05 December 2010

Another Sunday, Another Hike

We've been hiking every Sunday all fall: The Mate, The Offspring, The Pet, and Yours Truly.

The Offspring has been learning about stamina, both physical and mental. We The Parents have wondered each weekend if it's the last hike of the season, before it gets too difficult to keep the little ones warm.

So far, though, as water and chocolate bars give way to thermoses of hot tea and hot cocoa, and sunglasses and t-shirts to layers upon layers, it's gone okay.

The Little Dog had to be carried out one week, but The Offspring is learning great stuff about stamina, both mental and physical, and discovering that the tough parts of the hike, where he has to be cajoled to continue, give way to great memories of views and scrambles and the great feeling of physical accomplishment at the end of the day.

Today he slipped and whacked his knee on a rock, bruising it fairly badly. It was hurting him quite a bit, even after a dose of Advil, and we gave him the choice: keep going and complete the planned loop, or turn back.

He thought about it for a while, and decided he needed to turn back. And then he limped out, often holding Dad's hand for help, occasionally piggy-backing with Mom.

At one point, I offered to carry him up one of the last inclines, and he said no, he'd walk, maybe I could carry him later when it was flat or downhill. So we got to a flat patch, and I picked him up, and he cried a little, and then when I got weary and had to put him down again, he soldiered on.

He's a trooper, that kid. And I admire him.