Jack was 5 weeks old to the day when we headed out on his second hike – we chose the hike up to Talapus Lake. The forecast for the day was calling for intermittent rain and chilly temperatures in the upper 50s to low 60s. After some debate as to how we would face our first cold/rainy hike with our newborn son we packed up rain gear, extra layers for everybody, and Jack’s trusty umbrella and hit the road.
We arrived at the trailhead at around 11:00 a.m. and were surprised by the number of cars in the lot. We had assumed that the weather would keep most hikers at bay but people were surprisingly unfazed by the gloomy weather of a constant drizzle. This trail connects to numerous lakes allowing you to really create your own day hike or backpacking trip depending on how far you want to go. Our destination was the first lake along the trail, Talapus Lake. At just under 2 miles in with only 1000 feet in elevation gain it was another great starter hike for us as we continue to adjust to hiking with a newborn baby.
I fed Jack in the car after we arrived and then bundled him up. All in all he was wearing a long-sleeved onesie under fleece pajamas. Over the pajamas I put on a fleece hooded sweatshirt, a fleece hat, and socks on his hands as makeshift mittens. Bobby put him in the Baby Bjorn while he was only wearing a t-shirt so that Jack was as close to Bobby’s skin as possible, so as to use Bobby’s body heat to help Jack stay warm. Bobby had brought along his snowboarding jacket which is large enough to be zipped up around Jack in the Baby Bjorn, is warm, and waterproof. We tucked Jack’s long, dangling legs into Bobby’s rain pants and Bobby topped off his ensemble with an umbrella to keep Jack nice and dry!
We set off on the trail which starts off as a wide path that was obviously once a forest road. The path narrows as it begins to gain elevation at a moderate incline with many switchbacks. Signs at the start and finish of the section of switchbacks remind hikers to remain on the trail and not cut the switchbacks. Apparently this basic and easy to follow point of trail etiquette is still lost on some hikers, as we watched an adult backpacker cut a switchback… It was not only sad to watch as the plants of the understory were trod upon with such little consideration but also mind boggling that a seemingly intelligent individual would be so selfish and lazy.
We encountered many soaking wet backpackers who were headed in the direction of the trailhead and parking lot. We were wondering how many of them had cut their Labor Day trips short due to the inclement weather. As we hiked along, Jack would frequently sigh noisily and contentedly letting us know that he was OK and happy as we continued through the rain and cold.
We reached Talapus Lake quickly and stopped for a quick bite to eat and a rest. There were several fisher people with a dog hanging out by the shore who mistook Jack for a front pack! When we told them it was a 5 week old baby they couldn’t believe we had such a young one already out on the trail. They didn’t seem to have caught any fish but were having a good old time hanging out on the edge of the lake under their numerous umbrellas. After our respite we turned around and headed back to the car with the hope of making it back before Jack had to eat. The 1.9 miles back to the car flew by and we were soon safely ensconced in the car ready for another feeding.
Overall this is a great hike to do with kids and a great location to come for a beginner backpacker. We wished we could’ve continued along further to Ollalie Lake but didn’t want to push it too far when the weather was so rotten, making stops with an infant tricky… Jack was once again a rockstar on the trail and was more then happy to spend the day snuggled up against his Daddy’s chest warm and cozy. When we got back to the car I checked his hands and feet, worried they would be cold but was surprised to find him nice and toasty. I think he was just warm enough as he wasn’t sweating but was very warm. The thought of taking our babe out in the rain and cold had been intimidating at first but it ended up being much easier then expected!