Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Saturday, August 1, 2009

16 myles - 5.51

CT segment 4 - 9:30 A.M.
clear, dry, 70s, nice cooling wind
mind/body - refreshed
easy effort

I've been waiting for this day since Jaxon was born - the day he encourages me to get out on the trail and even a little camping.

We left after school on Friday and Jaxon was non-stop chatter box for the entire hour and 45 minutes to the Long Gulch trail head - I knew he was excited! I kept probing to find out how far he thought we should go the next day, in which his reply was "let's just spend the day hiking and exploring". We found a nice little campsite next to a stream about 0.2 myles from the CT with a fire pit AND stacked fire wood. We settled in while it got dark all the time I was trying to get the fire started with wet wood. The fire lasted approximately 15 minutes, roasted 4 marshmallows and then it began to rain. That forced us into the tent which made Jaxon more than happy cause he was starting to get a little nervous of bears with the darkness.

Next morning everything was frozen. Didn't last long as the sun came over the mountain top, not a cloud in the sky. We finally hit the trail at 9:30 AM and Jaxon once again was excited as he talked for the first two hours non-stop. Jaxon is a military buff so he was talking about things I didn't know existed or had a name, like getting "gillied up" or "carbine". At any rate, we hiking down the long gulch and took our first break after two hours, made it another hour to our turn around point and ate lunch. We made it from Long Gulch trail head all the way to Rock Creek trail head 8.2 myles in. If Jaxon wasn't talking about the military he was trying to identify mushrooms or wild flowers, sometimes he knows (or thinks he knows)too much for his own good as he thought he could eat all the mushrooms he saw. I agreed to buy him a mushroom and eatable plant book when we got home.

As we made our way back Jaxon started to slow down and start complaining about his feet. I guess that's what 12 myles in 4 hours will do to a 10 year old. It was down right hot now when the wind wasn't blowing, Jaxon began to get a headache and feet aching more. I knew Jaxon was drinking enough because his 70 oz Nathan pack was dry and peeing every 5 minutes - good sign. The funniest thing Jaxon said all day was "Dad I think I have an enlarged prostate cause I have to go to the bathroom way too much" Where did he get that?!?! We hit the last downhill with 2 myles to go and Jaxon started to really get a bad headache so needless to say the last stretch was miserable for him. Once he saw the car he pepped up again and said "Dad are you proud of me?" Yes son, I have always been proud of you!

I think this is one of those trips that will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life (and hopefully his as well). Along the way I learned more about my son and feel this has given us a true father/son friendship. He's already counting the days I begin my CT adventure as he wants to go a few sections with me. Sorry no pictures, both my camera and iPhone were dead.
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