My youngest son is becoming a hiker. He is finally to an age where he can comfortably keep up and enjoy himself at the same time. I wasn’t sure we would get to this place looking back a short time ago.
He has always enjoyed being outside and doing new things but didn’t have the attention span to go that far.
In September, we tried to do a longer hike with him and … success! It was a great time. We went to an old cabin on the Devil’s Canyon Trail. It was a big deal for him because it was his last hike as a 9-year-old. Going out was great and we made it to the cabin and had lunch. He was able to sign the guest book noting that this was his last hike as a nine year old. Hiking back to the car was a little slower and we had to stop a little more, but he did great. Toward the end you could see that he was done with this and so I turned on music on my phone and we walked and danced silly to the car.
His next big hike was this past weekend. We hiked up Mount Garfield. Growing up here, you take Mount Garfield for granted. It is somewhere you pass when you leave the valley and not much more.
In middle school, we had to hike up Mount Garfield as a field trip. Being that middle school age, I just remember it was long and hot.
But over the years, my thoughts on that hike have changed. I wanted to do this again to be able to say I conquered this steep hike, and Jack was on board to do it.
We started out at the parking lot off the highway and it is a little intimidating to see where you are going. There are a couple of different routes you can go up and the most popular is straight up to the top. It is about 2 miles and you gain 2,000 feet. It is quite steep and I didn’t know if I could go up that without worrying myself to death about bringing my child up that.
We took a different route and went up the Gearhart Mine trail. It is still steep but has more switchbacks in it so in my eyes it was not as scary. Jack did amazing and plugged along up the hill. We would periodically stop to look at rocks and how small the cars going by were becoming. It is about 1 ¾ mile to the top and then you get to do the most amazing thing. There is a little hidden slot in the rocks that leads you to a shelf that overlooks the valley. It was the thing that I most remember about this hike as a kid. You would squeeze through this slot and come out on a ledge that you would never know was there otherwise. The only way to get to it is to go through the slot and that makes it a memorable experience.
To sit on this wide ledge surrounded by rock walls and look out over the valley is something everyone should experience. It just puts in perspective how amazing it is to live here and how glad I am that I grew up here.
I am so pleased that Jack is getting to experience this with us now and enjoy it. I hope one day he will be able to take his family to these places and fondly look back at these experiences.
Kristi Davis is a Fruita mom who is married with two sons. Read her Wednesdays on FruitaMoms.com.