Hell froze over. Pigs flew. My 15-year-old daughter who said she’d never go hiking, went hiking with me.
It’s the kids’ spring break. I had the day off, and I had hoped to hike somewhere close to home, preferably snow-free. Mostly as a joke, I asked my daughter if she wanted to join me. Surprisingly, she said yes. I figured we could hit Pawtuckaway State Park. There are several trails there of varying difficulty. She chose a 5-mile hike with a summit (versus a 3-mile hike with no summit). So we headed for a trailhead to go up South Mountain.
Well, when we got there, the road to the trailhead itself was closed. Park was open, but we had an extra 0.4 roadwalk. Ah well, off we go. The extra 0.8 miles (roundtrip) made up for it with this lovely pond view.
The weather was absolutely perfect for a hike. 60+ degrees, sunny, and perfect. And guess what? No snow or ice to be found anywhere. That, however, meant the rocks were back. And of course, since it’s spring, there were several muddy/wet crossings.
Also, some very PRETTY water views.
We made it to the summit a bit slower than I expected after rock hopping many a mudpit. And stopped just shy of the fire tower for a snack and a break. However, standing still meant the bugs started to hang around, so we donned our super fashionable bug nets.
Besides the excitement of my daughter joining me, this was my first non-winter hike in several months (7 months and 1 day to be exact). The first happiness for me was not wearing or carrying microspikes or snowshoes! The next joy was being able to carry my small day pack instead of my winter pack behemoth. Possibly the biggest joy was that my day pack was brand new! I picked it up on sale over the winter, the Osprey Tempest 20 in lucent green. This was my first chance to use it, and I LOVE THIS PACK. Perfect pockets, places to store my stuff, lightweight, and CUTE!
After our break, we climbed up the fire tower. Oddly, I can climb mountains, but my legs quiver and I freak out on metal steps. Did not like, but did it anyway. Views from the top:
There’s a little loop around the summit, which the map promised included a bathroom. We took the loop, and this is what we found:
Just sort of hanging out in the woods. This bathroom, with no door and no toilet paper. At a junction of trails. So you can literally sit on the toilet and face people as they approach on a trail. I had my daughter stand in the doorway, it beats trying to find a rock to hide behind the proper distance off the trail.
We hiked back the rest of the way playing two different “animal games”. The first was just the naming game. Person A names an animal. Person B has to name an animal starting with the last letter of the previous animal. We kept getting tons of Es, Ns, and Ks. We also started getting slaphappy and silly. Which made for some oddly acceptable entries. Elmo, for example. Also I think we made up a lot of “Eastern [insert bird type]” animals that just aren’t real. The second animal game is where person A thinks of an animal and person B has to ask yes/no questions to guess the animal. At least once during each game, we had to stop walking and just cry with laughter. The kind where you can’t breathe and can’t stop laughing. Moments I wish I could just bottle up and save forever.
4 hours, 30 minutes
706 feet ascended
Immeasurable moments with my daughter ❤