Friendships that last generations

Laura, Erika, and Kate celebrated their friendship at the Fells.

The communities surrounding the Fells connect with the space in various ways, whether through hiking, biking, walking their dog, or even cross-country skiing. For Kate, Erika, and Laura, it was the development of their relationship not only with the Fells but also with each other through the weekly Babes in the Woods program.

Babes in the Woods is a family hiking program that began in 1999. The popular guided hike is open to families, caretakers, and their babies, and allows participants to explore the beautiful reservation while meeting other outdoor enthusiasts who are also young caregivers.

The group aims to foster a deep sense of connection to both the Fells, and fellow caregivers – where hikers can share parent experiences while they gain practical experience exploring the outdoors with knowledgeable guides to show the way. Erika, Laura, and Kate experienced this connection firsthand.

“As new moms, it was great to have each other to talk to,” said Kate. “I am so thankful for our continued friendships.”

“It certainly made being a new mom less isolating,” said Erika. “I loved how much you could tell the [group leaders] loved nature and sharing their knowledge on all things outdoors!”

After meeting on a Babes hike in 2019, the trio are still close friends to this day, as are their children. In August of 2022, the group celebrated their meeting at Babes in the Woods with an outdoor outing at the Fells and matching t-shirts.

Hikers often share that as new parents or caregivers, it is difficult to find opportunities to engage in adult conversations and interactions. Having a group where they can be around other adults with their babies provides much-needed connection. Participants find that having a weekly outdoor exercise activity keeps them motivated and allows them to build lasting friendships.

“It was such a gift to explore new parts of the Fells and not have to worry about where I was going and to feel safe with this group,” said Laura. “I was able to be present in nature with my baby and connect with new moms and the knowledgeable volunteers who ran the program … It was also great exercise. It was such a bright spot in my week. And of course, the lasting friendships.”

Want to join the program? Babes in the Woods is offered on Tuesday mornings from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM. Participants are encouraged to bring along snacks and drinks. Hikes are not accessible to strollers. Dogs are not permitted. Hikes are canceled only when it is raining or snowing hard, if there is a wind chill of 25 degrees or less or a heat index of 90 degrees or above. For more information, visit the Friends of the Fells calendar. Pre-registration is required.