By: Linda Bowen from TETON Sports
It was an early start to the day, but I was ready for it. Most days I wake up early and go straight to my computer and work. But not today. Today I was up packing mine and my teenage son’s hydration pack for a 20 mile hike. My teenager was less than excited about the 4:30 am wake up call on a late summer morning, but he got up, got ready, grabbed his pack and was ready to go.
It was still dark when we arrived at the trailhead, but it wasn’t quiet. This wasn’t a little one on one hike with mom, it was a hike with his 11th grade class, and I was along as a chaperone. I was looking forward to the hike. I hadn’t really prepared, but I had done it before without much preparation, so I figured I was good to go.
My son and I started near the front of the pack, right behind the teacher. I was hoping this would be a good time for my son to connect with his teacher and get excited for 11th grade History, but my son was less than excited to be there and was only hanging back to be with me. I was doing pretty good, keeping up, feeling good, and then we came to a large area where we were to wait for everyone to come together and take a big group picture before heading up the more challenging part of the trail. That was the last straw for my son. I had been taking pictures along the way as it was, and my son hates doing the picture thing. So, my son took off with a group of friends, getting way ahead of the group. I wasn’t concerned, but felt a bit lonely back by myself, so I started off at my top pace, thinking I’d be able to catch up at some point.
I must have forgotten that I’m officially “old” and out of shape and that there was no way I’d be catching up to my teenager and his friends. As I started to struggle with the steeper trail and my top pace, I slowed things down considerably, and then it was about all I could do to keep myself moving. “Just one foot in front of the other” and “I can do this” were the motivational lines I kept feeding myself. I considered stopping a couple of times thinking that I could just stop and wait and meet my son on his way down. But no, how could I not summit? I’ve done this before! How could it be this hard? I was having such a difficult time that eventually I convinced myself, that if I could just make it to the saddle (a nice look out point before the really steep part), then I would call it a success for the day. I didn’t need to summit, just reaching the saddle would be good enough. I had summitted before, so for this trip, the saddle would be good enough.
When I was about to reach the saddle and almost made it to my new goal for the day, I saw my son coming down the trail toward me. “Hey mommy,” he said, “I’ve been waiting for you.” I was incredulous. Really? He had been waiting for me? Didn’t he already summit with his friends? Wasn’t he already on his way down? No, he hadn’t already summitted. He remembered that I said I wanted to take this hike with him, that I said I wanted to summit Timpanogos with him.
So he sent his friends on their way, and he waited for his mom. At that moment, I was touched that he had waited, and yet I was terrified to think that now I needed to summit. I now had to go all the way to the top because my son had waited for me so we could summit together. So, we rested for a bit, and with his help, we made it to the top. We summitted together.
As a mom, I’m always wanting to do the right thing, to say the right thing, to help inspire my children to greater heights. On this day I was inspired by my child. I never would have made it to the top that day without him. My body was weak, and my resolve was weaker, but my child was there waiting for me, ready to help me and lead me to greater heights. Being a mother is often like this, full of the journey with only glimpses of the summit but it’s so worth it.
Keep hiking moms. You can summit together. This was one of those pay off moments. One of those priceless moments when being a mom is oh so sweet. I hope you can find those moments too. Happy hiking moms! And Happy Mother’s Day!
About the Author: Linda Bowen
Linda is a great TETON team member. Everyone around the office loves her work ethic, positivity, and compassionate personality.