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Toddler Trails: First Hiking Adventure with 18-Month-Old in North Georgia

18 month old child in hiking carrier on dad's back in wooded area

Introduction

Embarking on a family hiking journey in Georgia was a decision to embrace adventure and create memories with our little one. This blog post starts a series dedicated to our hiking adventures with our 18-month-old toddler, focusing on the mountains in North Georgia—one trail at a time.


What to Pack

When hiking with toddlers, every item in your backpack counts. Essential items aren't just about convenience; they ensure safety and comfort. We learned quickly that a child carrier is not just an accessory but a necessity when hiking with little ones. We used the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro Child Carrier for this trip, which helped keep our toddler secure and comfortably nestled. Additionally, a simple snack container our 18-month-old could independently handle proved invaluable, minimizing stops and keeping little hands busy.


The Deuter Kid Comfort Pro proved its worth, giving us stability, comfort for our child, and peace of mind. It also comes with a small backpack in which we put all snacks and a small first aid kit. The small backpack can fit in the bottom of the carrier if you would like. I ended up wearing it since Zach was carrying Brooks. Equally important was our toddler snack container, allowing our toddler to enjoy his snacks without constant help. 


However, a lesson learned: We bought these little attachments to connect snack containers to the carrier so Brooks can't throw his snack container on the trail and laugh every time we pick it up. 


Planning Your Hike

Preparing for a hike with a toddler requires consideration beyond the usual trail prep. Checking trail conditions and the weather forecast becomes important to avoid any discomfort or hazards that could affect your little one.


Choosing the Right Trail

North Georgia offers several trails perfect for families, providing safe and engaging environments for children to enjoy and explore. We hope to get through as many as possible this summer and share our adventures. 


Our First Toddler Hiking Experience

The mark of our first family hike in North Georgia was filled with unexpected turns and delightful discoveries. The Deuter carrier was our trusty companion, allowing us to easily navigate the trails despite some initial missteps in our route.

trees all around with green leaves

The Hike

Setting the right pace was crucial, especially with a toddler in tow. It was about balancing enthusiasm with a pace that suited our tiny adventurer, ensuring he was engaged without becoming overwhelmed.


The trail was a carpet of fall leaves the entire hike, starkly contrasting the dry paths my Husband and I know from Utah. Surrounded by leafy, dense trees, the scenery was a lush tunnel of greenery, offering a stunning nature experience.


Taking Breaks

Surprisingly, breaks were few, thanks to the Deuter carrier, which allowed Zach to carry Brooks comfortably throughout the hike. Though it was longer than planned, the journey was seamless, sparing us the need for frequent stops.


Hydration and Snacks

Keeping Brooks hydrated and energized was crucial, especially with the extended trek. Packing healthy, energizing snacks and plenty of water kept him hydrated and happy even on longer trails. He was fascinated by our water pouch and played with it for a good 10 minutes, entranced by how water came out of it. 


Navigational Challenges We Faced

The trailhead's lack of clear maps was our first hurdle, leading to a few wrong turns. You'll see us printing or screenshotting maps online on future hikes to ensure we don't veer off the path or take a wrong turn.


Handling the Unexpected

Realizing we were a half-mile off our intended route was daunting, yet it became part of the day's adventure. We navigated back to our truck by making our way down to a street road lined with houses, turning our misdirection into an unexpected exploration. Brooks was able to see his first donkey and horse. We had a kitty following us down the street, and Brooks kept calling it Lily (our toy poodle, probably close to the same size as the cat). 


Post-Hike

After the hike, exploring the local town and refueling became part of our adventure, offering us a chance to unwind and enjoy the local food. We ate at "The Spotted Pig." We enjoyed their brisket and ribs. My favorite side was their fried okra—I've been obsessing over it lately. 

selfie of wife, husband, and child in hiking carrier

Conclusion

Our first venture into the trails of North Georgia with a toddler was nothing short of enlightening. It reinforced the joy of hiking as a family and the importance of being well-prepared.


Join us as we continue to explore and share insights from our trails. Follow this series for more adventures, and share your own experiences of hiking with little ones. Together, let’s make every trail a story worth telling.



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