First, allow me to explain that I have six brothers. My oldest brother is 34, my youngest brother is 14. As second oldest, I’m not as close to my younger brothers as I am to the two brothers who are closer in age to me. We didn’t grow up together, so it’s hard to connect. One of the things I’ve wanted to do since my successful English Channel swim is to spend more time with my family. So far, I’ve been taking my youngest brothers hiking once a week. It’s been full of shenanigans and hilarity – as any Bosch encounter would be! Here are some of the best moments from our last three hikes.
Hike 1: White Rocks Ice Beds
We hiked the White Rocks trail to the Ice Beds. I figured it was a short enough trek that Gideon could probably handle it. The entire distance was 1.3 miles. He did a great job and it was great for him to feel the sense of accomplishment of getting all the way to his destination and then back. He was already talking about the next hike as we were leaving. Here are some of the more memorable quotes:
Gideon: You went to college didn’t you?
Bethany: Yep, for two years.
Gideon: What do you get for going to college for two years?
Bethany: (pausing) In my case, nothing.
Gideon: Well, that’s a dumb deal! ‘Thanks for wasting your time, here’s nothing.’
Gideon: …Did you just call him ‘soldier’ and then squeeze his knee?
Hike 2: Halfway to the Top
We started up the White Rock’s main trail. I was nervous that Gideon wouldn’t be able to handle the steep terrain. Even the Forest Service guide has the main trail to the outlook (part of the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail) labeled as “Moderate to Difficult”. We only made it 0.7 of a mile up before we turned around and headed back. It was pretty tough. But Gideon was already declaring that next time we were going to the top. Here are some more of our priceless moments:
Bethany: Micah, tell a joke.
Micah: There was a man in the woods with his brother and sister. His sister told him to tell a joke…
Micah: But he had no joke.
Bethany: Just so you guys know, I did a hard core workout yesterday and I’m way sore. So I might complain.
Micah: Are you going to stop to complain?
Bethany: No, I’ll keep going. I can usually do things and whine at the same time. I am a girl.
Gideon: I find that offensive.
Bethany: So Gideon, do you like any girls?
Gideon smiled nervously, averting his eyes, and blushing all while giggling slightly.
Bethany: Oh! So you do like a girl!
Gideon: Wha-? How do you know I like a girl?
Bethany: You were just giggling.
Gideon: Guys don’t ‘giggle’, okay? Guys laugh. Girls giggle. I was not giggling.
Bethany: Okay. So are you going to tell me about that girl?
Gideon: I’m not prepared to discuss this subject.
Bethany: Okay. That’s okay. I won’t tease you. What about you, Micah?
Micah: (flatly) No.
Gideon: He goes to public school.
Bethany: What does that mean?
Micah: All the girls are dangerous. REALLY dangerous!
Hike 3: The Hiker Mating Call.
I’m glad to report that we finally made it to the top of the White Rock’s outlook and were able to view the stunning Vermont landscape. It took us over 3 hours to make it the 3.6 mile round trip. It had rained and everything was slippery. The trail head parking lot was deserted. Gideon was trembling with every step the last half mile, but what a trooper! We were all exhausted, but felt awesome for having made it all the way to the top.
We stopped for a break at Mile 1 on the way up the mountain. As we stood or leaned or sat along the trail, I started to make a resounding call. It was high note, I repeated it twice, and it filled the woods around us with the sound. My brothers looked at me askance, but we get pretty giddy on these trips and it wasn’t that weird for any of us to make noise for no reason.
By way of explanation, I said, “That’s the Hiker Mating Call.”
Both of my brothers were flabbergasted.
“Wh-what?!?” Gideon asked.
We tumbled into doubled-over, belly-aching laughter at such a preposterous notion. From there, the conversation fell to a Wookie sound making contest and other equally intellectual pursuits.
Not ten minutes later, Guri started barking. We all turned to look behind us and paused. A man was coming up the trail behind us. He was well-dressed in a fine button up shirt and khaki slacks. He was clean shaven and well kept. We pulled the dog away from him and he continued on up the trail.
After a moment, Micah looked over at us. “That just happened.”
I was busy trying to figure out why somebody wearing business casual was hiking on such a muddy, wet day, when Gideon leaned over to me, quietly.
“So… how’s that mating call working out for ya?”