"This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immoveable object." - The Joker, in the movie The Dark Knight
One of the things I really enjoyed about this trip was being with my son Shade 24-7. We did everything together (I mean everything...eat, sleep, hike, move, rest, poop, pee, drive, explore, collapse...everything) every single day. We got tired of each other, served each other, joked with each other, listened to each other, got sick, frustrated, and angry with each other, and survived each other.
So that was cool, but also cool for me was experiencing some of the unique qualities that are Shade so clearly and constantly.
Shade has energy. Even when he is tired and worn out, he can't seem to not exhibit energy.
When we would take breaks that involved taking our packs off, Shade would be running down to the water, exploring an old miners cabin, or throwing rocks.
When we would be hiking in his toughest moments, his complaints and ailings would be expressed with profound energy.
When we were at camp, he was non-stop energy.
When he wanted to talk about Pokémon Cards with his buddy Zach, he was non-stop energy.
When we were going to sleep, he always had the last word...yes, you guessed it, said with energy even if his audience was asleep.
I shared in Mountain Chronicles II how tough the long hike up the mountain was for Shade, but whenever he didn't have a pack on, he was desiring non-stop action.
Nowhere was this better expressed than on Day 2. Day 1 ended with us hiking about 4.5 miles, finding an adequate temporary campsite for the night, setting up our tent in a threatening sprinkle but before the hard rain, eating our first hot meal (mac and cheese), and settling into our sleeping bags. We were at a respectable angle, and slid towards our feet constantly, and I slept horribly, with a lingering headache irritating me all night (this has always happened to me my first day in high altitude, only to disappear with my giving in to nausea (which happened the next morning) and then I'm fine the rest of the trip). But boy was it good to not be walking.
On day 2, we had our precious daily hot chocolate, at some breakfast, packed up and kept hiking. We went another mile and half or so and found a beautiful spot to set up our base camp. After we set up, we decided to pack our day packs and go exploring up into the basin...maybe hit an old gold mine or two. This, of course, pumped Shade up. We started hiking, and Zach started getting a headache...but courageously decided to keep going. We were probably about 3/4 mile up from our camp when the clouds come swooping in and it starts pouring a drenching rain. We got our raingear on in the nick of time, and spotted an old abandoned campsite thick with trees up ahead. As we headed there, the heavens seem to turn the water up a bit more, and it also turns to hail! I'm smiling as we rush under the trees with nothing to do but get drenched and wait it out. Zach squats down under one of the tick pines and huddles up in his raingear...I felt horrible for him sitting there quite miserable. Keith was smiling too with what interpreted as that "What did we get ourselves into" look...a look echoing his statement when we crossed the bridge on day 1. All things considered, I felt like we were in a pretty good place to wait out the storm.
But Shade...Shade was wondering why we were stopped! "Let's go!" he kept saying. And Shade said this in dozens and dozens of ways to try to change my decision to wait until this stuff lets up before we move.
One time, it was, "Okay, lets go," in a tone that was pretending this was just a short breather/break that had nothing to do with the weather.
Another time, it was, "Look...it's not so hard!" Which wasn't true, but maybe I'd fall for it.
Several times they were of the "Are we gonna just stand here all day?" family: "We're losing daylight, dad." "Okay, how many more minutes?" "Did we come all the way up here just to stand under these trees?"
I'm cracking up out loud on the plane just replaying them in my mind. Shade is an unstoppable force of energy!
But I'm not budging. I'm pulling out all my different flavors of trying to get him to realize the parameters of what is not going to change.
I used the detailed explanation approach: "Shade, it's raining and hailing. We are going to stay here until it stops."
I used the "did-you-hear-me?" approach: "Shade, do you remember when I said we will move?"
The "make-him-say-it" approach: "Shade, when did I say we will go?" "When the hail stops," he said, "So when does that mean we'll move?" "When the hail stops," he confirmed.
The "point-out-his-persistence-as-futile" approach: "Shade, what did I say last time you asked to go?" "No," he said. "So in 30 seconds, do you need to ask me again?" "No," he said (but he would anyway)
My favorite expression of his energy, and his creativity, had a touché' sort of flair to it when he said, "Dad...what are we supposed to do when it gets hard?"