I didn't realize how long its been since we've hiked. A long time. This little, kid friendly trial is one I did several times a year with mom friends and toddlers when Juni and Wylie were small. Then Kale happened. We did a bit of hiking his first summer, but not much. Managing two young children along rocky cliffs while juggling a nursing, fussing infant seemed a bit too much, ya know? So we took a few years off. Not entirely intentionally, it just happened. But yesterday when our plans for the day changed last minute, twice, in less than an hour, we found ourselves plan-less on a beautiful, breezy, warm June day. So, we hiked. It was un-eventful, minus Kale's falling flat on his face less than 20 feet from the car. I peeled him off the ground, and did my best to brush the dirt from his mouth and eyes, ignoring the swelling lump under his bangs. I was really hoping the tears wouldn't start, and that this would not be a terrible beginning to what I hoped to be a lovely introduction to hiking. Fortunately, he spit out the dirt and trudged on.
Kale rockin' the rock. This picture is totally what it looks like, "oh yeah, I'm on a rock, oh yeah". This boy is so full of himself these days (as is just about right for 3.5) and all punk.
Junebug rocked her own style yesterday, hiking in her kameez (traditional Indian shirt), striped leggings and railroad cap. Oh, and don't forget the bindi. Is this the same girl who would only where princess clothes two years ago? Yes, and the same girl who just spent the last hour parading about the house in a floral gown, sipping seltzer from a wine glass, discussion the virtues of elegance, and how it feels to feel what you look like, without looking at yourself. "I don't have to look in a mirror, because I can feel that I'm elegant. But then when I look in the mirror I don't really look as elegant as I feel. My dress should be fancier. But that's ok" Damn straight girl. As long as you like how you feel, you're good.
She's a smart one.
Here's how Kale spent every few hundred feet of our hike up.
This is the backpack I used throughout high school and college. It hiked Mt. Washington, as well as many of the lower White Mt. Presidentials. Not to mention a trip to India. Wylie and Juni have their own kid sized packs that they wear most of the time for hiking or day trips. I'm kind of a stickler about kids sized packs for kids, but it was super sweet to see my big boy in my pack. Really, its not that big on him anymore.
Hiking with a nine year old boy (at least the one we know best) is a bit of a chore.
There was a lot of complaining at the start, not about the hike, but about its lack of
"hike-ness" as in, "this is practically a road, we could probably just drive right up it... Oh, I may have to use my hands soon to get over these ginormous rocks." The child is practically dripping with sarcasm these days. Its really not as funny as it sounds.
Fortunately, a few minutes in he warmed up, and dropped the attitude. That's when the talking began. Non-stop, play by play (imaginary play by play) descriptions of what a video of pretend people falling from pretend rocks, or other various pretend calamities would look if he made it, and posted it on YouTube. There was no conversation happening, just a running stream of conscience that, unless you happen to be another 9 year old boy, is interesting for about 2 minutes. After that its annoying. At first I did my best to participate in the one way conversation: "What is it that is so interesting to you about things falling and smashing? Would that really be funny to watch? What if someone thought it was a real person? what if it was a real person who fell of the rock?" "What if I fell off the rock, what would you do?"
It ended up being a pretty good discussion of first aide skills--of which he had more knowledge than I knew, and the realization that if I did fall off a rock (or bump my head hard, or cut my arm with uncontrollable bleeding) that I'd be in pretty good hands with my kids. Of course it would be best to be on a heavily traveled path, with a working cell phone. Or, a trail with good helicopter visibility.
We summit-ed in less than 45 minutes. A good intro hike. And a view worth hiking much longer for.
The kids played on the rocks and we climbed the tower at the top, 3 times.
Juniper drew in her nature journal, and they all played a game about homeless children living in the mountains. We ate salty nuts and granola bars. Then we headed down.
Juniper got mud in her shoe and hiked the whole trail down barefoot.
Kale rode in the baby carrier he used all through infancy. He hasn't been in it in more than a year.
That was pretty sweet. And heavy.
That was pretty sweet. And heavy.