2017 Hike #1: Baby It's Coooold Outsiiide!

Well we took advantage of some time before the snow came to New Jersey this weekend to get out on our first hike of the year.

One of the things that I have come to find over the past year or so is the amount of comfort that my little guy has in the woods.

While there are so many typical things that he can't do as compared to other children his age, due primarily to his autism, I've often noticed his total awareness when we're out on the trails.

It's quite fun to watch.  Once we drive up to the trailhead and get out of the truck and ready to go, he usually will scan the treeline and very quickly can pick up the trail entrance.

From there, he's just gone.

He doesn't yet know about trail blazes, but he scans constantly and more often that not is able to read the contours of the ground in front of him, along with the more obvious treaded path, to remain on course, stationed about 25 yards in front of me - the point man.

Sometimes, when the path is old, or is rock-strewn, he is still able to navigate forward, holding true trail.  I have no idea how he can do this.  It is just amazing to watch.

After about half a mile, he is content to fall into position about ten yards behind me, and let me lead.  

I have hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail in New Jersey and Virginia with my stepsons, who were in upper elementary school, middle school, and then high school, and it was typically a mixture of rushing or running too far ahead, alternating with lagging too far behind, and general grumbling about boredom, weather, and hunger.

With little man, that has not yet been the case.  He walks along, quiet and happy, taking it all in, his head on a swivel, at ease and relaxed and free.

I want for him to be able to have those moments of peace and freedom.  So much of his life is scheduled and restrictive - school, therapies, doctor appointments.  

So while it might be cold outside, we're starting off the New Year right where the last one left off, with as many opportunities to go out on these little adventures as possible.  

The Stats:

Distance: 1.5 mi

Moving Time: 24:48

Elapsed Time: 43:53

Elevation Gain: 146 ft


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