Every child goes through it. That age when they get their first bicycle, and they learn to ride. Most times they get that first bicycle for Christmas, or for their birthday, which can be bad if that birthday happens to be in Winter, because there are few places to ride it in the Winter, unless you live where it is warm year round…not the case for my family. Those birthdays weren’t a problem for my sister-in-law, Marlyce, who was born July 9th, or my daughters, whose birthdays are in June. Their birthdays were the perfect time to give them that long awaited bicycle. When they were little, having a tricycle was the greatest thing, but as they began to notice that there were kids out there who could ride the big kids bicycle with two wheels, that tricycle started to really look like a baby bike to them. When that happens, you know it’s time to get that first bicycle.
By the time they get their first bicycle with training wheels, they pretty much know how to use the peddles, having spent several years on a tricycle already. So there isn’t much work involved in training them to ride this new semi-big kid bicycle. The main things are how to go over the bumps without tipping over, and how to take the downhill runs without having a wreck. Most kids learn that part pretty quickly and for my girls and Marlyce, there weren’t a lot of hills to ride on…up or down, so that was pretty easy. We lived out in the country then, as did my in-laws, when Marlyce and the kids were little, so there wasn’t much traffic to deal with either, but the city kids had to learn about the street and the dangers therein. I think that was a bit of a relief to ma, because I really didn’t want to deal with them being in the street much at that age.
Kids do pretty good on their bicycles with training wheels, but it isn’t too long before they decide that they are big enough to ride without training wheels. For me, that was kind of sad, because it meant they were growing up, and I really didn’t want them to. Little did I know then that the rest of their lives would rush by as fast as those first few years and before I knew it they would be all grown up, and have families of their own. Nevertheless, time waits for no man, and the girls got to that age where they had to have those training wheels off. They learned to ride on two wheels with minimal trouble, and they were soon riding their bicycle to the neighbors house, and the to kids house down the street. It was just the beginning of their being able to get themselves where they wanted to go, and the beginning of my days of wondering exactly where they were at any given moment. Thankfully they were pretty good about checking in and getting home by the times I said, otherwise I might have hated that age more that I did the simply fact that they were growing up.
Today, Bob and I went on a hike called the Iron Mountain Loop. It is a 5.1 mile easy to moderate trail that we found to be quite pleasant…except for that one hill. I’ll go into that more later. We began our hike thinking what a lovely day it was and what a nice change it was from the 90 degree days we had been having. Our first fork in the road put us onto the actual trail we wanted as it split from the Centennial Trail, which is a trail that is much more used. I thought about that old Robert Frost poem I had always loved, called “The Road Less Traveled” and felt, as I always do on the trail, like the adventure was just beginning.
Our hike continued along beautifully, and we were very much enjoying ourselves. Then the trail came to an end. There was another trail…much less traveled, that went to the right and to the left. Looking again at our trail book, I determined that the trail to the left would meet up with the Iron Creek Trail so we…or should I say, I decided that we should go that way. As we started down the trail, we immediately hoped that we would come upon the other trail, because having to come back up this hill would not be fun. The further we went down the hill, the more I began to think this was a mistake.
Finally, I decided to consult the trail book again. At that point, I realized that the Iron Creek Trail was probably right near where we were, but that was not going to be the easy way back to our car. We were going to have to go back up that hill we had just come down. The big problem I see here is that while I am an experienced hiker…I am an out of shape experienced hiker. I had now just turned and easy to moderate trail into an easy to moderately strenuous trail, and one that an out of shape experienced hiker was going to find…well, difficult!!
With a sigh, I told Bob we needed to go back up. After about 30 minutes, we finally made it to the top of that hill, and back to the trail we had come in on. While it was still easy to moderate, it seemed strenuous to our tired bodies. Finally, we got our second wind, and the trail became easier to maneuver. I can’t tell you how glad I was that we are experienced enough to have plenty of water. When we finally got back to our car, we felt tired, hot, and yet good about ourselves. Even though we were out of shape, we had made it 6.5 miles instead of 5.1, and part of it was very strenuous. I think we did really good…except for that one hill!!