Things have been quiet here of late, and the simplest, least important reason for this is that by the standards set by the past 12 years we haven’t been doing much. But as will be explained later, that will slowly change.
Getting out with two kids, one one and one nearly four, does not happen easily. Outside winter, keeping a toddler content in the woods is not overly complex; when warm and well fed and walked enough they get plenty of amusement as a passenger, lacking the vocabulary or developmental cause to protest.
Keeping a 40 pound and fully sentient child content in the woods, one wrestling with his own increasingly layered independence, and for whom the world can easily be far too big too quickly, is intimidating. The gap between our world and his is, when he is still beyond words, taken for granted. It is too easy, amongst the many complex whys and weighty words repeated when overheard, to assume that his world is now, finally ours. Success for the big people and the biggest little person too easily collapses together. On a trip to the grocery store that keeps our personhoods apart. The stakes with a vacation are necessarily higher.
How far could Little Bear walk under his own power, how long would it take, and could we provide a route and destination he’d enjoy along the way, and most significantly keep consolidating a love for walking in the woods?
As it turns out the answers to the first two questions are 7 miles, and 6.5 hours, from Sylvan Lake to the Harney Peak Lookout (visible just left of center, above) and back. This is a superlative hike, with beautiful granite and pine/aspen forest, plenty of rock steps and boulders in the later third to entertain a little person, and a ridiculous climax at the CCC-built lookout.
It’s been a few years since I hiked my age, and more than a few since I’ve hiked double my age. That this hike went so well for everyone, and that LB said he didn’t want to go home, on the sixth and last day of our trip, was a needed boost for outdoor morale.
More miles this summer.
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