Thursday, July 8, 2010

Getting him to hike by following his lead

All spring I've been worried that I won't be able to keep up this hiking blog, simply because Calvin won't hike. It just seems that lately, whenever I take him anywhere, he wants to be carried by me. I can't even get him to walk by my side into the grocery store. So the idea of taking him on a four mile trek through the woods sounds pretty tiring.

It could be that he's nervous about going into busy places, and that's what makes him cling to my legs like an octopus. Or it could be that he senses that I don't particularly want to lug him around because I'm pregnant, and so he insists on it. And now my back is always sore.

I've recently gone out of my way to get him to enjoy hiking, simply by making the "hikes" a little less destination-focused. Last week after dinner I drove down to that canyon trail by the roundabout in Los Alamos.  It was just the two of us.

When I pulled him out of the car he wouldn't let me put him down - he wanted me to carry him. So I sat down in the landscaping rocks that line the sidewalk and acted like I brought him there to look at rocks. We did that for a few minutes. Then he just started to run down the trail.

I followed him, just to see what he was interested in. Rather than go down the marked trail he went up the flight of concrete stairs that leads to the road. I was nervous.  I mean, what if he jumped over the guard rail really fast, or someone went off the road just then?

I tried to stay calm and let him lead the way, because grabbing him and dragging him kicking and screaming to the car would completely defeat the purpose of us being there (trying to help Calvin hike - and not be just another piece of luggage).

He ran up the steep sidewalk, and stopped every few feet to run his fingers through a pile of dirt, or look at a column of ants, or pick up a rusty bottle cap. I'd say we walked 1/4 mile, and then I had to carry him back most of the way and we played with the rocks until it started to get dark.

If he's going to hike it will have to be slower, with more time to look at stuff. Then, if we want to just cover some miles we'll have to put him in the backpack (a long as it's on Quinn's back and not mine).

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