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
This is so cool. I honestly didn't think I'd ever find a blog about kids that I'd enjoy - and I want this particular hike made into a movie. :D Brought tears into my eyes. :)
Beautiful pictures and great story!! Your son is so adorable. I bet he will remember that day forever. Thanks for being such a great dad...we need more of them in the world!
What a great hike you two had! Loved the pic of him peeing!
Boys really get excited when they learn they can pee outside...my son had a similar reaction...slightly different situation..but same big eyes and incredulous "REALLY?". He was four or five and we had just started a long late drive home, and of course five minutes down the road "I HAVE TO GO POTTY" from the back seat. Even after having just tried to go before we left. It was late, and dark...and we were in a neighborhood...found a dark corner near a fence and told him to pee and aim for the ditch....as a single mom - I never thought I would do that. But, I'm glad I did - and I will never forget the look on his face and the tone in his voice. I am pretty sure he thought mom had really lost it this time...But then, thought to myself...all these years of potty training and making sure we always ONLY go potty in the potty....probably was a bit shocking to him to be told otherwise. LOL
Loved it! I about died laughing when you actually posted a pic of his pee! LOL.
You are such an awesome dad :)
Just wanted to say that I found your blog through the marriage advice posts and that I thoroughly enjoy reading you! It's nice to get the guy's perspective on things. I plan on staying in the loop with your blog. :)
Have you taken him camping yet?! This post brought back such great memories of the first hikes with my boys--- BUT CAMPING... still my absolute favorite;)
I worked at a preschool once, and one day while we were all outside, one of the teachers, mortified, said "hey, who's that kid over there peeing against the wall?" omg...that was MY kid....me..the teacher, had a kid peeing against the wall in front of everyone. SO of course I had to take him home and we had to scold him about not being able to pee outside! Fast forward a week, and we are driving an hour up a steep windy hill into the mountains to go play in the snow. Jacob is only 3, and in the back in tears cause he has to PEE so bad he's gonna pee his pants....jason and i are like.,,"oh no, we just told him he can't pee outside!" so we had to explain to him that he could only pee outside when we tell him he can, and then we let him out before he filled up his carseat. We both laughed about it for days!
We've taken my 3 almost 4 year old hiking since I could walk again after birth. She rode initially and now she's quite the walker,. Next spring she's coming with us backpacking too.
Tips for hiking with preschoolers
-be prepared to go at their pace, enjoy seeing all the things you'd never have noticed
-lots of snacks - they're burning a lot of calories
-you can always promise a surprise, one always shows up.
Hee Hee-now my 3 year old grandson asks if he can pee in the Mcdonalds parking lot after my husband let him pee outside on our farm.
I wish my daughter would get excited about it and want to walk more than a few steps at a time. In her defense ... she does have some physical limitations to contend with. But ... still! I LOVE hiking and miss it very much! I love to see all your pictures of your hikes! Thanks for sharing! Also ... It isn't as easy for girls to just "pee anywhere". lol :) Adds a whole new challenge to trying to teach a kid to pee in the woods. hehehe
I'm ignoring the rest of the (fantabulously awesome) blog to say this.
Tis important. pay attention.
Noah is going to be PISSED (snark) about that picture. Just sayin'.
aww, sounds like a great day Dan! I'm really glad Noah enjoyed it so much! That's really cool that you let him suggest it, instead of dragging him along! I'm sure he'll appreciate that, and love hiking much more because he 'discovered it'! ;-)I'm rather jealous of all the amazing hikes you get to do!! Even though I live on the east coast of Australia, right next to lots of national parks and state forest, there are hardly any designated walking trails... It's either 4WD tracks or bush-bashing!
That was simply beautiful!! I love hiking and getting another 'convert' is always a bit of a high :) Way to go, getting your kid out in nature as soon as possible. He'll never be able to stay away now!
What a lovely perfect journey!
Heehee. It cracks me up how little dudes love to pee outside. Our boy, Z (almost three) sometimes says, "Mama, I have to pee. OUTside! Please." And you know what? Sometimes you just have to open the back door and say, "Go ahead. In the GRASS, please." Glad we have a very private yard no one can see. : )
I have been known to refer to my children as "Slowpoke OurLastName" As in....due to this lack of speed, as your mother, I rename you, SLOWPOKE!!! LOL Sometimes it's ok, like on your hike up, and other times there just isn't time to smell every rose or sit on every rock. :)
You know, I've always wanted to get my girls interested in my hobby, but didn't know how. That's a great idea what you did with showing pictures. I might try that! The story in pictures is super cute. Noah is a cutie!
