Hi! I’m Aly. I’m a Texan transplant who’s lived in Utah since 2006. When I first moved here, I was extremely unprepared for the seasons and especially winter. I wore too much cotton in the winter and didn’t own snow boots. Buying cheaply made clothing wasted a lot of money. I thought I hated Utah and winter and snow for years. I avoided outdoor and mountainous activities, and suffered through the cold months. Once I even snowshoed in rain boots! I cried as my feet thawed after that night.
After college I worked in early childhood special education, for an early intervention agency. A couple of years later I had my first child. Then I felt even more ill prepared for winter and snow, trying to keep him warm. Gradually I began researching how to make the winter bearable for he and I, and learned so much. Learning about layering and what types of material to wear in various weather was hugely helpful.
A few years ago, we had another child and bought a house here in Utah. I also went through some difficult and major personal changes, and I decided to work hard to love all that Utah had to offer since we were here for the long term. We began hiking somewhat regularly. I researched baby carriers and invested in a couple that I liked. As my baby got older, I experimented with ways to pack what we needed and ways to keep my kids happy. I joined a group called Hiking Mamas of Utah County, and eventually ended up taking it over as other leaders needed breaks or moved.
The kids and I usually hike twice a week -once with the group, once as a family. It’s definitely easier to hike with a partner who can carry a daypack and water, but it’s important to me to make it into the mountains even without him. Of course, I have it easier than many since I have two kids and one is able to hike around 5 miles. The younger child goes on my back. I am also very lucky in that we can live off my husband’s income and I have the choice to stay home if I want to, giving me more freedom to get up in the mountains during the week.
I want this website to be a primer for people looking to get into hiking with children, but overwhelmed by choosing a hike, knowing what kind of gear they need, and worried about keeping their kids happy. Basically, all the things I have slowly gathered and learned. Welcome!