Today was an epic win! I’m not sure who was more surprised that Jake completely nailed the mountain today, us or him.
I woke him up at 4:30 a.m., and we both said our parts. He was still in the process of waking up when he remembered his script, smirked, and delivered his line. I was happy to hold up my end of the arrangement. It was a great start.
So much happened today that I could ramble on for pages, but I’m going to try and keep the focus as much on Jake as I can. Gabe should have been named Goat, after the ease with which he glides up a cliff, and Liv is a solid hiker. A little bummed we didn’t have a “themed” hike today, she wore a tutu, just so she’d stand out a little. I love those kids.
Between Roaring Brook and Chimney Pond, Jake was a little doubtful. He lead the vanguard, don’t get me wrong, he just wasn’t thrilled about it. He kept saying he was going to be tired, and wasn’t pleased with our little breaks. We promised him one up ahead, and he said, “I need a break for minutes; not seconds!” When he got a good look at Cathedral Trail, he announced that he wasn’t going up the whole mountain. “Just half mountain, then back to the car,” he declared. He wasn’t persistently negative, but he wanted us to know what he was thinking.
Before we’d been 30 minutes on Cathedral, he had a complete change of heart. “I’m not scared anymore! I’m OK now!” He powered up the trail! I played sweeper, so I ushered along the back of the group. As a hiking party of 7, we kind of spread out. Caitlin was up front with Jake and Gabe, Liv and Beth kept back just a little into the middle, and I swept along with Cory in the rear of the pack. We got to teach some #autismawareness to everyone Jake told to “get out of the way, I’m coming through” on his way to glory.
Jake was the first to touch the sign at the top, and the pride he felt at his success was palpable. “I’m king of the world!” he kept shouting. He was simply thrilled with himself. He got a little freaked at the huge clouds of bugs at the top, but nothing too serious. On our way down Saddle Trail, he asked if we could use the “Angry Birds thing” (slingshot) to fly him to Chimney Pond, where he’d happily wait for us. He kept asking if we were all done with down the hill. After a quick visit with some friends at Chimney, he ran ahead of the group, with Gabe and Caitlin trailing behind, and got to the ranger station at Roaring Brook first. He complained a bit that he was tired, that his legs were hurt, and that he “almost twist” his ankle a few times, but did incredibly well. In fact, he was the only one to run up the back steps at the house when we got home.
It was an emotional rollercoaster of a day. I can’t even explain it well enough in the worn out state I’m in. We were so in tune with his emotions and reactions throughout the day. I sometimes forget how his mood can be such a determining barometer for the rest of the family.
Oh, and one other thing; does Katahdin get taller every year, or is it just me?