hiking used to be one of our favorite activities…now it’s just stressful. Ella seems to hate her hiking backpack carrier, and J becomes so irritable, all the enjoyment is sucked out of the activity for him…which in turn affects the rest of us, too. Not to mention, I had a hard time simply making the pace.
She seemed to be complacent as we began our ascent to Goat Peak (7,000 ft.)
near Mazama, WA, but every 20 minutes, J had to stop because Ella was yelling for me, or just squirmy and cranky. She seemed to be happier when she couldn’t see Peter or me, so he and I went on ahead. J is a faster hiker than Peter and I are, though, so he had to keep stopping to give us room and then catch up. Finally, we had to give up. Ella was so upset, and probably a bit chilly, that we had to turn back. She fell asleep on her trip down with J.
We do need to figure out 2 things:
- how to adjust our expectations so that we can enjoy not reaching the peak, or not completing a goal, but rather the process itself
- what we can do with a squirmy 9 month-old
Peter and I didn’t discover hiking until he was nearly four. He wouldn’t walk more than a couple blocks without asking to be carried, then one afternoon I took him to a local state park and he walked FOUR MILES without a peep of complaint. But, neither J nor I did any type of hiking or other intense outdoor activity when our other chldren were as young as Ella, so we don’t really have a baseline. Also, Ella is a very challenging child. In fact, she seems so “grown up” at times we forget she’s really just a baby…I mean, how many babies would put up with a 6 mile hike at altitude? We need to give her a break!
I think, for me, it also would have been more enjoyable if I wasn’t in such awful physical condition. I’m not going to start beating myself up here, but I really am looking forward to some good walking days here in town while Ella tolerates the stroller, because I want to get back in shape. I mentioned this to J and he reminded me that just because we weren’t at 12k feet, 6500 feet still causes some shortness of breath and difficulty moving so I should give myself a break, too.
Peter said that he was very happy to have put some climbing skills into practice, and reminded me that it’s okay that we didn’t reach the peak (even though we were almost there when we had to turn back because I just couldn’t go any further), the most important this was that we were happy.
No one was happier than Peter. I can only hope that in a couple years, both our youngest will be smiling after a long and wonderful hike.