What’s the deal?
Spend a few days hiking in the backcountry with your little one.
Where’s it at?
Once you have had a baby, you do not need give up your passion for wild places. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can venture off well-trodden paths with ease. For most new parents, the biggest concerns are safety and lugging the extra weight and supplies. Previous backpacking experience, map reading and first-aid skills are paramount. You will also need a specialized backpack, such as the Deuter Kid Comfort, for your baby. It works best if one parent carries junior and the other carries everything else. Before embarking on a multiday trip, make sure you are fit and have done several short hikes to work out any problems. Most infants enjoy hiking, and the motion rocks them to sleep.
Head to Skoki Lodge, located in Banff National Park, near Lake Louise, at 2,165 metres elevation. Built in 1931 as a ski chalet, Skoki has become a landmark of the region and is a National Historic Site. It’s one of the few fully catered backcountry lodges in Canada that is accessible only by hiking in. The 11-kilometre trail takes you past meadows of wildflowers, glaciated peaks and impossibly aquamarine lakes. You will be treated to abundant gourmet food, and the managers, who have young children, will pass on tips from their experience. Staff will make trail suggestions and provide maps, but the hiking is up to you. Do the day trip to Merlin Lake, easily one of the most postcard-perfect places in the Rockies, with scarcely a tourist in sight. Take your camera and snap that photo for the future family album.
Who’s it for?
New parents who like experiencing the beauty and serenity of the mountains and do not have a babysitter. Accommodation at Skoki Lodge starts at $160 each, including meals. Children four years old and under stay free (www.skoki.com). In Lake Louise, try Paradise Lodge & Bungalows (www.paradiselodge.com).