Week 12: Stepping out of the Comfort Zone!

Very proud of Phoenix (2 yr old son) and I on this one. Week 12 brought us down to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve area for a day of hiking just the 2 of us. I tend to stay in the areas I know like the back of my hand with reception when taking him out by myself as I am a natural disaster walking aka clumsy as hell. But what the hell I’m always preaching life begins at the end of your comfort zone so might as well make do with that. I did what everyone should do before heading out on any adventure and informed someone of my plans. That person was my dad, told him location including trail names, start time, and approximately how long it would take. I did have service one time along the hike and that wasn’t until we reached the highest point which was a thigh burner of climb. Called my dad and Jason to let them know how it was going.

We chose to park at campsite U and hike a loop consisting of Hay Valley and Washout Trails, a good 3.5 mile hike with side trails of curiosity. Perfect for just us 2. Another reason why I like having a second adult while hiking with Phoenix is the entertainment aspect. Asking a toddler to stay put in a carry for a few hours is quite a task. Don’t get me wrong he walks in the beginning until he says carry me then gets out at break times to explore if he wants to. So I was a tad worried about that part.

The wind that day was pretty brutal especially in the beginning part being exposed in the field but one amazing thing they put in a new bridge to keep your feet from getting wet and making it easier for the snowmobilers if we would ever get snow for that.

new bridgecreek

Get close to woods

Getting closer to the dark mysterious woods I’ll admit my heart starting racing along with my mind that went directly to negative nancy thoughts. Great just what I needed right. Doubting my abilities to simply walk through the woods on a joyful beautiful hike. I use to do this by myself back in the day with practically no worries at all, half the time I didn’t even have a cell phone with me. Something was just freaking me out and almost stopped me right there when a feeling came over me that just pushed me forward with no other option but accomplishing the loop. Off into the woods we went. Trail wasn’t so friendly to begin with but eventually shaped up.

Only indication of wind once in the woods was the thin pine trees being forcefully swayed back and forth with that eerie sound that brings ya to snapshots of horror movies. I’m blonde so off course I would trip and fall at the least convenient time lol.  Had to shake that thought real fast.




Getting up the first hill
Getting up the first hill


Laughing the whole way!


snack break

Finally making it up to the ridge we sat down for some water, banana and a little chat.  Phoenix wasn’t in the mood to get out and wander I think the wind had him a tad freaked out but boy was he chatty. Talking all about the tree noises, leaves and of course his dinosaur. Chilled out for a good 10 minutes and got ready to head out when I thought about checking my phone for service. What do ya know I had enough bars to make a phone call so called dad and Jason to let them know how it was going and it may take us a bit longer than planned. Hills really kill your time especially when carrying another human on legs that have been training hard for a trail race.

Continuing on down the ridge, down into a valley, back up a hill and then back down into another valley. On this stretch is where I fell for the first time. Thought I twisted my knee pretty good but it only hurt for a few minutes then carried on. Quite a bit of time passed and I was starting to think maybe I should turn around because I thought for sure we should have ran into the next trail by now. This is where I would love to have one of those activity trackers with a hike option. I have been eyeing an Garmin one up for awhile but just cant bring myself to spend that type of money even thou it would be very quite useful at this moment. I would have felt defeated if I did not complete the loop so that little voice crept up again and told me to just keep hiking along. Going on a little further we came upon this unique old brick building, well half a building.

odd brick building

Sweet baby Jesus we finally found the sign to the next trail that leads us back down towards the car. About a 1.5 miles to go on the Washout Trail. Got up to the sign and Phoenix started listing off the shapes on the sign like horse and bike but had a hard time with the hiker one. He will have that down in no time thou.

washout trail sign

Took one more quick break and realized we had lost the small dinosaur 😦

Washout trail is a snowmobile trail during the winter so its a wide very easy path to follow. Even has a little creek to admire.

snowmobile trailcreek -0001


washout trail 2

steep hill

That sign right there will be the death of me even more so with go pro in my hand lol. Jason literally thinks the go pro will be the death of me. But seriously on this down hill is where I ended up slipping and falling to the ground in mud. Phoenix thought it was fun I laughed it off myself but was thinking of course get to where we can almost see the car and I fall in the mud. Seriously my luck. Before that I got another beautiful shot of Phoenix and I.

Phoenix and I first hike

open field


Back into the open field where we started. The weather being better than when we started but still very windy. Getting back to the car we celebrated with one of our favorite Mountain House meals and tuna packets to add extra protein. We definitely deserved it and were extremely hunger after a few hours of hiking.



We absolutely love our Jetboil and I’ll be doing a gear review of it when I start that part of the blog up here in a few weeks as we start rolling into the backpacking season.


On the way out to the main road we stopped to admire some geese relaxing in small pond.



Thank you everyone for your interest.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. What a wonderful role model you are for other parents !! And what a strength you must have……I wouldn’t make it the first kilometer with a baby on my back ! Every time I see photos of you and your son smiling……….just makes may day 🙂


  2. Meghan says:

    You’re so awesome to be taking your son out by yourself. Over the years I’ve read a lot of blogs where people make out like its no big deal to take their 1-year old or toddler on multi-day backpacking trips and I think that’s great that they do it but also slightly ingenuous: first off, it’s a big deal any time you’re in charge of another human, and second, everybody does this WITH ANOTHER PERSON. So, bravo to you for getting out there, even if it’s scary!


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