Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Creating a Cragbaby…

Celebrating Canaan's 2 month birthday with our first multi-day climbing/camping trip at the New River Gorge, WV.

With a new year upon us, I’ve been inspired to do a little more with my blog.  I’ve decided to start a new series of posts, entitled “Creating a Cragbaby.”  What exactly is a Cragbaby, you might ask?  Well, in the rock climbing world, the “crag” is simply another word for a climbing area.  (Examples:  “Which crag are you guys hitting up this weekend?”  “You’ll never guess who I ran into at the crag last week…”).  And hopefully the term “baby” is pretty self-explanatory… 

6 week old Canaan's first day craggin' at Pilot Mountain.

But to me, a cragbaby can also be a moniker for any little guy (or girl) who doesn’t remember his first time climbing, camping, hiking, etc.  He doesn’t remember it because to him being outdoors enjoying nature is something his family has always done.  It’s part of who he is.   Cragbabies are explorers, naturalists, and ecologists.  They grow up feeling most at home in wide open spaces, having been introduced to the sounds and rhythms of nature in the womb.

Canaan the Explorer at the Obed River Gorge in Tennessee.

A lot of our friends and family members have been curious about how my husband and I have managed to continue with our favorite recreational pursuits this past year (most of which certainly wouldn’t show up on any list of “baby-friendly” activities).   We’ve had to make a few changes of course.  We have a lot more gear, and everything takes at least twice as long.  But even though at times its been a logistical nightmare, we’ve managed to make it work, and its been far more rewarding than we could have ever imagined.  We couldn’t picture our family any other way!

Our family on a bouldering trip to Grayson Highlands, VA in October 2010.

Now, granted at the time of this post, our little guy is only 9 and a half months old, far from being “grown up.”  (although probably not as far off as we think!) And this short length of time certainly doesn’t qualify me as an expert in the subjects of parenting, wilderness experiences, or rock climbing.  I’m just a first time mom trying my best to figure things out. 

"God made dirt, dirt don't hurt..."

Thankfully in addition to the many mistakes we’ve made along the way we’ve also stumbled upon some really good ideas that have worked out great for our family. And if they worked for us, who knows, maybe they might work for other families, too!  If 20 years from now it turns out I’ve raised an agoraphobic hermit, I promise I will retract every last word!  But for now, please take my posts for what they are – how-to musings (and sometimes “how NOT to”) about our experiences raising a baby who was born with a silver carabiner in his mouth. 

Canaan the Gear Inspector.

I’ll be trying to add a new post in the series at least every week, hopefully more if I can find the time…  So stay tuned for the first piece in the “Creating a Cragbaby” series – “Training Days.”


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN