I grew up camping and hiking. Of course, I’ve learned in the 36 years I’ve been on this earth that those things mean different things to different people. To my Dad? Hiking meant starting at a trail head and not stopping until you reach your destination. Except…for the periodic snack break, depending on how long the hike was. And HE chose the speed/pace. Not you. Unless you were faster than him.
(I blame my tendency to speed-walk on this upbringing. It’s hard to keep up with a grown man when you are a small child. Before I started running I could actually walk faster than I jogged.)
And camping meant tents. Now, we didn’t pack out into the wilderness and set up our own campsite in the woods. We went to KOAs or state park campgrounds, but it was always in a tent. I didn’t always enjoy my Dad’s version of hiking and camping, especially when my friends were going to the beach and staying in condos. However, I do look back on it all very fondly. Even the parts with me sitting on rocks in the woods whining, “I DON’T WANNA WALK ANYMORE!!!!!!”
These hobbies are relatively inexpensive, especially when you compare it to a week-long trip to a condo at the beach. So, that’s what I did a lot with E when he was little too. Because I was poor. Whereas Nikki and Wes? Haven’t ever been hiking before. Because we can afford the periodic trip to the movie theatre. And when we want to play outside we tend to just go to the playground.
Ever since I got into trail running last year I’ve been wanting to bring the kids hiking. There are SO MANY places I love now and I wanted to show some to them. The last 15K I did took us through a cool part of the mountain I had never been on AND it was a short hike from the parking lot. This is it!, I thought, this is where I’ll bring the kids!
It’s called “Stone Cuts” and it’s this great set of huge rocks that the trail cuts right through. Perfect for climbing and exploring and possibly breaking bones. If you’re lucky! I wasn’t sure the best way to get there because the course I took was a bit round-about, so I found the Every Trail app (SO COOL) and pulled up the perfect course for us to use. Since my brother was in town this weekend I thought it would be the PERFECT time to take the kids hiking, so we took the trail and the phone and headed to the mountain! We used the app to guide us the whole way, we just didn’t take the small little off-trail jump he took.
Let me just tell you: MY DAD WOULD HAVE LOVED THAT APP!
We had SO MUCH FUN. Donnie’s Mom came too and we just took it easy and had fun and took tons of pictures. And guess what – the kid who I still carry a lot of times because he knows I will? Walked the entire way! He even used the compass periodically to tell us, “WE NEED TO BE GOING SIDEWAYS!”
HE LOVED IT. Nikki spent the entire hike talking my brother’s ear off, but she didn’t wear the best socks so she got sore spots on her ankles and had to be carried. (By my BROTHER, because Donnie and I were all like…SUCK IT UP, KID. YOU ARE TOO BIG TO BE CARRIED.) The kids LOVED the stone cuts. They loved climbing and exploring and crawling through the small parts the grown-ups couldn’t get into. It was GREAT. If you’re local? Go to that trail! It’s 2.5 miles round-trip. There are some tricky downhills and uphills, but the kids did fine as long as they were holding our hands.
All in all? A GREAT trip. Wes kept saying to his sister, “Less Talking! More Walking!” And he would run along the trails even when I was like, “STOP! YOU’RE GOING TO FALL OFF THE MOUNTAIN!” (I’m a bit of a panic freak.) (And I don’t really like heights.) It was such a joy to see him love being in the woods. He kept saying, “I like hiking, Mom. I’m killing it, aren’t I?”
Yes, son. You’re totally killing it.