I think one of the greatest moments in any dad’s life is when his child is finally old enough to start sharing and participating in some of the same hobbies and passions. Sure, to this point we’ve shared a little of that. We both love ice cream. We both love chasing each other around the house pretending to be monsters. We both love screaming each other’s secrets out the car window for the entire world to hear. But a real hobby, a real interest, a real passion… we just shared our first.
And it was AWESOME!
Every time I’ve gone hiking somewhere this year, I’ve sat down with Noah afterward and scrolled through the pictures on the computer, showing him all the neat things I’ve been able to see, telling him funny stories that happened on the trail, in general trying to get him stoked about doing it with me someday soon. I mean… I knew I had to start preparing him now because sometimes even the two block walk to Nana’s is “so long” and “forever away.”
And, sure enough, a few weeks ago he popped the big question. “Dad, can I go hiking with you?”
For some reason I wanted it to be his idea. I wanted it to be something he wanted to do with me. I didn’t want to be the dad who loves something and tries to force that on my son. Instead, I just made it a constant point to share my passion for it, and when he expressed interest I nearly jumped through the top of my shirt with excitement.
I’d heard that a hike nearby was *just* the hike for little kids. Easy. Short. Incredible waterfall at the end. So, one Monday morning, Noah and I loaded up my hiking pack with snacks and survival equipment and hit the road.
I didn’t know how he’d do. It was a two-mile hike each way, and I’ve never had him walk that far before. Not even close. I told him over and over in the days, hours, and minutes preceding that it would be a lot of walking, and if he wants to be a hiker like dad, he’s gonna have to walk the whole way! He told me over and over in the days, hours, and minutes preceding that he could definitely handle it. Then he’d give me this look like, Dad, what do you think I am? Some three-year old or something?
The hike was incredible. Noah walked the entire two miles in. And, as it turned out, this hike was not as simple as it should have been, especially the last half mile which was very steep and somewhat treacherous. Apparently there was a *different* way to get to these falls that is a lot easier, so if you’re going to Stewart Falls, find that way.
Anyway, here are the pics from the hike, mostly from me with a few from Noah mixed in!
And the best part of the whole thing was two days later when Noah asked me, “Dad, when can we go hiking again?”
Now, you may be wondering… what about the hike back? No pictures? No nothin’?
Sorry… no nothin’.
At the falls I realized we only had an hour before the party started, and damn it, I hate being late. So I loaded my camera into my backpack, walked with Noah up the steepest part to go back, then put him on my shoulder and jogged the entire last mile and a half back to the car. There was no time for pictures!
Everybody at the party got a nice whiff of sweaty Dan though. And get this… we were only 15 minutes late.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. Sorry about the title. I just loved the picture I caught of his face when he asked it!
Would love your comments. Do you hike with your kids? Do they tend to take their time or are they good at hustling along? What was your favorite picture in the bunch?
SDL’s Quote of the Day “If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” ~Abigail Van Buren