Setting: The boots deck at Neptune Mountaineering

Customer comes back to boot deck. A family, two kids, son and daughter. Father off looking at tents, mom needs some new hiking shoes. We size her up, get her a cool pair of shoes fit for hiking in the hills yet stylish enough to wear around town and not look like a fool. A nice balance.

We have a video on, some telemark skiing flick to pass the time. Mom asks me for advice on a good hike for the family. The kids are youngish – maybe ten – so I recommend they check out Lost Lake. Not too tough a route, nice flowers, good waterfall, cool lake for a picnic. They buy a map and the shoes. The mom goes to the kids, who are watching the video, and enthusiastically says, "hey kids, lets go on this cool hike up to the lake."

The kids start pouting. "We're watching TV. Hiking is stupid." They ask the mom how long the drive is. "About 45 minutes," she replies. The sister turns to the brother and says…"Hey, that's good – we can watch T.V. in the car while we drive."And off they go.

What have we become, and what are we becoming?

2 Replies to “Conversation”

  1. Don’t be too hard on them, Dan. Mom is doing a good job getting the kids off the couch and into the woods. TV in the car? I use it on long trips (ie. my 2000 mile road trip,) and frankly, it gives me a break from the bickering. Kids can say some obnoxious things, but it doesn’t automatically make them a lost cause. They will remember these trips fondly when they are adults and will likely continue the tradition.


  2. Michelle,
    Thanks for the comment. I agree, mom is doing a great job (and honestly, I almost feel unqualified to make any comment on moms – I work in a ski shop – a much less honorable and much easier job than being a mom). And I wasn’t so much talking about the kids as I was just kind of making an observation of how many things there are today that are alternatives to being in wild places. I do think it’s vital to get kids out there. Those early backpacking trips for me…I still remember them vividly, and in many ways I try to recapture that feeling I had at 5 or 6 on trips I do today. Good for parents and that mom for fighting the fight.
    Thanks for reading,


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