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.
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.
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!”