We went to the Gateway Access Center grand opening today and WOW was it crowded. The parking lot holds 200 cars and it was full by 7:45 am. This place is going to be packed once the word gets out and the weather is cooperative. So much for quiet hikes in this area!!
We walked around the exhibits and the 3D topo map of the McDowells was the highlight. There's FINALLY a map of all the trails now - no need to rely on my pitiful handmade ones anymore. I will add/rewrite parts of Bell Pass, Gateway, Windgate-Bell, and Paradise write ups and directions now that the Gateway Access Center is where most people will start these hikes.
After walking the stroller-friendly interpretive trail (will open 9--09), we switched over to baby on body mode of transportation and hit the Gateway Loop trail. Caroline slept the entire hike except for about 10 minutes
I'm so proud of her!! She likes the ERGO baby carrier, but I'm sure I'll switch over to the Kelty when she gets heavier. This was the first hike for the three of us that was a real hike and completed start to finish. The distance and AEG was perfect for this time of year and heat/sun.