Thursday, March 25, 2021

The 'M' Trail

We had an open day ahead of us and movement was in order!  We headed for the large white ‘M’ painted on the side of the hill.  It is reminiscent of Table Rock in Boise, but different: a shorter, steeper trail switchbacking all the way up.  The kids hopped out of the car and made their way to the trailhead.  Charlie and I moved a little slower.  We didn’t exchange any words, but our looks at each other reflected everything we were thinking:  Will we make it to the top?  How sore will we be tomorrow?  Ugh, this looks hard!

When Charlie and I first met we enjoyed a lot of outdoor, active activities.  We hiked and walked and rowed.  We ran 5Ks and camped and skied.  We loved to take advantage of what the northwest has to offer.  As each child came along though, it seems we engaged in these activities less.  Sports schedules and social events fill our weekends. Less time, less energy, less outdoor fun. We lament this often.

As we started up the hill I thought about backpacking to a back country fire lookout with my dad.  We did this each summer growing up, and the hike never seemed to get easier. “There’s no rush, we have all day,” I remember him saying.  “Find a pace and put one step in front of the other, just keep going.  And take the switchbacks wide.”  I followed this old advice, got into a rhythm and moved myself up the mountain.

It wasn’t fast but I made it.  My three older kids were there to cheer me on and we in turn cheered on Charlie and Henry who were just a bit behind me.  We frolicked at the ‘M’, took pictures, played around, vowed to do more hiking.

The way down was easier, but not much quicker. Charlie and I chatted about our relief at making it to the top. We reminisced about our old active selves. We listened to Henry chatter.

I was thankful that those old hiking lessons came back to me: find a pace, one step in front of the other, no need to rush, take the switchbacks wide...just keep going. Good life lessons really.


  1. First, I was delighted to see your photo and realize that 2 summers ago I did that same hike!!! And I also had to follow your wise advice- one foot after another, take your time. I love the phrase, “take the switchbacks wide.” I think I will ponder that as metaphor.

    1. I love that you've done this hike - it's pretty neat! Yes, I have the same metaphor pondering. :)

  2. "find a pace, one step in front of the other, no need to rush, take the switchbacks wide...just keep going." What a great line! I will remember that as I do my hikes and daily walks. Things are not as easy as they were when I was young. Good Advice and it sounds like a good day for the family!