|Engineer Mountain, 12,968 ft.|
|Aeneas and Patrick on their first backpacking trip with packs.|
We made even the little guy carry his own stuff although I think he learned a lesson of necessity after carrying in his pack of matchbox cars, tennis balls and bug guides as well as our cups and some of the dishes became heavier than it seemed at home before we left. Patrick was loaded and actually volunteered to carry his own sleeping bag along with his own dishes and toothbrush even though he needed another couple of inches to cinch on his waist strap. The hike was an easy 1-2 mile climb into a meadow choked with Colorado wildflowers. We spent the night surviving an enormous thunder storm and got up early the next morning to get Justin and Patrick off for the Engineer Mountain summit.
|Oatmeal before the hike.|
|Hiking the knife edge.|
|Patrick and Daddy at the summit.|
|He did it!|
We spent the first part of this summer exploring the areas in southern Utah, Zion, Capital Reef, Arches, Goblin and ending at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. As a sort of incentive (outside of the gummy bears that we never leave home without) we had Patrick begin a hiking log. It takes a few hikes to start to get our hiking legs on after the winter skiing legs, which is painful, but worth it. We told them both that once they were 5, they should be able to hike their age in miles. Honestly, I had my doubts. However, they both accomplished it this summer. The crowning achievement of the desert tour for Patrick was Angel's Landing.
|Approach to Angel's Landing, Zion NP, Utah|
|The approach where many turn back with palms too sweaty to grip the chain.|
|Angel's Landing summit.|
This summer alone he has hiked over 37 miles and summited two remarkable climbs. Justin said it on the way out of Engineer. "Everyone should take their kids to climb mountains. It does something to them. For their confidence, self esteem, drive, commitment. It changes them." These are the seeds that we hope will bring both our boys into adulthood with the confidence and determination to accomplish great things, despite the people around them having doubt. Kids are capable of much more than we give them credit for. I know. I've seen it with my own two eyes.