One cold morning on vacation in Sedona, we decided we would try out our new Kelty Child Carrier and take a hike with Baby J in Oak Creek Canyon – specifically the easy-rated West Fork trail. A chance of rain and thunder and unusually frigid weather didn’t stop us from our first major hike with the baby carrier. It was to be 3 miles one way, mostly flat with multiple stream crossings.

Baby J really loved the carrier, especially now that she was at eye level with us. She stayed in it for the whole 6 miles, except for short stops at rocky areas where we let her climb around.

On the hike in, as the canyon walls closed in on us and the giant rock formations towered high above our heads, Baby J felt cozy enough to fall asleep in the carrier. James and I then listened for the small sounds of nature in the welcome silence.

We came to a clearing where there were tons of cairns, rocks piled in little stacks to let you know you are on the right trail. We sensed that maybe it was an undiscovered vortex, or a site where energy concentrates. Whatever the feeling, Baby J took this as an opportune time to create a dirty diaper, which we then had to carry with us the rest of the way out. Talk about hazards of hiking with a baby.

All in all, it was a joy to be able to share with her our time in nature, as we once did as just a couple. The carrier (Kelty FC Child Carrier) kept her warm and comfortable for a long time. We didn’t use the extra backpack on the carrier as Baby J was already heavy enough (23 lbs.) to make James’ shoulders hurt when we got back. I think we’ll avoid this next time by getting someone at REI (where we bought it) to properly adjust the straps.

It kept her safe during many stream crossings; however, it is pretty top-heavy and tends to sway if she shifts her weight. Since we are not serious hikers, we didn’t do much research as to which carrier was the best for long treks into the wilderness. I bet there is a lighter, more adjustable one that would be better and of course, more expensive. Ours was only about $100.

The inconvenience of hiking with a baby or toddler is far outweighed by things you would only notice with them. It reminds you that the smallest of rocks is just as impressive as the big boulders, and the wonder comes from within. Put the baby in the baby carrier and head out on a hike today!