Sunday, December 11, 2011

A New Generation: Part III: Big Pine Lakes

By now, we had the High Sierra bug. After Cottonwood Lakes we were already looking forward to getting Maggie out on her first multi-day camping trip. We ended up getting a few days mid-week to sneak away and we decided to hit up the Big Pine Lakes area.

With another great 5-6 mile hike into the first couple of lakes and several lakes to venture to past those, this was a great place to spend a few days. You also get to pass an old cabin that used to be owned by Charleton Heston (now the USFS) and a very lush area of Aspen and flowers (that were in full bloom during our hike).

This area was a bit more traveled than Cottonwood lakes and we had more than a few interactions with curious hikers who found our party amusing. After a little poking around, we found a great little spot for our camp and settled in.

Every day with the little one is a learning experience for all of us. On our first car camping trip to Ladybug in Sequoia National Park, I set Maggie down on our bags while I took the tent down. A few second later I heard a little scream and turned around to find that she had rolled off the bags into a pile of leaves. I quickly brushed the leaves out of her mouth and made her promise not to tell her mother - now I am more creative when finding places to stick her while I have to do stuff...

Everyone seemed pretty happy with camp...

The next day we spent the morning checking out the area between the first two lakes - clearly an old mining area with lots of interesting artifacts as well as a cascade between the two lakes.

After a bit, we set off to check out the other lakes. We found a spot for camp at lake #5 and then set out adventuring for the day.

Along with amazing vistas, we saw the biggest tad pols I have ever seen in my life, their bodies were the size of ping pong balls!

After we had about enough, we headed back to camp for some leisure time.

It seems like you can't go wrong in the Eastern Sierra, but Big Pine was a big hit with us. Great camping and lots of little side adventures, many of which we were not able to get to. The next morning we loaded up and headed back to the car, very thankful that Maggie is happiest when she is out and about.

Of Course Sherman was very happy too...

A New Generation Part II: Cottonwood Lakes

After a successful camping trip into Manter Meadow, we decided that Maggie needed her first High Sierra Trip. Again, easy access was important since we were not sure how well she would handle altitude, but we had an added complication this time around. After we lost Copper and Lucy, the house seemed too quiet - yes, even with a newborn. So, after some discussion of whether it was a smart thing to do or not (and it probably wasn't), I decided to add another family member - Sherman.

A great option seemed to be Cottonwood Lakes, about a 5-6 mile hike in that is dog friendly. We knew that Maggie enjoyed hiking, but had no idea how Sherman would feel about the whole thing, much less 6 miles at around 10,000 ft. We couldn't have been more pleased about his hiking ability and behavior, his Marmot Poop eating and bed hogging behavior on the other hand needs some work...

Cottonwood Lakes are spectacular, especially when you have them all to yourselves as we did. While the bugs were bad in the trees, we were able to avoid them by camping on an exposed knoll.

I'm not sure we could have picked a better place for her introduction to the High Sierra - with a view of Langley out of our tent and the clear Sierra night sky it was perfect

For those who would contemplate bringing a newborn to this altitude, there are some issues. The low pressure caused the breast milk to come out like a jet, which resulted in some feeding issues. If you already have supplemented with bottle feeding that might be a better way to go. Of course, I'm not a doctor (well I am, but not the right kind), so talk to your physician to figure out what is best for you.

We were sad to go, we would have loved to have stayed up there longer; but it was time to go and we will certainly be back with Maggie next year.

A New Generation Part I: Manter Meadow

It has been a little while since we posted here. For those who know us, we welcomed Maggie Merced Giddens into the world on June 3rd. She came into the world happy, health and very alert. From the day we got her home it was evident that she was happy when she was on the move - I guess all that time in Rebecca's belly while adventuring seemed to carry through into her personality. So move is what we did...

After a little adjustment time (both for Maggie and Rebecca) we decided that everyone was ready for her first camping trip. We figured something manageable like Manter Meadow would be a good start. A pleasant 3-4 mile hike into a wonderful meadow in the middle of the Domeland Widerness. This seemed like a good place to start for a few reasons; first, it was a short hike so we could get out quickly if we needed, and second, there is a spring so that we didn't have to carry water along with all the extra baby stuff that now was added to our kit.

She loved the hike, looking all around at the great wide world - at least until she had enough and fell asleep. At camp she was a trooper, mostly sleeping and eating, but always up for some sort of adventure when those two things were not going on.

We met our friends Dave and Alison (and Charlie) later that afternoon and it was nice to share her first camping trip trip with them.

It wasn't the best night of sleep under the stars, but I have had worse. Certainly it was exciting to be out there with a new baby girl with a whole world full of adventures ahead of her...