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Summer Day Hiking: What to Bring

What to bring, or, What I Brought

My girls and I decided we’d take a few hours to explore a nearby trail loop, the Cienega-Sulphur Creek Loop this week. It’s a 3 mile hike with about 600 feet of elevation change, starting around 7250 feet. The biggest draws for the hike was that it features a stream. A stream is a big deal here in the desert southwest, especially in the heat of August!

For this trip, I planned on being out for about 3 hours. We left our dog at home, as 1)  Newborn + 2 big kids + new trail is a lot to mentally keep track of, and, 2) I tend to prefer to scout out the dog-appropriateness in person before bringing the pup. 

Taking in the lunch break views.

The trail was new, but it is our local mountain range, so I was fairly familiar with what the terrain, vegetation, and conditions would be like. Given that it was a new trail, I did download the trail map downloaded on my phone.  We had basic gear: sturdy footwear, sun hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, mini first aid kit, and whistles.  For the babe, who is 2 months old, I brought a spare outfit, diaper, and a light blanket. I carry the baby in a front carrier; he wears a light-colored full onesie and sun cover. We also brought our face masks, as we are hiking in the time of COVID-19.



Many people have asked what kind of food and how much I take on an outing such as this. Life with a newborn has streamlined a lot, including my hiking prep: we stick with super basics! For this trip, I brought 3 sandwiches, apple slices, and a bag of pirate’s booty (cheesy puff things). I packed 3 liters of water for the trip and I had a couple of granola bars stashed as well, in case of the need for sweet “persuasion” on the trail. 

Finding water is a major treat.


Overall, we had a great time. We did get a late start, so it was warmer than I would have liked, and we didn’t finish until afternoon. The highlight indeed was splashing in the stream, which was a welcome break about halfway through the hike. The downside of a halfway stop with water is that it makes the last stretch seem really, really long and hot for the kiddos.



When we decide on hiking, I do let my girls decide where they want to go most of the time. Their verdict on the hike was they would do it again “BUT WHEN IT WAS LESS HOT!”

Fossils in the Madera Limestone.


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