What a wonderful gift you are giving your son....yourself. Nothing else is more important in his young life but you. I enjoy reading your blog, the fun you have with Noah, the life lessons you teach him. I look forward to reading more.
Since 2008, we have taken our daughters hiking whenever we go on vacation - 2008 it was Wales and we climbed Mt. Snowdon; the girls were 12 and 11. At various times each of us had a melt down. But at the summit, it was worth it! That was a total of 7 hours.
2010 - we drove east (we live in Ontario, Canada) and went to Newfoundland. There we AGAIN climbed a mountain - Gros Morne ... omg, that was the scariest thing we have ever done. If you Google up what the hike involves (almost vertical climbing on scree and boulders, not to mention attack of horrid blackflies) you'll understand. The girls being older and stronger were able to handle the hike better and again the view from the summit was breathtaking.
Next year, 2012, we are planning our family trip to British Columbia ... there will be hiking of various kinds but I put my foot down and said "No more mountains!".
Do you think they'll listen? ;)
Noah's the cutest little guy! Used to go hiking with my parents when we were younger and it's something I often think back to - you are making great memories for Noah to draw on in the future. And it seems like he's having a blast making those memories, too! :)
I am really wanting to take my oldest hiking. I just am not sure about how to take my 10 month old. I loved hearing about Noah's fun 3-year-old self, my son is 3 and 1/2 and I can totally relate!
I just discovered your blog on the anniversary edition and I was truly touched. Since then I have been reading both new and old. You give me hope that my husband can find that part of him again. He is going through a rough time right now and has forgotten how wonderful being a dad really is. I hope you blog will bring him back again. ^-^
I so enjoyed this post, Noah is just adorable! I try to catch your posts as often as I can. I often don't comment because there are usually 100s of comments!!!!! I love to hike myself, I don't have kids, just two grown step kids...I love the kind of father you are with Noah...these are moments that will last him a lifetime!
As a kid who was forced to go on a lot of hikes, I'm glad that you waited until Noah asked you to go hiking! My dad is a hardcore wilderness guy. When he was in college, he took a term off and hiked the entire Pacific Coast Trail--from Mexico to Canada! He was eager to share his passion for all things outdoors with me and my little brother, but sometimes it felt like a punishment.
I remember one particular hike, at Multnomah Falls (not too far outside of Portland Oregon). The hike up to the falls is only 2.2 miles, but you gain 700 feet of elevation through 13 switchbacks. This was exceptionally difficult for two little kids, so we took frequent rests. At some point I had a meltdown, and my dad calmed me down by telling me that there was ice cream at the top... there definitely wasn't any ice cream at the top, but there was a beautiful waterfall.
Looking back, I'm definitely grateful that I was able to see so much of the natural beauty that my home state has to offer. I only wish that I had enjoyed it a little more at the time!
We love to hike with our 2 kids in Scotland, UK. So much beautiful scenery within an hour's drive from home. We used to live in London and it's a world away from that. We took the eldest in the backpack when he was small, then when his sis came along, she got the backpack and he walked. They're now 9 and 6 and we go as many weekends as we can although not as often as I'd like with ice hockey weekend commitments. The best thing we did was discover a local family who were already friends but who are equally into it. It feels like proper family time, makes wonderful memories (and photos) the kids are thrilled to be out and about and with friends, the dads enjoy their time together and the mums are chuffed to see everyone happy and be getting some unofficial exercise into the bargain. I just don't understand what's not to like. My husband said when we moved to Scotland that there's no such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothes and he's so right. The dog gets walked too and we're all happy - and tired out at bedtime. Brilliant fun. The only thing I had to adjust when we started out was MY expectations. I had to recalibrate what selfish me wanted to achieve and went from "get to top of hill as fast as possible, eat lunch in beautiful spot and get back down before too long" to the quite different 'let kids wander happily, noticing all there is of interest, let them take countless photos, stop for snacks/drinks/wees as necessary and generally chivvy, encourage, coax and praise them to the top'. So worth it, though. The expression on their wee faces of the great achievement coupled with the view and the feeling of standing on top of the world. There's nothing quite like it - if you operate to THEIR agenda and don't hustle too hard.
