My 4 year old is what I like to call a “Super Duper Hiker-Dude.”
With all the climbing that we are doing on this trip, there is a lot of hiking for us to do along with it. Some of the approaches to the crags are short and some are long. Some are flat and some are steep. Because we have two kids with us, we try to keep the approaches within their ability. The length and steepness are the two main factors that we have to consider. Indy can only hike for so far and my shoulders can only handle Fisher on them for so long
Whatever the approach may be, Indy (age 4) has done an amazing job at doing it all himself. With his “Lightning McQueen” snow boots, he will insist that he leads the way on the trail. Indy has been getting better at following or finding the trail. Sometime, however, we’ll find Indy trying to scramble over a big rock because he didn’t see the trial loop around the rock.
While at the City of Rocks, we desired to hike to a crag called Beef Jello. This crag is one of the farthest locations for climbing in the City of Rocks. On our last full day in the City, we departed from the Flaming Rock trailhead. Jennilyn had her big pack on her back with the rope, harnesses, climbing shoes, food/snack bag, and other stuff. I had the kid carrier backpack with Fisher strapped inside, along with all the cams, quickdraws, and water. Jennilyn and I would trade off on who had to sling the over-the-shoulder bag full of trains and train tracks around their shoulder. Indy was decked out with his winter boots (out of the 4 different options of footware, he insisted on his boots.), his mom’s trekking pole, and a pocket full of candy corn.
With Indy upfront, Jennilyn would play games or sing songs with him to keep up his spirit. Once he started hunching over and slowing down, Jennilyn would ask if he needed a “hiking treat.” Indy would turn around, with a sigh of relief, and say, “Yes…and a drink of water.” He would then dig his hand into his little pocket and grab two pieces of candy corn. Popping them into his mouth at the same time, we would then take a swig of water, like we was taking his pills. 30 seconds later, he straightens his back and motions for all of us to hit the trail again.
As much as I’d like to say that we actually made it all the way out to Beef Jello, we didn’t. It wasn’t because of the boys. It was because of me and Jennilyn. We were tired of being pack mules, so we went as far as the Tahitian Wall. But Indy hiked all the way in and all the way out all by himself. The hike in took 1.5 hours of straight hiking. He is such a champ.