Family, Fortitude, and Feeling Faint.

Courtney is leaving for a business trip to London. FOR 4 DAYS.

That means it’s about to be just me vs. the girls. Mano y mano…y mano (Which doesn’t make sense – I know). Anyway, it’s a beautiful day so why not force the girls to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes and tell them hiking up a mountain will be fun?

After a quick 2-hour drive it was all smiles and giggles as we embarked up the Red dot trail up to Mt. Tammany. The same Red dot trail that’s marked as “DIFFICULT” on the website for the national park service.

1-minute mark: “There’s sand! I love walking on sand! Why is there sand on a mountain, daddy?!?”


5-minute mark: Ry says, “Look at that huge rock!, Can you take a picture of us on it?!”

10-minute mark: Cam whimpers, “I’m getting sweaty and my legs hurt” Rye has an instant retort, “Don’t breathe so hard

11-minute mark: “Daddy, I feel dizzy”

Uh oh.  At this point we find the nearest log and take a break while I rummage through my bag to find a water bottle. She takes a sip and continues to catch her breath. I tell her to take another sip – she looks up at me with color fading from her face, “ I feel like I’m going to throw up.”

I do what I normally do when these situations arise – take a deep breath, cock my head slightly to the side, and visualize everything going awry. We’ve barely broken a sweat, okay maybe just me, and we may have to abort.  I’m getting visions of carrying Cam down the trail like a sack of potatoes over my shoulder as she vomits down my backpack.

She took a few minutes to regroup as I gave her the old pep talk. “It’s all in your head, Cam. It’s mind over matter.” Well, guess what?  She apparently bought into it. We spent the next hour trucking up the trail to the gorgeous summit of Mount Tammany.


On the way down we spent time talking about mountain lions and bears.  You know – all the things that could potentially do us harm while we’re alone on a mountain. Which brought us to the question, why are there so many different names for a mountain lion?


Who knows.

What I do know is that an average Saturday turned into a memory that my daughters will hopefully have for rest of their lives. The feeling of overcoming hardship to literally get to the top of a mountain is something that cannot be fabricated. Cam will inevitably run into tough times in her life – especially the next few years in school. And maybe she’ll be in a difficult situation and think back to the time she beat the mountain.

That’s my hope anyway – that experiences like this will somehow transform into mental fortitude to make her a stronger woman down the road.

One thought on “Family, Fortitude, and Feeling Faint.

  1. Please keep writing and recording your thoughts and memories. It is sad how many wonderful people and places you forget over a life time.
    Very inspiring and fun to read.


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