Last Friday night I took my 8 year old and our dog to the Edison Road Trail in Newbury Park when it was becoming overcast. And dark. He wanted to keep going up the hill to walk "into a cloud." We didn't quite make it and had to turn around, lest we get stuck in the dark. That was that.
The next day I got up and ran about 9 miles mid-morning, came home and decided to take take the same kid out for some fun. No dog this time. We stopped at Jamba Juice. While slurping our smoothies, he said, let's go hike up Mount Boney. Huh?? I said, how come? Because I want to hike up to Mount Boney while I am still in one digits. And I want to walk inside a cloud.
Basically, I discovered these were two things he wanted to accomplish on his pre-double digit age "bucket list."
Saturday was a bit overcast (the photo above was taken another day). I said, are you sure? Yep. Are you sure? Yes. I think I must have repeated it 5 times but he didn't back down. We had shorts on and I had jackets, along with a backpack, in the car. I went back into Jamba Juice to buy a couple bottles of water and some snacks. The temps were in the 60s, making it a nice day to hike up there.
As we drove over, in the back of my mind I'm thinking, how I will reward him for making it to the Danielson Monument, quite a hike in and of itself. The really technical, rocky, crazy steep sections of the path to Boney Peak come on an unmarked trail above the Monument, unsupported by the National Park Service. Most people who have been "up Boney" have been to the Monument, not to the very top. Boney Peak stands at over 2,800 feet, making the climb well over 2,000 feet from Newbury Park.
It was a great time. The entire time my son asked questions, starting with, how many miles is it? I estimate about 4 miles. How many feet is it? How many inches? How many centimeters? And so on, the day goes. And we move along, gradually, stopping now and then to observe something of interest. A gigantic red ant, a stink bug, a stick, a bench. Then more questions. What would happen if an asteroid landing here right now? What would happen if three coyotes came and tried to attack us? How many minutes does it take to get to the top? How many seconds?
We made it to the Danielson Monument and had a snack. Then he saw the sign below, that after years of running up here from time to time, somehow I never noticed it among the overgrowth.
So, you wanna keep going, or are you tired? We moved on, through the narrow, jungle-like sections with poison oak surrounding us, the steep, rocky, highly technical sections that he seemed to navigate like a pro, the ups and occasional downs, the twists and turns and occasional pass by some person's discards (quite disheartening to see that someone would make the effort to bring TP yet leave it up there after use). There's always gotta be someone like that out there I guess.
We left the parking lot around 1:45pm and reached the top around 4:45pm. My son got his wish, or wishes, I should say. He had reached the top of Boney Peak. And he enjoyed the feeling of being "inside a cloud."
He was thrilled climbing on large boulders that made me cringe. I had to keep my eyes on close watch on my little adventurer because the drop from Boney Peak would be the end. After 20 minutes of exploring, it was time to head down.
We made it back to the car in about 2 hours and about 100 questions. I was nervous about getting locked into the parking lot as it was getting late. He was starting to peeter out a bit so I grabbed his hand and helped him along a bit. Overall though I was quite impressed at his endurance and stamina. Then again, he managed to eat all the snacks I brought. I had to settle for a handful of BBQ potato chips as he scarfed everything down. Note to self: Bring more snacks next time.
So long story short, here we are 3 days after our little cross training endeavor, and my upper ass cheeks (technical terminology), an area of the body I never think about, are still SORE! Mount Boney is like training on a Stairmaster on steroids. My glutes weren't used to this type of workout. But I'm sure by tomorrow, or maybe the day after, they will be fine.
On the other hand, I've heard no complaints from the 2nd grader. He seems as spunky as ever. It's good to be young, when you can kick your old man's %^&*( and not even know it. Or maybe he did know it. That night, he said to me, you don't have to run tomorrow. You can take a day off, you know.
And so I did. I took a Sunday off. I rarely take Sundays off. But that little kid of mine had the upper hand. He knew dad would stay home on Sunday morning and cook him pancakes while skipping his weekly long run. And that's what he, or I should say I, did.