I thought I was setting the example

Mt. Washington, 2007

Mt. Washington, 2011

Five years ago, the boy and I spent a few July days and nights at Dolly Copp campground. Our “hike” that weekend took us .7 miles in to Thompson Falls. The 200-foot elevation gain had me gasping for breath; I could barely make it back up the stairs from a side trip to Glen Ellis Falls later that afternoon. The next day, we took a tour van up Mt. Washington, stopping to pose for the traditional summit picture. Hiking the mountain was out of the question; at 39, it had been added to the list of things this former runner and hiker would never do.

I kept flashing back to that day last Saturday as Luke and I stood atop the tallest peak in the Northeast, sweating and only mildly tired after making our way up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, with a short detour to Mt. Monroe.

Not to get all Harry Chapin/Cat’s in the Cradle here, but I’m glad we hiked Washington when we did. The boy graduates high school next year, so who knows what the summer of 2012 will bring.

We started camping and climbing five years ago because my son wanted to; we tried successively longer and more difficult hikes because he wanted to challenge himself and see more of the natural world. Through it all, I thought I was teaching him. Five years later, standing on the summit of Mt. Washington, I realized the had been setting the example for me all along.

I’m running again. My hikes are longer and higher (I can walk to Thompson Falls without supplemental oxygen). At 44, after about 20 years, I have an active life again.

It wouldn’t have happened without the boy.

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7 Responses to I thought I was setting the example

  1. pegleeco says:

    looking at the photo,I see that you have worn off not only some dirt and granite from the trails. WOW!! The life lessons that go along with your hiking excursions are what the boy-man will tearsure.

  2. Hendrik says:

    Wonderful story, Dave – and congratulations!

  3. Gareth says:

    Beautiful post, story and all round feel good smile on my face kinda writing. Long may your journeys and learning together continue.

  4. Ben says:

    Great work Dave, you truly are an inspiration!

  5. Got to enjoy all of life’s lessons no matter who, how, or where they come from. Congrats to you Dave and great job to the young man of the mountains.

  6. A Google search led me to your blog. I’m inspired by your story as I’m in the place you were five years ago. I’m not active and out of shape though I used to be a very active hiker in my past. I’ve just started my journey to get back to hiking and look forward to the adventure to come. Thanks for posting about your journey.

  7. Meta says:

    I just recently found your blog. You and your boy are an inspiration.

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