I love how your pictures and comments tell the story of your awesome hike! So much fun! I love to take my son hiking as well, but will admit to staying in local places rather than going into the mountains by ourselves... I don't want to risk one of us getting hurt without having help! He loves it though. :)
Thanks for sharing, Dan! Great pictures, and I'm glad you guys had such a wonderful time together! :D
I LOVED this post!! I love that you shared your passion with him in such a way that he wanted to share your passion in return. I loved all the expressions on his face especially at the end when y'all were at the waterfall. I think it is awesome you gave him his very own camera too - kids have such a special way of seeing things. I especially love that you carved your names into that tree so you could always go back and remember your first hike together! You are an amazing dad Dan!! I admire your parenting style so much. I admit though, as cute and hysterical as that pee shot was, he is gonna hate you when he is a teen for that LOL. Save it for his wedding ;-p hahaha
Course it could be worse, my ex-husband worked construction around the time that my son was potty training, and he would go with the guys to pee out back - so I would catch him standing naked as a jaybird on the front porch or have him announce LOUDLY that he had to go pee in the grass when we were at Walmart or something. Oh those were the days, they grow way too fast.
I'll have to say I love the picture of him peeing. And the dinosaur story. Our son is a year old, and we're dying to get back out hiking and rock climbing. I like your strategy about showing your passion so that hopefully they will want to be involved as well. Thanks!
Great pictures! My 11 year old is an excellent hiker and just recently did 13 miles during Eco Week, the outdoor education trip that all 6th graders take. When she was little and just starting to hike, I would encourage her to keep walking by hiding easter eggs ahead of her on the trail. Now I have a one year old as well, and my oldest can't wait until she's old enough to hike, and she is already talking about the treasure hunt she'll make along the trail for her little sis. Hiking is such a wonderful family activity!
Love the quote... so many times as parents we want to make things easy for our kids, but what does that teach them about the real world? Better to give them the tools and guidance but let them do things on thier own. By the way, those pictures look like wonderful memories!!
Thanks Dan. I really needed something like this today. On Friday, my boyfriends best friend, Ted, past away.....He was only 32 and it's hitting everyone extra hard. Ted loved surfing, its something that he shared with Tim (my boyfriend), and I'm hoping that one day our son asks his dad to take him, and REALLY wants to go surf because he wants to, not because someone is making him. Thanks for the little spark of happy today.
Had to borrow this one! Love your quotes! Not the first I have borrowed, nor, I am sure, will it be the last.
This is absolutely adorable! My father, sister, boyfriend and I just hiked up Mount Washington a few weeks back... We didn't get NEARLY as many funny pictures! =D
Good job getting Noah psyched about hiking! It's a great past time!
If you get a chance, look up Geocaching... it could help break up some longer hikes. You use a GPS to find boxes hidden in the woods... take along a few toys to swap back and forth... kinda like a treasure hunt! There are also some that require taking pictures of yourself in places or answering questions about the area. It really helps promote observation and caring about the environment you are in. Some are REALLY easy.... some are pretty tough. There are star rankings to tell you how hard it is to find and how hard it is to get to... and there are hints if you can't find them. Give it a try sometime! :)
My husband is more of the hiker in my family and he's been wanting to take me and our older boy for a while, then we had a baby. So I'm thinking once the baby is a bit older we will find an easy one because our older boy would probably love it, but he complains about having to walk at farmers markets. I can't imagine him not complaining about a hike. Maybe we can find a way to make it his idea like you did with Noah?
Awesome post. I cannot believe how fast Noah is turning into a little boy rather than a toddler. He's beautiful and I am so happy to be allowed to be taken on your journey's with you!
It's our job as parents to piss our children off by sharing things that will embarass them endlessly when they get older! LOL
@AneesaJamal-Chubb Don't give up on the mountains!! They're probably the most beautiful in the world over here (tho, I AM a little biased). And, well, there's not much else to do over here but climb them! :D Enjoy!!!!!!