Judge John Hodgman on Wilderness Camping With a 9-Month-Old

Brian writes: My wife, Karen, and I are expecting. I want to bring our child to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a remote wilderness in Minnesota, where we go every year. Karen thinks that camping with a 9- to 12-month-old will be unenjoyable and dangerous. But how cool would it be for our child to be able to say they’ve been to the B.W.C.A. every year of their life?!

Not cool. Learn this: Your child will never let you define “cool” for them. Second: This isn’t a “child.” It’s a walking baby. We took our daughter on a road trip when she was 4 months old, and it was fun, but she was essentially immobile and only wanted to sleep and eat, not toddle away from us into a 1.1-million-acre maze of rivers and woods. Karen is right: Karen Jr. will not remember this trip, but you will be scarred by anxiety, exhaustion and (given B.W.C.A.’s “leave no trace” policy) soiled-diaper transportation trauma.

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