Sober in Vegas: Bristlecone Pine Loop & Hiking with a baby

Fall is here! Fall is here!

And it lasts about 4 weeks in Vegas…sometimes less.

So you’re maybe wondering how do I get out there and enjoy autumn in Vegas?

Look no further than the Bristlecone Pine Loop!

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This trail offers scenic views, changing colors of the leaves, and varied terrain.

About an hour outside of town via the 95 North, you’ll exit on the left at the Mt. Charleston access sign–it’s small and brown so be on the lookout after you pass the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort because it comes up fast.

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Before heading to the trail I encourage you to stop at the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway.  It’s a relatively new visitor center with nice facilities, helpful staff, lots of maps, and info about local flora and fauna.

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But the feature I love most at the visitor center are these special eye coverings that you can hold up and view the windows through–and violá! Colors and shapes and animals appear!

From the Visitor Center it’s about another half an hour to get to the Bristle Cone Loop upper trail head (which is accessed via the same parking lot as Lee Canyon).

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Full disclosure: the day we went recently, we didn’t do the entire trail.

It was my first day using our second-hand child hiking carrier and between it still being a little bit warm, carrying about 30 pounds on my back, and the elevation change we only did about 3 hours total…but even in that small amount of time look at the beautiful views we saw!

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Re: hiking with a 9 month old on my back.

Here are a few simple things I learned from our first time:

  • On your first trip with the carrier go with friends or family. A few reasons for this…
    • It helps that other people can see if your kiddo is having a good time (as it’s really hard to see behind you and check on baby!)
    • Getting the pack on and off the first few times is awkward, and having other people around is helpful
    • If your kiddo has never been hiking before you don’t know how they’re going to react and having an understanding 2nd or 3rd person around just helps you feel supported, even if kiddo screams
    • If you realize that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, the other person(s) are able to trade you packs if you aren’t able to carry them the whole time (and yeah…that happened to me…big thanks to my brother for switching me partway through!)
  • Bring extra clothes for kiddo. Even though I was warm, she was pretty cool (because she wasn’t carrying a human being on her back uphill….) and I was glad that I’d brought a hoodie, hat, and extra pants for her.
  • Bring food that’s easy to feed your kiddo even if they stay in the pack when you all take a rest. We brought food that didn’t require a spoon to make life easier.
  • Plan to take extra breaks.
  • Plan on everything taking longer than you thought.
  • Change their diaper the minute before you hit the trail. I didn’t end up changing her on the trail because there really wasn’t anywhere that made sense, so I was glad we changed her right before we put her in the pack.
  • And lastly, temper your expectations. You probably won’t be able to do half as much as you normally do without a little one on your back.  And it’ll be more fun if the point of the hike is to be outdoors with the little one, not to break any kind of records.

IMG_3305Since our hike at Bristle Cone, I have gone on another hike with the carrier up at Red Rock and really enjoyed it.

It’s been so good to have a really important part of my sobriety journey back–hiking and being outdoors.  Recently I was talking with a friend about how hard it was hard during my pregnancy to not be outside as much.

Between morning sickness and so many changes in my body, I was so sad that I wasn’t hiking as much as I had in the past.

Getting to share the outdoors with my baby girl has been so rewarding–everyone who hikes past us comments on how happy she looks and it warms my heart!

I hope she also finds peace being outside, and I’m looking forward to many more hikes in the future together.


Thanks for reading and happy sobering friends!

2 thoughts on “Sober in Vegas: Bristlecone Pine Loop & Hiking with a baby

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