With Stephen and Avian, my 7 year old twins.
The pace was extremely leisurely; my main goal was to get them out for a hike without them thinking they were on a hike. We spent most of the way up the climb playing in the creek and little water holes, and I really didn’t think we would be out there for more than a couple miles.
They took me completely by surprise though, and were extremely determined to make it to Shirley Lake. I offered a couple of times to cut the hike short, as it was further than I expected and I had nearly run out of water, not even to the top yet, but they were very stubborn.
“We came here to swim, Mom, we’re not turning back until we swim in Shirley Lake”. You should have seen their faces when they discovered Shirley Lake was actually “Shirley Swamp”, as they refer to it now.
We hung out by the swampy pond while they got their energy back, when suddenly, the smoke rolled in THICK over the top of Granite Chief. The other hikers who were hanging out around the lake all immediately packed up and started heading down.
Being the worrywart that I am, I panicked, tried not to scare the kids, but told them that we should probably run as much as we could on the way down.
They were all about it, and we made it down in about ¼ the time it took to get up to that lake.This was fortunate as I was officially out of water by the time we got about ¾ down (great planning Mom). It turns out the smoke was from an existing fire, and Granite Chief Wilderness was NOT on fire, as I had been thinking on the run down.
This day was one of the highlights of my year as it was the first time my kids have ever wanted to go further than I did on a hike. And they loved running down it, saying they were “ultrarunners”.