Hiking with Mom
Over Thanksgiving I took to the air and traveled back home to see family. I had planned on doing some hiking but figured I would be doing it on my own. It was a pleasant surprise when my Mom joined me for not one but two hikes over the long weekend. I didn’t exactly know what to expect hiking with Mom but it turned out to be something special.
The First Hike
I wasn’t sure how much of a hike Mom was looking to do so I picked out a hike at a nearby state park. With over 30 years of experience at being 39, Mom is still pretty active and loves walking around the neighborhood but hikes in the woods aren’t for everyone. The trail started paved and within the first 15 minutes we saw a family of deer. This could not have been a better start! Seeing deer is always one of the best parts of a hike. Not squirrels though, squirrels are evil.
We moved past the paved section and crossed a road where the trail continued on the other side. Now the hike got serious! Dirt path covered with leaves. The first time I heard Mom stub her toe on a bit on a root hidden by the leaves I began to worry. I thought this was it but Mom pushed on. The first small hill came next and Mom moved up it like a champ. Nothing was stopping her now.
It takes a bit of stubborn resolve to be a fat guy hiking the mountains of Colorado and up until this point I wasn’t sure where I got it from but septuagenarian next to me left no doubt. The trail had a few more ups and one big down. A 30+ grade descent down a hill. This was the exact opposite of what I was hoping to find. The hill had some steps built in. It was pretty steep and I led mom down as slow as I could. Of course the only one to lose footing was me, the seasoned professional. Mom had passed the first test.
Hike Number Two
Mom passed the first hike with flying colors so it was time to challenge her a bit on the second hike. The second hike was at another state park. This one had a nice lake we could walk around or, if we feeling a little crazy, a hill to climb! When we made it to decision time Mom, possibly filled with the bravado of the first hike, was all about the longer hike with a hill to climb!
The trail took us through the woods a bit and then we saw the hill. Mom seemed a bit concerned. She may have even protested a bit as we headed towards the hill. She may have protested a bit more when we started up the hill. And, she may have looked ahead and said she couldn’t do a section.
That is when I got to put the foot on the other shoe. I got to be the encouragement and to watch my mom succeed. The child had become the parent. Mom made it to the top of about a 450 foot hill. I’m not sure if it was sweat or a glow of pride I saw on her face but she definitely seemed ready (after a bit of a break) to finish conquering the hike.
One of my favorite exchanges was when I knew Mom really does read everything I write. While we were walking up the hill and Mom was needing some encouragement I pointed to the ridge and said “See, we only need to get right there”. Mom’s immediate response was, “What if it’s a false summit.” Yep, mom used one of my own excuses against me! All I could say was, “Mom, its a hill there isn’t even a real summit!”, and we moved up the hill.
When we returned from our hikes, Mom couldn’t stop talking about them. I could tell that she was very excited to have completed them and she really did do a great job. I was taken back to when I started hiking and the joy I felt in completing a hike no matter how big or small. The way the hills and woods can change someone is special.
The more I hike the more I find myself drifting away from that feeling at times. It is still there and the thoughts of completing something new still excites me but sometimes the smaller hikes are harder to get excited about. Seeing the joy and excitement in my Moms eyes after the hikes relit a candle in me. I imagine the pride she had when I took my first bike ride or tied my shoes for the first time were mirrored in the pride I had when she finished her first hikes.
It was like I was taking my first steps on a trail again. Oblivious of things like false summits and just ready to see what the world had hidden around the next curve.
More from the Fatman
If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy more of the posts on my Fatman’s Rambling page. Blogs such as “Hiking Alone not Lonely Hiking“, “Winslow, Arizona” and “Screw it, I’m Trying” as well as many others may interest you there. If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover, feel free to email me at email@example.com. Or you can keep the conversation going by following me on any of the below social media platforms.