Jack Hears a Who! Family hiking on Horton Creek

Regular readers of this blog will know that we tend to favor hard trips, with lots of elevation, or big mileage. They also know that I have the most adorable son in the world. Don’t believe me? Read this too. Still don’t believe me? LOOK AT THIS FACE:

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Game. Set. Mach. Baby Jack is the cutest baby in the world.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, lets talk about last weekend. A few months after a nasty knee injury, I’ve become insufferable from being cooped up in the house. In her wife-ly wisdom Angie saw this as the perfect chance to get me on a family friendly hike. Much map-studying later, we picked out the perfect hike: Horton Creek.


As with every family extravaganza, we started by cramming Baby Jack, the dogs, and EVERY SINGLE OTHER THING IN OUR HOUSE into the back of the Mighty Forester. I am not an ultra-light hiker. In fact, I’m basically opposed to the concept. That being said, loading up the baby stuff pushed my limits. Diapers. Wipes. Onesies. Back-up onesies. Jackets for Jack. Jackets for me. First aid kit. Sunscreen. Baby sunscreen. Things go out of control quickly. Luckily we had our Osprey Poco Premium child carrier.

One day I will write an actual review of this pack, but SPOILER ALERT: it is great. Capital G great. Pockets everywhere. Detachable daypack. Pop-out shade structure. Hydration compatible. Size adjustable for mom, dad, and the kiddo. Absurdly expensive, yes, (about the cost of a good internal frame pack, which it is) but, if you plan on hiking with your family a lot, worth every penny. Hell, you have to spend that REI dividend on something. 

But onto the hike!

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At the parking lot, Baby Jack was happy.

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But soon, Baby Jack found himself in the belly of the beast…

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…and this made him sad.

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Then, we came to our first real challenge of the day– a stream crossing I had conveniently “forgotten” to tell Angie about. Immediately upon seeing the crossing Angie shot me a MOMMA-BEAR-GONNA-EAT-YOU-IF-YOU-HURT-MY-BABY look. I decided it would be best to cross the stream before she could protest.

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Angie followed right behind. The dogs, however, took a little convincing.

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Now on the trail Baby Jack realized the pack was actually awesome.

And we were off!

After a few miles of Baby Jack playing with my hat while I was trying to walk, we found ourselves near the headwaters and decided it was time for lunch. The result was unbearably cute.

Like I said: CUTEST BABY.

On the hike back I found myself pondering an amazing, multi-week canyoneering/pack-rafting trip that would run the watershed from here at the headwaters, through Hell’s Gate, past Lake Roosevelt, and down the Salt River to Phoenix. Baby Jack was bored by such ideas and napped instead.

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Back at the car, our Junior Assistant Hiking Partner was as happy as can be…

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…which made me happy too.


My wonderful wife, Angie, took many of the pictures for this post. If you like Lesser Places I recommend checking her blog, The Nerdy Wilsons, where she writes about our family, parenting, and how I’m not as cool as this blog makes me out to be.


Disclaimer: This post, and all posts on LesserPlaces, may contain affiliate links– links that allow me to receive a small kickback at no additional cost to you when you shop through them. This is how we keep the lights on. 



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Max Wilson is a graduate student studying ecology at Arizona State University. He write here at Lesser Places, occasionally for Backpacker.com, and even more occasionally for scientific journals. You can follow him on twitter @maxomillions.

8 thoughts on “Jack Hears a Who! Family hiking on Horton Creek

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