Here I am working on organizing and uploading pictures to share when I come across our pictures from our First Hike of the year.
The snow was melting too quickly in our neighborhood so we drove out to place we knew would be beautiful because of the freshly falling snow… it was picture perfect. Except we ran into a couple of hiccups because we were not really prepared to walk a terrain that was suddenly a bit more challenging due to the snow.
It was interesting to see which kids thought I was joking when I suggested wearing thermals and boots. Which kids ignored me when I reminded them that while we were starting off on flat terrain not to over exert themselves because they would need to save some of their energy for the end. I wasn’t worried since we have hiked longer and more challenging terrain but I thought I was being wise. Anything can happen on a hike and this is the first time we were hiking in snow. Plus I didn’t want to deal with carrying crying children back to the safety of the car halfway through the hike…
Starting off on our little adventure!
Of course my motherly advice did not prevent them from flipping over logs, pelting each other with snowballs, and frolicking through the woods. Despite my warning their gloves did get wet. Disregarding the danger they slipped and they slid down icy paths.
Maybe I’m a big worry-rat because for the most part they handled it well. Even when we realized our hike was longer than we anticipated.
Except for Lil Man.
Who about one-third of the way into a 4 hour hike couldn’t figure out how to get traction and after 20 feet of sliding down a semi-steep decent, decided he didn’t care to figure this out. He laid on his back and wailed. Catching up with him I thought, I knew it! He broke something! Uggh!
Then a couple of German hikers came up the hill and offered some robust words of encouragement. Even though Lil man didn’t understand what they said but he decided that maybe shrieking wasn’t the answer, and became quiet. Which is when I realized it was worse than a broken ankle… his spirit was broken.
After the hikers went on their way we tried to show how he could walk down the hill to his advantage. It became apparent that their was nothing we could do but help him get to down to a place where it leveled off. Dear ole’ Dad came to the rescue and carried him to a place where he felt safe.
Several times on our hike he started to whine to remind every one of how truly miserable he was. Facing the very real possibly of carrying a child that was capable of walking on his own, I tried showing him how his situation was no different from anyone else. I even pointed out that like him I had worn shoes instead of boots. Little things like pointing out these similarities helped but it often resulted in explaining that we could hike back the way we came. It would be easier to finish our downward decent. He reluctantly agreed and always felt better when we leveled off again about fifty feet later. Although on occasion going back the way we came, is the solution that works.
We continued to enjoy our hike. Until we reached a different segment. We were now lower in elevation. The snow was melting and it left muddy leaves. Which was surprisingly a little harder to navigate.
If I thought Lil Man’s whining was over the top before, then I truly underestimated his ability to get under my skin now. As he resisted any attempts to console him, I struggled with losing my temper. I told the rest of the family to continue down the hill while we took a moment to chill. I groaned, “how do I help him get the confidence he needs when he is so afraid?“ Breathe in, Breathe out.
A moment later a light bulb went off in my head.
“Lil Man, I know the best way for us to get down!”
I had his full attention now.
“We are going to have a little fun! We are going to run as fast as we can! Ready. Set. Go!”
And off we went. Throwing caution to the wind. A little voice in the back of my mind was chiding me for my rash action. Warning me that this little jaunt down a hill where jagged rocks hid under a blanket of wet leaves would end in a broken ankle. But another voice said, “let’s go faster,” and we did.
When we caught up with everyone they wondered what had come over Lil Man. He was no longer afraid. He was having a blast. He was no longer afraid!
Finishing our Hike Strong!
The change in attitude made the last part of our hike enjoyable, even though it was an upward battle with tired muscles! Getting back to our car I thought about how I was glad we didn’t have any serious mishaps even though Lil Man thought it was the end of the world.
This little trip into the woods was a nice little reminder that sometimes we need help. Sometimes we need to be carried or someone who will hold our hand, and sometimes we need someone to help us have a little fun along the way.