On the Mountain: View from the top
September 7, 2006
I’ve never had an idol, even as a baseball-obsessed kid. I admired ballplayers, but I never idolized them. To this day, I don’t believe in having idols.But this week my kid became my idol.Earlier this summer I dragged him up one of Colorado’s big peaks so he could say he hiked his first fourteener, but over Labor Day weekend he dragged me up an even harder one – not because he wanted to impress me, not because I kept plying him with candy, but because he wanted “to see the view from the top.”We had walked several miles and some 2,800 vertical feet when Billy uttered those words. I was actually doing my best to talk him out of climbing Castle Peak. We were high in Montezuma Basin, munching dried fruit, guzzling water and gazing up at the permanent snowfields on Castle’s north side.”It’s a long way up there,” I told him, “and if we go home now we can eat leftover cake and Daddy can drink beer.””No, Dad, we should go.””It’s steep and your legs are going to be sore.””That’s OK. Let’s go.”Maybe he did it for a taste of the vanilla-flavored Gu I had in my pack. But I honestly don’t think that was it. I think he just wanted to be up there, and the way he whistled, sang and told stories on the way up convinced me. The kid just likes the mountains.What was a simple walk-up for me was more like a Class 3 scramble for him. But he just kept clambering upward. So he’s my idol. Billy goat.We didn’t move too fast; we started walking around 8:30 a.m. and didn’t get back to the car until nearly 5 p.m. But thanks to the bluebird skies over the weekend, we could take our time without fear of rain or lightning.We saw a dozen or so people over the course of the day, but had the summit to ourselves for a few minutes. And the view from the top was sweet.