I took a very important hike yesterday. When I got home from work, I greeted my son and four of our grandchildren. I knew that our daughter-in-law was not feeling well and the family was coming to our house for dinner. This is not an unusual event – we have the privilege of getting together a couple of times each week. I love it when they come over – we play Wii, watch Peep and the Big Wide World, enjoy some creative PlayDoh building, do puzzles, read some books, and engage in a variety of activities.
However, yesterday I was welcomed with a desire from my 5-year-old grandson to take a hike. That’s like saying “let’s go for a run” to a hound dog. If I had a tail it would have been wagging. I was excited enough to spin like my dog used to when she saw the leash. I was immediately ready to fulfill my grandfather responsibilities by taking the lad on a walk around the neighborhood.
My wife had fixed two small bags of M3 (Mimi’s Marvelous Mix) – her incredible trail mix, placed the bags and two small water bottles in a small backpack, and fitted the pack on my grandson’s back. We were out the door with “orders” to be back in time for dinner (45 minutes).
I had the best conversation with my little 5-year-old. We hiked his plan: “Let’s go down to the temple (a gazebo at the bottom of the hill) and have a snack; then let’s walk down to the creek and throw some rocks and sticks in the water; Oh… and we can eat some more snacks down at the water, then we’ll walk back to Mimi’s and have some pancakes.” The agenda was set and carried out without alteration I might add.
We talked about school and his amazing teacher… about Mimi and how he loves her so much… about his mom who wasn’t feeling good…. and about the pet shop that he owns and the job he has fixing cars and the substitute who fills in when he isn’t there (he has a great imagination). We talked about the snow and the people who were walking their dogs and how much bigger he was than me when he walked on top of the little wall leading to the stream. He shared about the snake that he saw in the creek last summer as we tried to skip rocks across the water. He was fascinated with the frozen ice along the creek bank and how he could step on it without it breaking. Of course his feet got wet and his shoes got muddy but what’s a hike without some adventure.
Walking home I realized that in 50 days I will be on the Appalachian Trail, hiking 10-12 hours a day, and experiencing the beauty and wonder of 14 states. On the other hand it is going to be pretty tough to beat this hike to the creek and back.