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First Backpacking Trip For J-Man

I’m finally getting around to giving you a recap of J-Man’s first backpacking trip. Meaning, his first time hiking into the woods to camp on his own two feet. He has been backpacking before but he rode on my back is his throne.

When we set out for our 2 week trip back in June we knew we were going to backpack but we didn’t know where. There was no itinerary for the trip except to relax and have fun. We knew a few places we wanted to visit and we had to take the dogs into consideration for trails, camping and our backpacking destinations but we were flexible as to where we would go and how long we would stay.

We arrived in Pindale, WY on day 4 of our trip after staying 2 nights at Green River Lakes. If you’ve never been to Green River Lakes and you’re in the area go see them! It’s a spectacular place. It’s the headwaters of the Green River that flows all the way down through Moab, which I thought was pretty cool.

Green River Lakes at sunset

So when we arrived in Pinedale we hit up the Great Outdoor Store there. We got the low down on hikes in the Wind River Range that would be suitable for J-Man and discovered the backpacking route we would take. Bedge added 3 more maps to his collection and J-Man took away a new water reservoir since I somehow forgot to pack his.

That evening as we were packing our gear I realized that I had planned and packed absolutely nothing for lunches on the trail. I also forgot some stuff sack and a few other minor things. The stuff sacks weren’t as critical as the food and considering we were at least an hour from Pindale there was no going to the store for lunches. Ooops! So I rummaged through all our food and just threw anything and everything that would fit into my pack. In Bedge’s words…”you’d think you were a rookie to backpacking.” My lack of organizing and planning certainly made it look that way. The great thing was we had all the necessities and got by with substitutions to make it work.

The following day we hit the trail and the pugs, Bierstadt and Petunia joined us. Our destination was Big Sandy Lake, approximately 5.5 miles in. There are two trail options to Big Sandy Lake and we took the less popular one, Diamond Lake Trail. Instead of doing an out and back hike this route would make a big circle. The mileage was a smidge shorter this way, too.

Big Sandy Lake Trail Head

J-Man carried his backpack loaded with water, trail snacks, his camera, a couple toys, rain jacket, beanie and gloves. That seemed to be the perfect amount of weight for him to carry. Bierstadt carried the water bowl, their food and poop bags. Bedge and I had some pretty heavy packs. I’m estimating mine to have weighed about 50lbs and Bedge’s was much heavier.

Toddler backpacking

Hiking in the Wind River Range of Wyoming

As we followed the rolling trail we meandered through dense forest, a few meadows and crossed a handful of creeks all while swatting mosquitoes left and right. Those needle-nose beasts were in full force.

Toddler hiking in the Wind River Range of Wyoming

Creek Crossing

Creek Crossing

45 minutes into the hike Petunias right eye began to swell shut. We assumed it was from a mosquito bite. Not being prepared for something like that the only thing I had to give her was children’s benadryl. I had the liquid form so it made it easy to dispense. Thank goodness it kicked in and her eye returned back to normal.

Pug crossing a creek

We crossed a few more creeks and made our way to V Lake where we decided we would camp for the night. Bierstadt and Petunia aren’t the adventure pugs they once were and we didn’t want to push J-Man too far since for some reason he seemed tired. Also, there was a storm pending so we thought it was a better idea to set up camp then continue on and get caught in a down pour. Big Sandy Lake was till a good 1.5 miles away making it a bit too far to push on.

While Bedge and I set up the tent J-Man collected wood for a fire. I wasn’t planning on having a camp fire but instead of swatting mosquitoes all night I figured the smoke from the fire would keep them away and it did.


Meadow by V Lake

That evening the rain came and it poured all night long. We used our brand new Sierra Designs tent and thank goodness it kept us dry.

Toddler in his sleeping bag

We woke up to a cool crisp morning which was nice for a change. And, it was Bedge and I’s 8 year anniversary. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate.

We had our oatmeal breakfast, packed up camp and headed out. I have to say that the trail out (Big Sandy Trail) was much more scenic and enjoyable than the trail we took in. We had views of the massive peaks, walked along the Big Sandy River with some creek crossing and had meadows and portions of the trail filled with beautiful wildflowers.

Family pic

Toddler and Dad backpacking

Toddler hiking

Big Sandy River

Pug Backpacking

Pug finding shade

Toddler backpacking

Toddler crossing a creek.

acouple backpacking

Toddler helping dad photograph.

The total mileage was 7.4 miles making it the perfect backpacking route for J-Man. Other than the few short inclines the trail was just rolling and easy. It’s a perfect backpacking trip for beginners and families.

I can’t wait to go back and, hopefully, get into the Cirque of the Towers with J-Man.





  1. Fantastic. We did semi-backpacking with our tots in May, 17.5 miles at Point Reyes National Seashore in California. 1st day hiked in 5 miles to camp, 2nd did day hikes (7 miles) , 3rd hiked back out. My backpack was about 50 lbs and my husband 54 lbs. Ridiculous weight but fantastic time. Can’t wait until my kids can start getting more miles too 🙂

  2. Love that you are getting after it with your little man. Great pics, too. My husband and I also fumbled on packing food for a backpacking trip with the kids (in Maine). We both lost weight making sure the kids had enough!!! Here’s the story: http://maddogmom.com/2012/08/01/isle-au-haut-camping-maine/

  3. I love your hiking/camping trip. That is so awesome. I love that your little man was up for it and those two pugs are just so cute. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your adventure and these lovely photos. Do you ever worry about bears or wild animals? hahahaha… We do go for a hike on a trail and sometimes bushwhack and I do get excited and enjoy the hike, but I always worry about bears. LOL! It gives me headache thinking about it while hiking. I am so crazy! hahaha…

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