I wonder which books parents read about bringing their kids on a hike in the middle of the summer. I would assume is a school of education along the lines of making your children strong and making them love nature from the inside, but the whole setup or whatever the setup it is wonders me.
While hiking in Yosemite I’ve crossed not just couples as you would expect, but full families and especially parents with two or three kids. From the ones that would be carrying them while they are so little that they would be sleeping with a pacifier at the mother or father’s back support, to a wide range of ages. I would agree that when kids are at the explorer age, being in the middle of the forest is an incredible playground, we’ve all been there, turning pieces of wood into tools and sticks and playing hide and seek, I bet everyone, has a little boy/girl scout inside at some point. So I give you that, there is an age when your children will be even more excited than you about being in the forest and free.
What brings me questions is whether at a smaller age, and I cannot help providing which, your priorities can be others, and I reckon most of the groups I’ve crossed were in that bracket. The conversations between parents and kids were, to say the least moving. You got the motivated father figuring the map out loud and preparing the kids for the 3hrs hike throwing some miles out there and sweetening the number with a “hey guys that’s what we all signed for, remember?”, In which case it looked for the kid's attitude that probably only the parents did sign for it at the time.
But that was just the beginning, so the mystery of what was coming and the curiosity and excitement of the upcoming challenge eases the decision. In the middle of the hike and having walked uphill for a while, you get a different kind of reaction, along the lines of “I want to be back to the car”, “I’m hungry”, “I want to stop”, “no! I don’t want to move..”. To counteract those, there is a waterfall of parental responses, tricks, and hopes, they would say “come on sweetie, we are almost there”, “just 5 more minutes and we get to the amazing spot” and so on. The veracity of those statements is vague, but when there is fire, what else can you do? I remember that proud father recording the hike with his kid and narrating the moment and asking the kid about how was the hike going when the poor kid just breaks into tears saying “I don’t want to walk anymore”.
Anyways, I’m not trying to be judgemental about a situation that I don’t even know firsthand, but crossing all those “mountain” families these days, generated that curiosity in my mind. Planning a holiday with the whole crew in those ages must be difficult, and a family trip bonds and is a beautiful thing, being in nature is amazing moreover, because we all, as humans need to be close to it, and if anything, the national parks in the US are real wonders but are the parents lying to themselves believing that the kids would love the same trip that they would love as a couple?, is it as I initially posted a necessary educational phase in life, about overcoming fears and limitations to be able, later in life, to achieve anything? Or is it just that adults' and kids' brains don’t happen to have the same commitment to a taken decision?
Whatever it is, these thoughts kept me busy on my hike, and one thing is true, I would just recommend hitting the trails on the cooler days, and maybe those same kids will wait for you at the top of the hill.