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Hiking & Backpacking

Hiking & Backpacking

Transitions: Our last long-distance hike


Carys and I have been back from Wales for a week now; we hiked about 90 miles and 18,000′ of elevation gain over 9 days on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.  I’ll post more detail about what we did and saw in the near future but for now I just want to reflect on the transition in front of us.

It was a good trip, but a hard one.  Carys is more keen to walk herself than she’s ever been before, but when she says “walk” she actually means “meander at a snail’s pace stopping to look at every flower, snail, and rock.”  Entirely developmentally appropriately for a toddler, but difficult to cover 8-10 miles a day at that pace, especially on a cliff-top hike where wind was often a factor.

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Hiking & Backpacking

Hiking Cinque Terre with a Toddler: Part 2 of 2


Our fourth day took us to Vernazza, with a not-too-steep hike up to the vineyards (helped by the fact that Corniglia is above sea level) and then through the terraces for quite a long way. There was a tiny village half way that had fabulous views; it would have been pretty cool to spend a night there if I’d known about it. We stopped for a copa break (Carys’ new favorite snack, closely followed by salami) outside a not-yet-open restaurant – our early hikes kept us away from the masses, but also meant that we missed some of the on-trail facilities that was open later.

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Hiking & Backpacking

Hiking Cinque Terre with a Toddler: Part 1 of 2

So I know there are some of you who are highly interested in what I learned in Reggio Emilia…and others who just care about the hiking.  Well, folks, this post is for you.  (And, in a nice twist of timing, Carys and I will be hiking in Wales when you read this post.  Probably the last trip we’ll do for a while, as I’m not going to be able to carry her for much longer…)

When I was planning this trip in the middle of last winter, it was a toss-up between Cinque Terre and the Engadine Valley in Switzerland. I’m a bit of a sucker for snow-capped mountains and while I wouldn’t have been able to do a hut-to-hut trip alone with Carys, we could have based ourselves in one of the valley towns for a few days and done local day hikes, and then moved on up the valley when we felt like it. Since I did the Haute Route (we’re still not sure if I was pregnant when I hiked or if it happened right after I got back) I’ve become rather enamored with long-distance hikes and while at six miles in total length Cinque Terre pushes this description to its limit I decided to do it anyway. Most people bust out the whole six miles and five villages in a single day, but our plan was to savor it, hiking at the relaxed pace of one village per day. Worked like a charm. Continue Reading

Hiking & Backpacking

A family hike at Point Reyes National Seashore


I was promised a hike at Point Reyes last weekend as part of my birthday gift from Alvin, but when the Saturday preceding the Big Day dawned cloudy I decided that prodding him along the trail on a not-sunny day actually wasn’t much of a birthday present after all.  So when the Saturday after the Big Day dawned sunny, I said “Let’s hike!”.  We went for the Laguna/Coast Trail loop, which I’ve done many times before and even he has done a couple of times as well.  It provides a nice mix of hillside, coastal, and stream-side scenery, with a lunch stop on the beach.  What’s not to like?

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Crafting Hiking & Backpacking

A new logo, and a new look!

You might notice some changes around here today…

When I started this blog in September I had no idea how long I’d be able to keep it going – I thought I’d run out of things to say within a few weeks.  Here we are six months later and I generally have an editorial calendar of two posts a week planned about a month out, so I guess there’s no end of this in sight yet!  My readership is steadily (if not exponentially) expanding – I’m so grateful that y’all are out there and continue to be interested in what we’re thinking and doing.

So, the changes:

I’ve shifted the blog from to  That didn’t mean much to me either until recently but it should give me a lot more flexibility as the number of you stopping by continues to grow.  Plus we get a nice fancy layout!

The ‘Parenting,’ ‘Hiking,’ and ‘Making Stuff’ introductions at the top of the homepage are new; I felt that I never really adequately explained why we do some of the things we do on these subjects so those pages are a good place to start if you’re newer around here and want to know what we’re all about. Continue Reading

Hiking & Backpacking

Hiking the Dingle Way in Ireland article now up on

Before this blog was a twinkle in anyone’s eye, least of all mine, Carys and I took a little trip to Ireland to do some hiking.  That was in early summer of 2015; I already had plans to hike from Breckenridge to Aspen later in the year but I was worried Carys was going to be too heavy to hike by this year so I wanted to get two trips in while I could.  (Now I’m thinking exactly the same thing about next year and am planning two trips this year, just in case…:-))  I grew up in England but I’d actually never been to Ireland – I came to the U.S. when I was eighteen and sort of never really left, so I’ve barely explored Europe at all. Continue Reading

Hiking & Backpacking Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc with a baby

Backpacking with an Infant Article is Live

Welcome, Cicerone-Extra readers!

After our hike in Colorado earlier this year I started thinking about where on earth we could hike next.  Cicerone publishes the guidebook that we used on our Tour du Mont Blanc hike last year, as well as the one I’d used for the Haute Route in 2013, so I spent some time browsing their website looking for ideas.   Continue Reading

Hiking & Backpacking Parenting

Throwback Thursday

In a week or so, Cicerone-Extra will publish the first in a series of articles I wrote on long-distance trekking with an infant (don’t worry; I’ll let you know when it’s live!).


Gmail has been warning me for weeks that I’m running out of storage and finally last night it told me it was going to stop sending emails unless I freed up some space.  This prompted a mass deletion of large files, during which I found this picture I took on my phone during our TMB hike.  Carys is eight or nine weeks old.  I’m actually not sure where – and thus when – the photo was taken, but it looks like it was on a bunk bed as we were packing up to move out one morning.

I’m still so proud of us for doing that hike, but even more proud of how far we have come!  This video is a month old and she’s changed so much already.  When she pinches her thumb and forefinger together repeatedly she’s signing ‘bird’, and whens she turns away and pats her hand on her chest she’s signing ‘dog’ because she sees one up the beach.  The official ‘dog’ sign is a pat on the leg but we’re usually hiking when we see them so I changed the sign to something we can both see and do when she’s in the backpack…

Breckenridge to Aspen Hike Hiking & Backpacking

Reflecting on the Breck to Aspen Hike (Most difficult yet?)

In total, Carys and I hiked about 83 miles and 17,000′ of elevation gain on this trip (elevation loss was slightly greater as we realized that all of the bushwhacks we shuttled around were uphill…).  I’m including the day hikes we did at the beginning and end because I was carrying exactly the same weight on a day hike as on the hut-to-hut part of the trip.  Estimates are rough, especially for elevation gain, as it’s easy to tell net gain from a map but much harder to keep track of all the ups and downs over the course of the day.  The hike from Continental Divide cabin to Uncle Bud’s hut was only a net gain of 800′, but Tom’s GPS said we covered about 2,000′ over the course of the day!

I always put these trips in context of the Tour du Mont Blanc, where we covered about 75 miles and 28,000′ of climbing – turns out Colorado isn’t that hilly after all!

Skinner Pass

A monochromatic day at Skinner Pass

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Making Stuff