Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The boys had Monday off school. We needed to take advantage of having no school and no sports commitments, a real rarity! We needed what the boys and I call an "adventure day" where we go and do something fun and adventurous together. We usually go alone but this time my oldest son brought a friend.
We headed up to Big Basin, where we went last year for a camping trip. This time, we did the big Berry Creek Falls hike, a strenuous 11.5 hike through the redwood forest. A solid 5.75 hours of brisk hiking with few breaks.
No cell phone coverage, no people, no video games. Just the forest and lots and lots of snacks.
All the boys, even my 9 year old, were impressive hikers. A few times they patiently waited for me as I made my way up the steep long slopes, and most of the time I was bringing up the rear. My oldest even said, "Mom, you are a trouper!" Oh please.
We all enjoyed the hike for different reasons. I enjoyed the quiet of the forest, the beautiful scenery, the clean air, and the chance to chat or just listen to the conversation. The boys enjoyed the challenge and they love, even crave, being in the forest. I really do believe it is just good for boys to spend time in the relative wilderness. They felt responsible and independent, carrying what they needed, reading a trail map, estimating distances, helping each other when someone fell, peeing on a tree, spotting poison oak. I really got the feeling they could have done the hike without me, until my youngest fell and scraped up his leg exactly at the point where we were furthest from the ranger station. Then they were glad I was there with my first aid kit and LOTS of bandaids. It was my youngest who was in reality the trouper, finishing the hike without complaining until the very last quarter mile, when I was tired and sore myself.
But at the end of the hike, they were not too tired to climb the root structure of an enormous sequoia that fell more than thirty years ago. I had to force them back to the car so I could sit down.