This year’s first family hike…

5-02 The Notch

Matty and I both love the outdoors and have decided to make a concerted effort to make our kids like it too, before they have an option to think otherwise. Start them young – that’s what we’ve done. Emerson has been in some sort of a carrier, on our fronts or our backs, traipsing around the woods since she was a tiny infant, and both our kids were on weeks long camping trips before the age of one. Will these experiences worked towards our goal? We have yet to see the final result, but so far so good.

One twist in the last two summers, was that Emerson was not-so-politely pushed out of the above said carrier and made to walk herself. The first summer we experimented with this, she was almost three – and heavy – and I was pregnant – and therefore not willing to help carry the load. We brought along the backpack “just in case” which was a big mistake, and many of those hikes ended in tears. The next summer went better, but our hikes were far shorter and much less steep. This year is our one window to do some nice hiking before Ophelia gets too heavy to lug around, so off we go…

But now there is this other thing going on with Emerson. Every since she started preschool, she has become obsessed with “looking pretty.” Everything has to be flowery, and her hair has to be done just right, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen her wear pants, or shorts – it has to be a skort – and the accessories…. Where this child comes from I don’t know.

Emerson also has a propensity to be pretty negative about hiking at the beginning of a walk. She drags her feet for the first mile, complaining about how tired her legs are, and how she wants to go home. Blaaa… But she always gets herself together pretty quickly, and starts running ahead of us in no time.
And before we know it, we’re at the top, and fashion takes second place to utility.
We sat down, relaxed, had some snacks – including a yummy sourdough bread Matty made the day before. (Emerson carried the big rock she has in her lap up most of the trail, and has me carry it down in my backpack)
We checked out some butterflies,
found a friend,

tried to keep Ophelia from running off the side of the mountain,

and we were off. Emerson wanted to walk farther at that point, but after we had walked down the other side of the ridge for a little ways, Matt (who was carrying Ophelia at that point) made the executive decision to turn back.
Emerson may have worn a dress, and necklace, and an ugly plastic bracelet she got from the grab box at the dentist’s office, but when we got to the end of the trail, her cheeks were rosy, her hair was unkempt, and she had dirt all over her body.
I don’t know what the future holds for our girls, or who they will become, but I hope they’ll keep a little of this with them.

For now, we’re bribing them with ice cream.

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