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Start slow and taper off
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Though I had originally planned to take advantage of such a beautiful day by going for a mountain bike ride, instead the wife and I decided to take our 6 month old for her first off road hike.
We headed down to Hartshorne woods in NJ, one of my favorite riding spots, and also a spot that drains real well.

We strapped the little one into her backpack and headed out onto the singletrack.

Here's where the versus comes in.

Neither my wife nor I are really "hikers". I've been mountain biking for 18 years. I'm definitely a biker. But hiking to me is the occasional short walk (under 5 miles) in the woods, hopefully to some nice spot to eat the lunch we packed.

At Hartshorne, a spot that gets pretty crowded yet does a great job in trail maintenance, building, I'd say most bikers are reasonably serious and most (I'm generalizing) hikers are less than serious. What I mean by this is that the average biker that rides in Hartshorne is in pretty good shape, probably rides seriously off road once a week, typically does a ride of 10 to 30 miles of technical singletrack and has a bike in the $1000 and up range. While the average Hartshorne hiker probably has never heard of REI, is out in a regular pair of tennis sneakers (or sandals, saw lots of sandals), and is wearing sweats, jeans, or cargo pants (my personal choice). No sweat wicking micro fibers here. The average walk is at most 5 miles, most are more like a mile or less. I'm talking your regular jane or joe, a person who would never say "I'm a hiker" and definitely is not a member of the Sierra Club nor subscribes to Backpacking magazine.

So what is this rant about?

Hiking with a six month old is like strapping a 30 pound pack to your back and then making sure you don't walk through any low hanging branches that will smack your kid in the head, or bounce to much when walking and make your kid's head wiggle all over the place. You're being careful, and on singletrack, its not always easy to get out of the way quick for others.

The people we found to be the most friendly, and always yielded, or was about to yield when we waved them on? The mountain bikers. Very few walkers stopped for us. Most of the time I was forced to step out of the way and off the trail for some trailer trash looking couple or trio who were determined to walk by us without making any room. Don't get me wrong, most said hi or hello. The power speed walkers did not, almost without fail. They were too determined to maintain their strides. But just about every biker did yield, and were certainly friendly.

I just can't wait till my daughter's old enough to be pedalling a bike of her own, though I've got a chariot on order to bring her on the rail trails, once the darn thing gets here.

Here's me and the little one, enjoying the woods...
 

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Trail rider and racer
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A nice posting. That looks like one happy baby on your back. Its nice to see them out on the trails at such a young age, even if not riding or walking by themselves.
 

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I think that the important thing is that you were out there with your family. I know my son (8 months) loves being in the backpack. The funny thing about the backpack is that he is always off to one side. A thirty pound static pack is easy compared to this dynamic kid on your back! :)

I agree that most mountain bikers I have met are much more serious, if you will, than the hikers. Most hikers - and I use the term loosely - are out for a leisurely walk in the woods.

I, too, use a chariot; it's the single kid one and my son loves it.

-James
 

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That is one cute kid! Sounds like an overpopulation problem at your hiking spot. Too many people make everyone feel like they can ignore others while they are out. I had a similar issue today with a road ride. Tons of roadies, very few will wave or say hello. Common courtesy is a lost art in our culture it seems. It's sad, especially since you had a baby on your back.

The Ito
 

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rm -fr *
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I think it depends too on where you are hiking. Near a major population center and you run into more casual hikers. The pictures here are from Laguna Meadows in San Diego County. I had never hiked here before - Laguna and Noble trails are way fun on the bike.

This was our first hike with our 6 month old.
 

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Start slow and taper off
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yup

You are all correct.
Here in NJ, we've got nothing but problems with overcrowding. Luckily, we'll be moving to somewhere less busy and off the beaten path, within the next few years.

Surprisingly, Hartshorne is one of the more crowded spots, for any type of trail use, and yet they've had the least problems, and the county probably has the best working relationship with trail users.

We've had closures in several other spots, and two entire counties have made any type of "off-path" riding illegal (which includes riding on the grass in a city park). Ironically, one of the places had the largest parking lot, and has always been infamous for a section of the park frequented by drug users, prostitutes, and deviants (this might make the place sound terrible to ride, but honestly, South Mountain was one of the best in NJ, despite being only a few miles from lovely Newark NJ). When it was still open, the lot was never crowded, and it was rare to pass more than a couple of bikers on a "busy" weekend.

Off the rant, Emily thanks you for the compliments, and wahoofishything, you've got a beauty on your hands as well!

You're 100% right, Ito, with Emm moving around as well as me trying to walk as smoothly as possible, its much harder than with a static pack at twice the weight!

Luckily, NJ's got 24 or more rail trails, most of which are seldom used, and several of which are 25+ miles long and pass through some of Jersey's most gorgeous areas (there are some). They often do pass into some of the nicest towns as well, and many have some great restaurants with outdoor seating which make for a nice mid ride stop!
 

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Witty McWitterson
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Yeah, hiking with the kid-pack is a chore. I did the same just last friday. went out for quick hike in the woods to check out the trails. At 10 months mines a tad older, but her enthusiasm for being out side is certainly addicting. The whole climb up she was kicking and yelling in pure joy, patting me on the head and shoulders to 'go faster'[maybe]. And you're right about the dynamic nature of carrying a kid-pack. waaaay different than a backpack. I've taken Sidra snowshoeing in the same pack too, and that's just as fun. She's more than ready for the trailer(chariot, ironically enough) that I just ordered. I have a feeling that with her, I'll become more of a hiker in the next few months. So long as I'm active and in the woods, I don't think I'll care much. I'll take this as an opportunity to take more pics!
 

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pepito
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i absolutely HATE hiking with my son in a pack. he's just over 2 years old now, and weighs over 30lbs. i went out and bought a kelty kiddy pack when he was still pretty small (relatively speaking - he's never been small), and it was still uncomfortable then. i'm talking torture-style uncomfortable. i could never get it adjusted correctly, so i always felt like an overburdened mule. for the last 6 months or so, every hike together has been with him either walking, or riding on my shoulders. enough rambling....nice pictures, looks like all concerned had a great time. very few things in this world can top being out in the woods with your children (for me at least).

the_dude
 

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Start slow and taper off
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
the_dude said:
very few things in this world can top being out in the woods with your children (for me at least).
Aint that the truth.
At six months and under twenty pounds, plus 5 or 10 lbs of "stuff", I actually found this pack to be more comfortable than my camping backpack. Besides Emily swinging a bit, the pack was rock solid on my back.

Now when she's 2, that's a whole nother ball game...I'm sure I'll have her walking next to me instead! :D
 

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Glad to Be Alive
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neveride said:
T
The people we found to be the most friendly, and always yielded, or was about to yield when we waved them on? The mountain bikers. Very few walkers stopped for us. Most of the time I was forced to step out of the way and off the trail for some trailer trash looking couple or trio who were determined to walk by us without making any room. Don't get me wrong, most said hi or hello. The power speed walkers did not, almost without fail. They were too determined to maintain their strides. But just about every biker did yield, and were certainly friendly.

I just can't wait till my daughter's old enough to be pedalling a bike of her own, though I've got a chariot on order to bring her on the rail trails, once the darn thing gets here.

Here's me and the little one, enjoying the woods...
moral of the story...be glad you are with your family and have good enough health to be able to walk....and don't sweat the small stuff
 
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