I think I learned a few things yesterday so I thought I would tell you my tale. It started last year on Memorial Day when we went on a hike to Bash Bish Falls. It was a great hike with a rewarding waterfall at the end. Perfect in every way. I had thought about that hike often and decided that we would do another hike this year for Memorial Day. About 4 weeks ago I sent an e-mail to my friends that I can not bear to have fun without. Everyone said they were interested and so I figured since I was having lots of different ages coming on this hike that I should choose a easy hike so I settled on taking everyone to Kent Falls in Connecticut. Which is easy and beautiful. But as the day drew closer and some people ended up not being able to come I realized I did not have to go to Kent Falls anymore. So I started researching. There were a ton of other options. I had a hard time figuring out where to go. Every hike I read about on the Internet sounded better than the last. But there was one I kept returning too because the descriptive words the reviewer used to describe this hike were so intriguing. I really have pretty high expectations of myself when I entertain. Whether it is hiking or cooking dinner I really want everyone to be supremely happy. But I realized yesterday, something I already knew, I can not make them have a good time they have to decide for themselves if that is going to happen :) But that is getting ahead of myself. This hike I kept reading about was to the top of Mount Alander. A mountain right on the border between Massachusetts and New York and I was completely sucked in by the descriptions of the view I would experience. I had visions of everyone thanking me profusely for the best hike of their lives :) I really thought we HAD to go on this hike. So I easily convinced everyone and it was a done deal.
I was so excited for this hike I stayed up late making homemade granola to take with us. I filled all the water bottles that night so they would be cold. I map- quested. I was ready. Everyone met at our house at 7:30 in the morning. It was my 6 kids, my hubby, Miriam's friend Nichole, Robb and two of his kids, Chris, Karen and Benson. We all fit perfectly in the 15 passenger van. The hour and 20 minute drive to the hike was uneventful. A few of my kids had been fighting all morning so I feared the worst but was pleasantly surprised. We drove straight to the small dirt parking lot that marked the beginning of the trail. Just like it was meant to be.
What I had read had said that this hike was straight up. But that you could take it slow and stop along the way and it was do able. We started on the trail and immediately came upon a Y. No one mentioned this on anything I had read? So we just chose what we thought would be best using what little info we had. As we headed the way we chose we started to realize we were not going straight up and that was the only clue we had about being on the right trail. So we headed back to the Y and went the other way which immediately went straight up. It was a tough climb. My Natalie immediately earned herself the promise of a glitter ball and a ice cream cone if she could do this and that was enough for her, she was a great hiker, I just had to listen to her talk about the glitter ball and the ice cream the whole 6 miles. My other children all continued to complain throughout the whole hike in various forms. My husband never complained but I imagined it going on in his head :) And of course my guests did not complain a bit. It was strange that the whole 3 miles up this very difficult hike I never doubted that this hike was going to be worth it. I never imagined it wouldn't be. I continued to imagine everyone grateful for the hike when we were done. I spent a lot of energy distracting my children from the misery they were experiencing by reminding them of the end reward.
But end reward was not to be. There was a view when we finally got to the top. It was nice. And that is about all I can say. Going down was definitely harder than going up. I learned about some muscles in my derriere that I never knew existed. I tortured myself the whole way down the mountain with thoughts that I should have read more, that I should probably only take people to places I have already been to and thoroughly checked out.
I confess that I really enjoyed myself. I was proud of myself for making it to the top. I was proud of the calories I burned. I was proud that I did not complain about being left behind and having to hike with Natalie the whole day. I was proud that I did not complain about having the grumpy, angry 13 year old tag along for part of the day. I was proud that I packed enough water for everyone. And I was proud that I had had a bag of licorice for the hike in our house for two days before the hike and had not eaten it before we left the house. And that pretty much is all I had control over. We learn something every time we take a chance.