View Full Version : A Dream Becomes Reality on Mount Major 6/21/11

KD Talbot
06-23-2011, 06:49 PM
Beautiful Granddaughter in Beautiful Setting

Mount Major 1786'

4 Miles 1200' Elevation gain

Mount Major Trail

Seneca, Emma and Me

Many times during the course of a lifetime you get to do something that when you were young you never dreamed you would get to do. As you got older and circumstances changed a small spark of a dream may have ignited. As the years passed this spark became a flame burning in the back of your mind and you wondered if it would ever become a fire, or if it would just burn itself out as the time passed. On Tuesday I was lucky enough to see the flame become a small fire, if even for just a short time.

For the first time I got to do a real hike with my favorite girl, my granddaughter. True, she was none too pleased with her grampy for dragging her up a nasty old hill when it would have been more fun to play Sorry, or go to Burger King, or to go shoe shopping, some of the things we had been doing together this week. A ride in the boat certainly would have been preferable to hiking up this nasty old rock in the heat and bugs.

Along the way we stopped to rest, and each time she made it clear that she was not enjoying this, but each time I was able to convince her to go just a little further, then we could rest again. I knew I was not pushing her beyond her capabilities, she is tall, and strong, and beautiful. Her mom says, given the choice, she will choose to be lazy. I thought about that and decided that's probably true about just about everyone. I knew she could do it, and so did she, so I coaxed her along.

So, many times in your life you wonder if you will ever get to do the thing you desire, to fan the spark into a flame that starts the fire, if only for a little while. If and when your dream comes true and you get to do this thing, it is hard to describe the feeling. I think it is more a combination of feelings: Happiness that you were able to bring this dream to fruition, pride that you were able to see it through, love for the things that brought it into being, thankfulness that it was all able to come about, and many other emotions that play along with it as well.

I told this small girl that means so much to me how proud this old man was of her that she was able to accomplish something even though it was not something she wanted to do. I tried to explain that as she grew older there would be many things in her life that she would not want to do, but that sometimes the circumstances of her life would require her to do them whether she liked to do them or not. In the wisdom of her youth I think she understood this, and I think she took on a bit of pride as she came to realize what she had just accomplished, and in so doing she filled an old man with a joy he had not known for many years.

As we began to descend she seemed to understand what it was about hiking that was so important. She soaked in the sunshine and fresh air and reveled at the lovely views out across Winnepesaukee and to the mountains beyond. I told her how, many years before, I had climbed this same hill with her dad and her Uncle Jack who she will now never get to know, and her Uncle Justin who was only four when he first made the hike. She looked at me as though she wondered why a creepy old man would make small children do such a thing, and I think she began to understand just why.

As we continued to descend she made a game of "Following Emma" who was enjoying the day in her usual way. We discussed where we would eat lunch, for she had discovered that snacks and juice boxes are fine for the trail, but that even a little girl can build a big appetite by hiking "a mountain". As we strolled along the "road" like section of the trail she even admitted that "Coming down was fun," though she had hated the uphill part.

The flame of my dream had been fanned into a small fire. I do not know when, if ever, I will get to see it burn again. That is the uncertainty in life, but what we must all live with. I can but hope that my fire has lent a small spark which will burn in the back of her mind the way it did mine. We live so far apart and we have such little time together each year that I want every minute to be enjoyable for her while she's here. I hope in time she will look back at this as a fond memory of the time that grampa tried to light a small spark in the back of her mind. I know I will hold this day in my heart forever.

Not as Much Fun as Grampa Promised

Full set of pics HERE: (http://ghostflowers.smugmug.com/White-Mountain-Hikes/Mount-Major-62111/17698103_38Rsjc#1350227272_bzzRW8N)


06-23-2011, 07:51 PM
Said it elsewhere but it bears repeating - just wonderful! I'm betting that someday she'll tell you what today meant. Happy Tuesday!

Snow Miser
06-23-2011, 08:26 PM
Beautiful story about your hike with your granddaughter Kevin! I'm sure one day she will reflect back on that day, with warm feelings of being with you and Emma, and the time you all shared together. Thanks for sharing with us.

06-23-2011, 08:38 PM
very nice Kevin its so hard to know what kids and grand kids will remember what we tell them and show them but we hope some day they will say i remember when !!!!!! then we know we did good

Snow Miser
06-23-2011, 10:43 PM
Perfectly said Charlie! :)

KD Talbot
06-24-2011, 11:35 AM
Thanks all! I can just hope the spark fans to flame at some point. Would really like to get her up the rockpile before too many years go by, but that is up to her!


06-24-2011, 01:19 PM
As a father I have seen that face many times and as a son, I am sure I made it more than once. All I know is that many of my fondest memories involved hiking and camping and I wish today I had done more of both over the years!

Thanks for sharing the pics and the story!!!


06-24-2011, 04:39 PM
I once coaxed a very unhappy girl up a mountain with continued promises of snacks. Just like in your case she had no physical problem making it. When we finally got to the top of Middle Sister and she looked around and saw where she was and what she'd done she was happier than I'd seen her for a very long time. This wasn't her first hike up a mountain. She had always loved the outdoors and done lots of other hikes in the past - some with motivation problems and some joyfully.

That same girl eventually turned into a teenager and as those creatures often do she became interested in other things. She won't go on hikes with us most of the time anymore but when she does it's wonderful. That girl also spent three days on the tops of mountains with us last weekend (at her request) and although she never put it into words the look on her face pretty much the whole time said how much she loved being there. There is definitely a flame there that was kindled in the woods many years ago. It flickers on many days but there is no doubt in my mind that in years to come it will blaze brightly again.

As parents (or grandparents) all we can do is provide the occasional sparks and then stand back and watch (and hope)...

KD Talbot
06-25-2011, 10:28 PM
Chris- I certainly hope it becomes a fond memory for her someday!

Mark- If she grows to be as good of a hiker as Jamie, that will fulfill the dream!