We attended our second NH AMC family hike at Blue Job Mountain in Strafford. Isaac insisted we sign up for this trip immediately after our first hike with the group. A friend of ours from skiing, Kaitrin, was leading the Blue Job hike. Many of the kids we’d met last time showed up.
Kaitrin took sweep at the back with her toddler. Isaac ran ahead with the older kids. The kids waited at the first trail junction, then ran on. A tenth of a mile in, we stopped for our first bio break. Another tenth further and the kids climbed a boulder for a snack break.
On the ascent, the kids and adults up front wandered off the trail onto a side path. Kaitrin, who knew the route, was too far behind to correct them. I was busy picking blueberries and didn’t notice. Tyson, saw our mistake, and showed it to the others on the GPS. We turned around, joking about heading straight back to the cars. The littlest girl, maybe two years old, took our joke seriously and burst into tears. She was not ready for the hike to end.
We reached the summit around 10:30.
“Usually we get there around lunch time,” Isaac said.
He thought it was silly the hike was so short. We sat down for first lunch anyway, and the kids who were interested climbed the fire tower.
On the descent, Isaac was less chipper. Back at the cars, he didn’t ask to sign up for the next family hike.
I was surprised. I thought Isaac had enjoyed the hikes with kids. Maybe the littlest kids were too slow? The terrain too simple? There hadn’t been any rocks to scramble on. Maybe the other parents didn’t let their kids run as independent as we let him? We were the only parents comfortable letting our kid climb the fire tower on his own, and eating lunch up top.
To be honest, I haven’t settled into this group either. On an AMC ski trip, I would be coaching or trading exciting tales. But here, I have no particular skills hiking with kids, and any tale related to coaxing young kids outdoors seems dreadfully boring.
Afterwards, chatting with Kaitrin, I mentioned the latest book our family has been reading — “Up”. It’s about a mother and her six year old hiking the New Hampshire 4,000 footers. Kaitrin said she had met the author, but the book topic hadn’t interested her. I’ve been enjoying reading it. Isaac finds the book riveting.
The text is about a parent-child relationship set to the backdrop of a hiking quest. The young girl, Alex, is exceptionally enthusiastic about hiking. By contrast, Isaac isn’t. The author emphasizes letting your kid decide what adventures they want to do. So what does Isaac want?
I asked Isaac.
He said he likes hiking to swimming. I suggested Greeley Ponds, which he liked. And then sumitting Osceola above — he was adamantly opposed. “The view up looks good,” he said looking at pictures online. Isaac suggested we could try some more of the mountains “that older girl hiked” — meaning the 52 with a view. But what he really wants to do, isn’t hiking, it’s kayaking or rock climbing.