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Our most recent overnight trip was to Glacier National Park, B.C., Canada. Fall was just around the corner. It was just the right time to have one final camping trip in the mountains before temperatures dropped. The sun was bright and beautiful on our way up allowing us such incredible visibility after we made it out of the trees. It was mountains for days!
Our little one was nearly 1.5 years old at the time with the toddler ambition kicking in. She hiked up what seemed like a kilometer that day. However, looking back, maybe it only seemed like that long because of her toddler pace.
The trail we took, Hermit Trail, was a 6.2 km round trip with an 813 m elevation gain. So though it was not long it was quite steep. Of course, eventually it was into the pack she went for a nice hike-nap. We then arrived with a great amount of time to enjoy the area, sights, fresh air, rocks, and the cold, cold, glacial stream.
Our adventures look so different with a little one – allowing her to guide how fast we move, when we stop, and the activities we do when we arrive at our destination. It’s incredibly fun and such a new way to explore for us. We are learning a more all-encompassing sense of beauty that nature has to offer. We are also learning great patience. Something neither of us were very good at before becoming parents.
For example, (note the picture to the side) you can tell a toddler not to go into the glacier water as it’s cold and we didn’t pack extra boots or socks on this hiking trip, but will they listen? Absolutely not. We’re just thankful merino wool dries fast and we had other means of keeping her warm. We try our best to find good quality gear for her and ideally secondhand, local, or at the very least on sale because kiddos grow out of, stain or create holes so fast and these items add up so quickly.
So after some great play and exploration it was time to set up camp. Our little one has liked this part a lot. Perhaps you would think that is surprising? But she makes blowing up air-pads look like great fun and can you just imagine the joy of jumping on them after?
Both of these activities we have a love-hate relationship with.
Sweet loving toddler help - Love it.
Toddler slobber all up in the mats - no thank you.
Toddler giggles as she jumps up and down – love it.
Eventual and inevitable pop of our expensive airpads – No thank you.
After a delicious rehydrated meal, game playing (we make sure to pack a few small toys and make use of the land for games), stargazing and some good old breastfeeding comfort, it was time to sleep - with Little Mo locked and loaded! Now... I don’t know about your little one but our little one is NOT a sweet angel night sleeper. Never has been… will she ever be? I don’t know. We’re waiting… maybe patiently, maybe not.
Other parents have asked us, “How do you do it? How does your little one sleep outdoors?”. I think parents ask because we get so used to a routine: white noise, blacking out the room, having the temperature of the room set, putting them in their special home sleep sack. Our answer is that she sleeps as well outdoors and sometimes better than she does indoors. Not super great but we keep it up because we love it and she doesn’t not like it. I find that nature offers so much of what humans need for sleep– natural white noises, following the cues of the sun to sleep, and cool temperatures.
Maybe you can’t use the same home sleep sack but it’s amazing that now you can find an outdoor sleeping bag that will feel like the comfort of home to your little but equipped for the outdoors! Our little one is a sleeping sack/bag lover—home or tent. I think there should be a toddler sleeping bag race. They get so good at shuffling about in these things!
If you can set your family up for overnight outdoors, then do it - at minimum give it a try. Waking up with your little in the mountains offers irreplaceable moments.
We do it because morning views like this don’t come without putting in the work and sleeping outdoors. We also know this is the right time to do it with our little person being so impressionable and excitable at this age.
We are the Mordaks - a small family living in B.C., Canada. Michael works in Digital Marketing and I, Katia, am currently finishing up my Bachelors in Midwifery - supporting and serving pregnant, birthing and postpartum families. We have one wild toddler, named Kismet, and one silly pup, named Maisel. We entertain these beings and ourselves with outdoor activity as much as we can. We take to the mountains/trails/ocean/lakes no matter the weather or time of year. Keep up with our explorations by following us on instagram @mor.wild.