Hike : Specimen Ridge
A few years back on an early fall trip to Yellowstone National Park, we stopped in the ranger station to ask some questions about a hike that we had planned. The ranger was very helpful. He gave us a better map, made suggestions on where to park, and also showed us which route to take. He then looked at our daughter Talen, who was 7 years old at the time, and said “You aren’t going to take her, are you? She will never make it.”
Talen may have been little at the time, but she understood what he was saying. We ignored that last piece of ranger advice. We left the ranger station, proceeded to the parking area for the hike we wanted to take, and started up the mountain. All of us. Even Talen. The hike was a little brutal. It started with a steep incline where you gain 1500 feet in altitude in only 3 miles. There was a fair amount of whining involved and maybe even a little crying. We all wanted to die a little on that trek up the side of that mountain. But I can tell you that the views from the top are amazing. And made better yet, when Talen raised her arms over her head in the stance of a champion and said “Mama take my picture so we can show the ranger that I made it.”
When we drive by that mountain peak now, we never miss a chance to point to the top of it and say “We have been there. We did that hike. Someday we are going to go back.” That day not only gave us a view of Yellowstone National Park that few people see, it gave us a story. A story to share with each other. And a story to tell our friends and family. The picture from that day hangs proudly in our living room, blown up on a canvas. It is commented on by all who visit our home.
They are amazed at the view. They are amazed at how little Talen was when we did it. And they are amazed by the story. For me, it reminds me of a time that we were together as a family, in the mountains, encouraging each other to get to the top of that mountain. I love who we are when we are in the mountains.