Winter has skipped us this year. All of February, we have seen sunny warm weekends and little to no snow. It has made hiking a lot easier, but I fear the lack of precipitation will be troublesome come summer. We decided on another close by hike, Matthew Winters Park, and got out early to beat the crowds; bikers, hikers and the other enjoyers of the outside. The hike was a light grade with plenty of sunshine and pretty views.
AJ has been a great hiker and is always excited for “The weekend” and “We are going hiking!” On the trail he mostly scampers along with a happy tune and smile. We do have to get creative at times to motivate him, especially if he gets tired. The strategy we use most often is the promise of a snack upon successful hiking to a landmark. This does the trick and we motor along at an even pace. Other times we let him wander off the trail to explore a rock or an interesting plant. It gives us time to soak up the moment and feel the sun on our faces, while AJ gets to be a toddler. On this hike, I happened to have a golfball in my pocket and it was quite useful in motivating AJ to move along the trail. We played a game where we would roll the golfball up and down the trail and AJ would chase it. Simple and joyful. AJ loved the game so much we probably could have made it up a fourteener. Kidding, probably only a thirteener.
MJ has mostly been a sleeping sentence in these tales and that should continue for awhile, but he is making progress. He is on the verge of walking and you can see the eagerness in his eyes every time we are on the trail. I am excited to see him take a bigger role in our hikes and these summaries.
A slow transformation has been occurring for me on this adventure. My relationship with hiking is changing from the distance and destination hiker to the spiritual, enjoy the air and experience hiker. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoyed fresh air and the experience of being outside. It is just different once you have kids. Life is always so busy and overloaded that it is hard to even have a clear thought. Hiking is a break from the chaos and a chance to rejuvenate a little bit of your soul and mind. It’s almost as if through hiking you are walking toward clarity.