|8 Year Old "Hiking Queen"|
We love hiking in the woods and we do it quite often, but our typical hike is usually somewhere between 3 and 5 miles. Once we started having kids it got a little trickier, but we got those backpack carriers. We would let the kids walk until they got tired and then we would carry them the rest of the day (I always considered it an extra workout). Once we had our third child, we started "rotating" them through the carriers, but from the point my youngest could walk it was clear she loved to hike. By the time she was 3 she stopped riding in the carrier even as her older sisters would beg for rides.
As they have gotten older we've pushed farther and farther each year. In 2013 we completed 5 miles and last year we completed a 6 mile hike. Yesterday we decided to push the limit a little further. We chose a 6.5 mile hike. It was mostly level through woods and fields so we figured we had it covered. As usual my oldest moaned about the distance but my youngest was clearly thrilled.
The one thing I didn't anticipate in this adventure was the horrible trail markings at the park we went to. After 5 miles I was starting to question the decision. My knees hurt and my two oldest were starting to get on my nerves. My youngest still had plenty of pep in her step and was still running up hills (like in the picture above) to show that she is the hiking queen.
By the time we hit mile #6 I knew something was wrong. Somewhere we missed a turn and we suspected that we were on the wrong trail. If you've ever been in this situation, it can be tough; do you push forward until you can confirm you are on the wrong trail, or do you head back hoping to find something to put you on the right path? I was pretty sure I knew where we went wrong but it was a mile back to confirm; we decided to turn back. That turned out to be the right decision and we were able to find our way back onto the path.
By the time we got back to the car it was 5PM and we had walked 8.75 miles! I was completely exhausted, there was nothing left in the tank. My 12 year old dog looked like she could fall over at any minute. The hiking queen showed no signs of slowing down and could have probably walked for another hour.
So we set a new family record for hiking yesterday; 8.75 miles. That in itself was a pretty darn big accomplishment, but to me the real acknowledgement goes to my hiking queen. My phone said that I walked 19,000 steps. My youngest is 8 years old and takes 2 steps for every one of mine. She hiked 8.75 miles or 38,000 steps and never once complained. To me that's one incredible achievement for an 8 year old. She inspires me to lose more weight so we can hike even farther some day. I'd like to see just how far she could go. Is there someone like that who inspires you?