Exactly one year ago, my son and I embarked on our first hike up the to the summit of Pikes Peak. A 13+ mile hike to the summit, elevation 14,110 feet. The elevation gain on the hike is about 7,000 feet. That is a lot of steps for a 10 year old!
Although there were many times, especially in the beginning that the little guy was tiring out, he kept going with determination. I wondered if this was a little insane for a 10 year old boy to attempt, but he really wanted to do it. Throughout the hike we had the opportunity to talk and really spend 8 hours of good mom/son time. Many times he questioned if he was going to make it and how much farther it was to the top. It was so rewarding to see his amazement of his accomplishment at each stopping point to look down and see where we had come. I took the chance here to remind him that really life is just that; a constant lesson in learning where we have been and realizing that anything is possible if you decide you CAN do it.
As we got closer to the summit and could hear and see the people at the top, I could sense a huge amount of relief. At that point we were counting off steps–50 steps, stop and count to 20 and go on with the next 50 steps, etc.. There were some tears shed by my boy during that final mile; tears of frustration–it was a long mile!, tears of joy that it was almost over and tears of pure pride. He had some very blue lips and I didn’t want to freak him out about that so it wasn’t until we were safely back down to a reasonable range of oxygen that I told him he was blue!
As we got closer to the top, I was overcome with emotion that I was able to share this ‘first’ with my son and I know that it will be deeply embedded in each of our memories for life. We have committed to a tradition of making the trek to the summit yearly.
I tell him someday, he will be the one encouraging me and counting off steps in that final mile.