A Family Hike

Last week my family and I went on a hike. Our different personalities come through on our hikes. So, I give you my family on a hike.


SJ (our 6 year old) is not quite your prototypical hiker. He is chunky, tires quickly, and is very content to watch television and play with his trains. He is, however, a good trooper and enjoys playing outside, so he is ultimately game for a hike.

Every time we take a hike I worry that at some point I will be carrying SJ. That was not a big deal when he was three and thirty five pounds but when last weighed, he registered 80 – the typical weight for a 10 year old.

My worries went unfounded. SJ showed great determination and finished the 2.5 mile hike all on his own. He asked to be carried a couple of times but instead gutted it out. In fact he kept repeating, “I am strong I am brave.”  I was proud of my little big guy.


BR (who turns 9 on Tuesday) has never requested we go on a hike, and I am not sure he ever will. Yet, he seems to enjoy the hikes each time. I can imagine him being very into hiking when he is an adult.

At this point the future hiker enjoys finding walking sticks and insists on being first. What a typical first born!

BR moved briskly through the hike. While we took breaks, he never seemed to need one. His one goal seems to finish as fast as possible. Throughout the hike, BR told me repeatedly, “I’m doing things the hard way.” Then he would climb under a fallen tree, or over a massive branch, or through a space that were not meant to be gotten through.

BR leading SJ & me along the trail. Photography credit: Wife


I feel no need to look at the map. I am content to simply follow the trail. I always start our hikes very energetic and think that we are making great time. Then, I am convinced the hike must be longer than what we were told because there is no way it could be taking this long. In fact, on the hike last week, I had SJ looking out for our car 20 minutes too early.

I have the job of facilitator.  I need to make sure BR does not get too far ahead. I need to make sure SJ and my wife are close behind. In addition, I need to be there to provide a hand should one be required.


My wife searches out where to go hiking and is ultimately the map holder. Each hike always has at least one time where my wife whips out the map. I am sure based on the look of panic in her fact that during this moment of uncertainty my wife gives us no better than 50-50 odds of ever finding our way back to the car. I refuse to look despite her insistence and instead ask her afterwards what she learned from the map.

She is also the one who determines when we will take a break (unless SJ demands a drink). This only makes sense as she packs the snacks.

Another one of her jobs – self-appointed – is the photographer. She loves to take pictures and insists on cataloging every meaningful moment, attractive scene that comes along. The rest of us moan about it but then want to see the pictures.

There you have my Swiss Family Robinson. Nature lovers we are. Maybe we should get rid of the car and hike everywhere. Naaah.