Nice headline, eh? I felt like this maiden blog entry needed to try to conjure up some dramatic quote since this past Saturday was the inaugural outing of the Dads’ Bucket List posse. We did in fact plan to climb a mountain. Of course, you’re probably wondering was it K2? Everest? Perhaps, Kilimanjaro? We didn’t have quite enough juice boxes for the kiddies to even get us to base camp of those more well known peaks. So we settled for the next best thing – Stone Mountain. That’s right Stone “Freaking” Mountain! The largest slice of exposed granite on the planet (apparently a misnomer, but we’re going with it anyway). Go ahead, give yourself some chills and read that last sentence before the parentheses one more time, but do it just a lit-tle. bit. more. slowly.
We all knew it. This climb would be epic. If in fact, we could make it to the top, we would be standing on the shoulders (literally) of those that came before us. We knew that in order to make a successful climb, we would need not only to be organized but to have Mother Nature provide us with perfect conditions. And so it was, that everybody found a parking spot and met up at 8am under a near cloudless blue sky to take on the mother of all…to hike up Stone Mountain. We were a party of 13 (5 dads, 6 sons and 2 daughters) that was not about to let the opportunity to summit this beast slip away.
Things started off as planned as 10 of us attacked the mountain with force. I say 10 because we learned after our initial 100 foot ascent that the McIntosh portion of our party already slipped off the trail for a bathroom break. After a short wait, the party was back together and we were in pursuit of mother summit. Within the next 8 minutes, my son Bo reminded me of the joys of climbing with a 4-year old when he announced that he was tired and needed a piggyback. What can I say, I’m a sucker and obliged.
Despite a little bit of whining, the entire party stayed together and made the summit in exactly 37 minutes. We celebrated our feat the same way Sir Edmund Hillary must have. We dug into some donut holes and juice boxes.
We stayed on top for about 20 minutes to take in the view, snap some photos and consider the experience. That was the reward of the day, at least for me. No matter how high, there’s something magical about standing on top of a mountain with your son. You look out and see places you’ve been. You also look out and see places you want to go. I’d like to think that canvas looks just a little more wide open in the eyes of my child.
We headed back down with our packs lighter by the weight of a few less drinks and snacks. I had a chance to catch up on the latest hobbies and happenings of a couple of dads. It’s nice to be motivated to stay in shape by talking to another dad who makes time to run around 30 miles a week and even qualified for the Boston Marathon. Many of the conversations though centered on things related to fatherhood – funny things our kids have said and of course a fair bit of effort trying to guide our kids on the right path up and down the mountain.
Maybe that last part about guiding our kids on the right path is a good way to end this initial posting. Guiding them on the path, or hopefully, exposing them to a lot of different paths in life is what will ultimately shape who they become. I hope this experience was yet one more way that we dads helped to do our part.