Monday, May 6, 2013

Lylah's First Hike With Her Own Two Feet!!! Stratham Hill Park

We were pretty busy this past weekend, but managed to get outside a bit. I started the weekend off with a 4.5 mile run on Friday afternoon, which I had miscalculated the miles for as I had only planned on running 3.25 miles. The extra mileage was tough for me, but I felt good after accomplishing it. On Sunday morning, I decided to get back out for another run. This time, I took the baby in the BOB stroller. She was much more excited than I was and after I got her all bundled up and started up the driveway, she started yelling, “We’re running, we’re running”. That of course put a smile on my face and motivated me to run 2.5 miles. I must say, pushing the stroller up hills while running, definitely adds to the workout.

My little munchkin hiking, for the first time!

Later Sunday afternoon, Jill and I decided to bring Lylah to the park. I had noticed recently that one of my favorite outdoor locations, Stratham Hill Park, actually had a small playground. So, we brought Lylah there as we didn’t believe it would be that crowded on a Sunday. It wasn’t crowded at all and she had a blast sliding down the big slide and swinging on the swings. We didn’t have plans to climb the hill, but I figured I’d ask Lylah if she wanted to go to the top. I was surprised when she said, “yeah”, although I don’t really know if she knew what I was asking her. She answers “yeah” to just about any question these days. What was most astonishing was that she voluntarily walked away from the swings.

The Lincoln Trailhead

Trailhead Sign

Jill and I started up the Lincoln Trail which is gravel covered, but nicely graded. Near the beginning of the trail, I spotted a wildflower and decided to put Lylah down to snap a shot. You see, I had just assumed we’d have to carry her up the hill since she still pretty little, and under two years of age. However, as soon as we let her down, she started marching right up the trail. She’d stop every now and then to pick up a rock that she thought was pretty, but for the most part, she seemed more determined than Jill and I to get to the top. It was really amazing to see the munchkin walk steadily uphill and it was great to see her having so much fun while she was doing it. She had a smile on from beginning to end!

 The munchkin again!

 Wood Anemone

Not sure what kind of flower this is. If anyone knows, please comment.

View of the fire tower as the trail flattens out.

When we started to peak over the top, the fire tower came into sight. It looks as though they’ve recently put a new roof on it and painted it. I also notice they have a new dish antenna on the side, which is much more noticeable than the other antennas that have always been there. I brought Lylah to the top and she seemed to love the views. She wanted to get down and walk around, so I let her…but kept a strong grip of her so that she couldn’t get near the sides. The trip down the tower was a bit nerve racking. At that point, my little “almost two year old” wanted to get down and do the stairs herself. She was squirming all (and whining). Those stairs are small and steep and it was tough getting down them with her acting like that. I finally made it, however, and we decided to head down Stratham Hill. Not before we got a good summit/foot shot on the USGS Benchmark, though!

Fire Tower, looking great after a paint job and a new roof!

Lylah having fun on the landmark-mileage finder...probably not for standing on, but I don't think she hurt anything!

Jill, Lylah and I headed down the back side of the hill, which isn’t so steep. I figured that would be better for her since she seems to build up momentum that she can’t stop on steep, down hills. When we got to the bottom, she headed right back for the swings and slide. We let her play for another 20 minutes or so and then told her we had to go. That’s when we got the attitude because she didn’t want leave. I won’t bore you with the details of her little tantrum!

Having fun on the swings after an exhausting hike!

I can’t tell you how excited and proud I was of Miss Lylah on Sunday. I didn’t think she was old enough to climb a steep (for her size) hill, but she did so very well. She really dominated that tiny mountain. It gave me a good outlook on a couple things. I always worry that she won’t like hiking. If she doesn’t, I’m fine with that. I want her to be happy doing whatever she wants to do. But I would obviously love for her to love hiking, because I hope we can spend time day hiking together…until she’s a young teenager at least, at which time she’ll be “way too cool” to spend time with her parents! Her face, while hiking, helped reassure me that she may just have been bitten by the hiking bug. Also, I worry that I’m going to have to carry her around in the Kelty child carrier until she’s five or six. I can’t explain to you how uncomfortable it is having a heavy kid on your back…and Lylah’s only two (almost). Seeing her make her way up Stratham Hill showed me that I can rely on her to do “some” hiking on her own while she’s younger…maybe not the whole hike, but some anyway.

It was really a great weekend and it gave me an awesome feeling regarding the future of Lylah’s hiking career! 



  1. Nice report and story. I have a 2 yr old girl who loves the kelty and have similar fears, she is getting heavy! Thanks for posting the trip, we might head there this weekend.

  2. AWESOME! The next great hiker :)

  3. You have a future hiker and adventurer on your hands. She is adorable.

  4. Karl, what a delightful report. One of the best "peakbagging" adventures I've read!

    Would venture to say that you and Jill have many amazing years ahead of you as you hike with Lylah and introduce her to the wonders of nature.


  5. Totally adorable. Kids will really amaze you with what they can accomplish!

  6. Thank you for sharing...she is adorable! She will hike all of the White Mountains before you know it. Enjoy her...they grow so quick!


  7. So cute, but I'm afraid she might fall down... and get wounded better watch her thouroughly.