Our little man rouses. He climbs over me into the middle of the bed, happiest between Mum and Dad. He stretches out his arms – one for each of us. “Big hug” he whispers in the dark. We nestle into his tiny arms and he gives us a morning bear cub squeeze. It’s become a heart warming daily ritual. “Light on” he says as he lets us go. We’ve learned there’s no point in fighting it. It’s time to get up.
I check the time. 6:29am. Not too bad. But it is Saturday morning. How times have changed. It’s been raining all night. A typical moist BC winter’s day. But we promised ourselves we’d hike this morning and at this early stage of 2016 we’re keen to start the year as we mean to go on.
So we hop out of bed. Shower. Breakfast. Find miniature hiking boots. And with that our little trio hits the road.
We’re half way there and the rain is setting in. Are we mad? Middle of winter, hiking with a toddler in the rain? Let’s just go home, we say. We pull off the road and turn around. But we immediately feel like we’re cheating ourselves. We’re not quitters, are we? Life is inevitably more challenging with our little man but surely the rain can’t stop us?
Isn’t our mantra – There’s no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing?
So we pull a defiant U turn and head east again. We arrive at Golden Ears Provincial Park and seem to have this giant wilderness to ourselves on a misty, wet Pacific Northwest morning. We’re on the edge of a metropolis but this place is seriously wild. Big and wild. Named after the prominent twin peaks commonly referred to as Golden Ears (Mt Blanshard) the park is over 500 square kilometers.
We find our trailhead at Gold Creek and layer up. Shoot, where’s his other little boot? Ah, found it. On the floor hiding under our ever expanding Schleich Dosi (translation: dinosaur) collection which we just couldn’t leave at home.
Vest, check. Red jacket, check. Tuke (best Canadian word ever), check. Rain pants, check. We’re good to go.
We start hiking and feel silly for contemplating ever turning back. This is FUN. And our little red man couldn’t care less about the rain. To him life is one big adventure.
He’s not burdened by labels, like rain is bad and sunshine is good. Rain is just…rain. He’s happiest outside – throwing rocks in the creek, collecting sticks and stomping in puddles. He’s ecstatic when he finds the last remaining snow on the ground, collecting handfuls in his mittens and giggling as he throws it at his fun loving Dad.
We hike along the creek to Alouette Lake and revel in the moody view. I love the mist hanging in the mountains. This wild place is stunning in any weather. To think there is almost no civilization between here and Alaska two thousand miles away blows my mind. And reassures me nature is very much alive in this part of the world. We’re lucky. I wonder where the closest bear is hibernating.
I’m grateful untouched places like this still exist for my son to experience.
My red men savor some father son time throwing stone after stone into the crystal clear water. This game will never get old.
We’re wet and content as we head back to the car. Our little man asks his Dad for a “big hug” which translates to “carry me”. He’s exhausted after his stone throwing. We have a snack and head home. Our little man falls asleep and Mr G. and I relish some rare quiet time.
We’re stoked we hiked in the rain. And got a little uncomfortable. All too often as we get older our comfort zones shrink. And having kids can be the ultimate excuse not to do things. But where’s the fun in that? And what example are we setting for our kids? So, rather than serving as an excuse, I promise to see my little man as the ultimate motivator to try new things.
To rediscover simple pleasures. And to find the child in me who loves jumping in puddles, roaring like a dinosaur across an empty lake and finding dragons hiding in the forest.