Do you have any Mother’s Day traditions? Some of our GMC members have hiking traditions going back for 20+ years of Mother’s Days, while some are just getting started. It’s never too late to start your own tradition of getting outside with your mom or your kids for some quality bonding time with everyone’s favorite mother: Nature.
My daughter Jackie Rogers and I have hiked Elmore Mountain every year for the past twenty odd years to check out what wildflowers are blooming. We like to see the whole transition from late spring to early spring as we gain elevation – what was blooming, or has already bloomed and gone, at the bottom has barely started to bloom as we near the summit. Sometimes we veer off the Elmore Mountain trail and head up the Catamount Trail. It is certainly less crowded and seems to have more opportunities to observe the flowers.
When my grandson Skylar turned two and a half, he joined us for his first hike up Elmore. It has become a tradition for Jackie and I, though, I must say, Skylar, now 23, has moved on to more challenging ascents. This year my older daughter Nancy Harvey joined us and we hope that will continue.
-Jean Haigh, GMC Board Member, Multi-Committee Member, Former President
Mother’s Day is a day to do a few of Mom’s favorite things. For me, that means spending time with family, not doing any chores at home, going out to eat, flowers, and, most of all, sleeping under the stars where I’ll be awoken by spring birdsong. Where can I get all of this in one place? On the Long Trail, of course!
At some elevations in Vermont, mid-May is still mud season. So, I checked my maps and chose my elevation wisely before heading out for a trip to Little Rock Pond with my then 5 year old daughter. Hiking the two miles in, red trillium flowers were in bloom along the trail. We arrived in time for a full day of fun: paddling in a canoe, a hike around the pond, catching salamanders, and soaking up some sun. Dinner was outdoors: hotdogs cooked over a fire and pasta with veggies on the backpacking stove. After playing harmonica and a few card games, we squeezed our three sleeping bags together on a single bunk in Little Rock Pond Shelter to stay warmer during the cool May night and fell asleep after looking out for the Big Dipper.
A hermit thrush let us know it was time to get up in the morning. I arose with love in my heart: for my family, for the Long Trail, for life.
-Millie Mugica, GMC Membership Committee Member, Former Board Member, 10x Long Trail End-to-Ender
One of the amazing things about being a mother is getting to rediscover the world through the lenses of your children. For me, this really took effect when we started hiking with my daughter, who will be 3 in July. When we started out hiking with her as a baby, we would throw her in a pack and hit the woods. Our capacity to get a few miles in still remained relatively high and, while she added some weight, we didn’t need to change our agenda too much. The amazing thing with her was that she would come alive in the woods. She would sit perched up in the hiking pack looking up at the trees and birds, “oohing” and “ahhhing” at everything she saw.
When she learned to walk, we quickly let her wander on her own time and mostly in her own direction. At first, this frustrated me because I wanted to get up the mountain and go on a good, long hike like I typically would. When I learned to step back and enjoy the beauty of slowing down and really embracing my surroundings, it opened a whole new world of hiking for me. Now, success on the trail is spending quality time with my family and hearing my daughter and infant son explore the world around them. We spend so much of our week rushing the kids to school and us to work, that hiking has taken on a new meaning for me as a parent: it’s a way to connect with nature and my children.
While I still enjoy a good, long hike where I feel my legs burning, there is truly something magical about rediscovering the world around you, especially through the eyes of your kids. I never knew how exciting finding five pine cones in one spot could be!
So during this Mother’s Day weekend, I plan on spending time with my children on the trail picking up rocks and looking for worms. And I couldn’t ask for anything more.
-Alicia DiCocco, GMC Director of Development