We are Maureen and Mat… and here’s our abbreviated story that brought this blog to life.
You remember those years before kids? Barely, right? Us too! Those were footloose and fancy free times. We’d pick up on a whim and ride bikes through the hills, near and far – or sling our camping gear over our shoulders and hike until our feet couldn’t take another step.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. That’s kinda how it went down for us (boring traditional heterosexual couple, I know). With two babies in three years, we weren’t surprised to see all of the ways that our lifestyle would shift. But spending time together outside was an essential part of who we were and we were motivated to find creative ways to keep the spirit of adventure alive.
And while we traded in our haul bags for diaper bags and sold our trusty camper van for a more sensible wagon, we still managed to get baby Sage to Yosemite (er, a hotel in Yosemite) at the ripe age of 8 days old. We fumbled through sleepless nights and long days learning to carry, change and nurse a newborn surrounded by the beauty of the Valley’s granite walls (take that, postpartum depression). We also dipped his toes in a fresh mountain spring. And swam in the river while he napped in his car seat. And attended a wedding (yes, there was a reason for this untimely trip). Three years later when Devin joined our family, he too got launched into the mountains, deserts and coastlines early (in a tent, this time) and we’d like to believe that we fumbled a little less.
For us it made sense to get outside when our kids were babies – even when we barely made it out of the campground. And as our kids have moved from helplessly adorable noodles to staggering toddlers to confident and active kids, our paths have become longer, steeper and rockier.
So after countless friends have come to us for camping advice, we decided to share some of our best adventures to share with you. We know that no two families are alike and our kids are all so different – so this is no means a guarantee that any of this will work for your family (and we’ll openly share with you things that we tried that completely flopped for us). But we do hope that you find some tips, tricks and trips that inspire you to get outside and explore.
What are you waiting for?
Lace up your shoes, pack your bag and GET OUTSIDE.
Maureen is a first generation French-American and has always been lucky enough to call California her home (thus explaining why so many of our adventures involve France and the west coast of the US). While she didn’t grow up camping, she was raised wandering the rolling hills of her grandmother’s cattle ranch in the Sierra foothills and hiking around the Los Angeles National Forest with her parents. Maureen is a planner and organizer – so all that tedious pre-trip work is part of the joy for her. She loves dreaming up crazy trip ideas (95% of which never happen) and collaborating with more-practical Mat to turn some of them into reality. For her, time spent in nature is about slowing down, noticing new things and deepening her connection to earth and her most beloved people. It’s also about stepping into the wilder side of life and remembering that we have the skills and strength to maneuver through sticky and uncomfortable situations. At home, she’s a mama who packs school lunches in the morning, teaches yoga classes during the day and folds laundry before falling asleep at night.
Mat is a Texas-born, New Jersey and Kentucky-raised, California transplant-cum-local. He’s a lifelong competitive athlete – from kid’s Little League to collegiate bike racing to long distance trail running. He’s driven, detail and goal oriented, loves a good challenge and dorks out on gear and all things technical. If Maureen is the dreamer in the relationship, Mat is the pragmatist who knows how to turn a good idea into something workable. Some friends call him “scrappy” and he is. It’s not always pretty, but he gets the job done. He’s typically the one who’s out re-staking the tent in the middle of a nasty storm, scrubbing the burnt layers off the bottom of the cast-iron or dealing with that unfortunate “accident” in a pair of kids’ pants. When he’s not telling an epic story around a campfire or running insanely long distances through the mountains, he devotes his days to making science come alive for teenagers.