We went on a backpacking trip this past weekend with Cindy’s sister and her sister’s boyfriend. We really wanted to get one last backpacking adventure in before baby comes (and before Cindy get’s too large). It was a little difficult, planning a backpacking trip around a pregnancy, but overall it was a success!
Logistics: Planning a Backpacking Trip around Pregnancy
We’re used to doing 5+ more mile hikes whenever we go backpacking. But we weren’t sure how Cindy would fare, carrying a pack for that many miles, so we limited our hike to under 5 miles. Plus, a lot of the trails and campsites are closed due to the pandemic. So that limited us even further on places we could visit.
Everything online about backpacking and pregnancy focuses on the weight limit. We were anticipating snow and 30 degree weather, so Cindy’s pack was basically just clothes. She also carried her sleeping bag, some of the food, and toiletries. That put her pack at just over 20 lbs. Jake had to carry everything else– all our gear, about 5L of water (more on that later), tent, sleeping pads, his own clothes, EVERYTHING. His pack was almost 60 lbs!!!
Cindy’s sister and her sister’s boyfriend also helped carry some water and food, to help lighten our load.
The place we picked was near a creek, so normally we wouldn’t have packed as much water as we did. But we didn’t want to take any chances, even with our water filter. So we packed enough water for Cindy to not have to drink from the creek. That meant about 5 Nalgenes! Jake was such a trooper for carrying the bulk of that.
We drove out to Ojai, CA for our trip. It’s one of the few places that has open campsites in SoCal. When Jake and his brothers & dad did their “man trip” a couple of weeks ago, they also went to Ojai! When they were there, it was super cold and there was snow everywhere. Fortunately for us, SoCal happened to experience a heat wave this past weekend, so there wasn’t much snow– just some residual patches here and there. Other than wind chill from the high winds, the temps during the day were pretty nice! At night, it did get cold but not nearly as cold as we were expecting.
We were freezing and so unprepared when we did our Sespe Hot Springs trip (see our trip here!) that we made sure to pack warmly enough to not have to endure a similar experience.
Overall, the backpacking was not bad! Cindy couldn’t clip her hip belt, so she carried most of the weight on her shoulders. They were starting to feel achy by the end of the day. Jake has carried 70 lb packs before for much longer trips (from his Boy Scout days)…so he didn’t have many complaints.
The campsite we were trying to hike to was Maple Camp. It was supposed to be a straightforward hike, and it was for the first 3ish miles. But the last half was so confusing. A lot of the trail was overgrown, so were were walking through brambles for a while. Then there was supposed to be a bunch of switchbacks that take you about 1500 feet in 1.5 miles down to the campsite. Except, part of the switchbacks had been washed out, so it looked like we were constantly moments from a straight drop off the side of the mountain. It was really steep, and really windy. Cindy and her sister didn’t feel too comfortable with the descent. We decided it wasn’t worth the risk, especially with the pregnancy, and turned back.
It was so unfortunate– we were so close to our destination. And the campsite is supposed to be really beautiful and calm. Instead, we hiked back and found a clearing we could camp at– just a couple miles from the trail head. Most of the creek near the site we found had dried up, so we were a little tight on water. Fortunately, we had Cindy’s 5L of water and there was a small patch of snow on the ground that we ended up boiling to cook our meals. The setback made our trip a true adventure.
We had a lot of fun with Cindy’s sister and her sister’s boyfriend. We spent some time throwing axes, tossing around the frisbee, playing cards, swinging in the hammock, and just talking. At night, we stargazed and listened to the creepy rustling of the leaves. There was apparently a lot of wildlife around us– we just couldn’t see them. We’re pretty sure a deer or serial killer was walking around our tents at night. We’ll never know for sure.
Overall, it was a great last backpacking trip (at least last one for a while). We’re so happy we did it!