We talked about climbing Hahns Peak (a 10,744 foot mountain) for weeks. We knew the trailhead brought you close to the summit. But, before we actually took our four-year-old, O and his older brother F, we had some work to do.
It was a 3.6 mile uphill hike over unmelted snow, rated “hard” on the All Trails app. But, we knew O could handle it if we took it slow and prepared him for the experience.
We were climbing with another family (adults pictured). We gave him a punch card for two backpack carries at any time he needed on the way up. We had his favorite snacks packed and agreed to stop any time he wanted. We let him set the pace. And, we had a “peak treat” planned (thank you, Kira for the idea!) and a trophy in my backpack to award him when he reached the top.
And O did it, slow, steady and so satisfied at the peak. This painting is of him is less than 100 feet from the top. I wanted to paint his focus, his courage to keeping taking one little step at a time. He was hiking uphill on snow! He slipped and sunk.
In this painting, I like how the light touches his arms and shirt while his face blends into the hat’s shadow.
In the actual moment, kids and dogs were frolicking all around O. He was the only one intentionally looking at his goal and refusing to stop. This is how we grow to do new things, not quickly, not with fanfare or soundtrack. And not perfectly. We grow with one little, sometimes faltering, step at a time.