet his first one!
If you are looking to meet a grey jay yourself, you will almost always see a few on Jackson, Tom, Willey, Field, and Pierce to name a few peaks.
I’d love to hear if you’re hiking with a baby or young child in tow! What have you found difficult? What has been rewarding for you? Do you have recommendations or things you wish you had done differently? Let me know by leaving a comment!
Last modified: February 11, 2019