Thursday, June 30, 2011

Annabelle's First Time to the Summit

On a gorgeous winter day this year, January 29, I experienced a sublime proud-Dad moment: Annabelle and I summitted Camelback together. I'd been dreaming of that moment since Annabelle was born almost ten years ago, and then, sniffle, sniffle, there it was.

When kids get older, parents see fewer and fewer of those precious, significant "firsts." Being with Annabelle at the top of my favorite hill and seeing how excited she was to do it was just as awesome as watching her ride a bike without training wheels for the first time. It's certainly a day I'll never forget, and, hopefully, it's also a major milestone in her life in terms of her self-esteem. We passed several people who were struggling, and that made her feel like Superwoman.

"Daddy, those people are adults," she whispered to me as we advanced past a few twenty-somethings. She could hardly believe she was doing something so seemingly advanced. True, I've seen people as young as four make the summit, but I've noticed a pretty large range of physical strength and ability among children. Annabelle did it when she was ready, without a lot of pushing from me. We'd been hiking on the mountain several times before, and before the summit day, she'd actually asked me if we could go for it that weekend. Some of that was just trying to please me (oh, please, let her never grow out of that!) but she genuinely wanted to reach the top.

We've been hiking "A" Mountain regularly this year, and I'm quite sure we'll do Camelback again soon -- when it cools off. I'll be back out there this weekend, on a day when it's supposed to top out at 117. It was deathly hot last Saturday, worse than the previous week with the fellows, but I started that day at 11 a.m.. This weekend I'll start earlier. I don't want Annabelle to do it when it's this hot. Not only is safety a factor, but she might associate the hike with the heat, which could be a negative incentive. Kids, my kids anyway, don't really understand the concept of "no pain, no gain" or the little aphorism I thought up, "the more miserable, the more memorable."

I still don't know if my youngest, who has Down Syndrome, will ever see the summit. I hope so. She's become a decent little hiker on all sorts of terrain. It's one of my goals to get her up there someday, but it has to be one of hers, too. We'll see.

Here are a couple of shots of the kid from a different trip last year:

Just for the halibut, I'm also including here a "pyramid shadow" picture I took that's sort of like the one I ripped off another Web site for a previous post. I took this a few months ago, not on the hike with Annabelle.

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