We needed to challenge ourselves. To know for certain that we aren’t losing our edge and prove that we can still go the distance.
The trail was chosen: an 8.5 mile hike to Hell’s Hole. We were feeling pretty hardcore when we arrived at the trail head. We donned our sunglasses with swagger, strapped those child carriers to our backs without flinching, and set off with our peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Oh, we looked baaaad.
Until we hit mile .75 and the boy had a meltdown and an old man with trekking poles breezed right on past us. But we would not be deterred. We let Cooper climb into the pack on Noel’s back and we were off once more, feeling tougher than ever.
You might imagine that hiking with kids in packs is similar to going backpacking, something we did a few times pre-kids and loved. However, backpacks have the distinct advantage of not leaning to one side or kicking you or pulling your hair or crying for that matter. When we finally staggered into the beautiful hidden valley Noel announced, “I think I know why this is called Hell’s Hole. Whoever named it, must have come here with their kids.”
Still, we enjoyed the beautiful vista as we ate our sandwiches and the homemade Oreos that we’d promised ourselves we could only eat at the top. We grumbled as our packs again made contact with our sore shoulders, but cut our whining short as fellow hikers neared us. “Wow, you guys came all the way up here with your kids? Impressive.” We stood taller and exchanged pleasantries. Then quickly headed downhill before any whining resumed.
And it did resume, with nearly everyone taking their turn. Everyone was pretty dead tired by the time we reached the car.
In the old days, this hike wouldn’t have wiped us out so much, but that’s just because we were soft back then and just weren’t able to push our limits the same way we can now. Or at least that’s what we’re telling ourselves.