This is my son Charlie. When he’s not working in food service (which he loves) at YMCA of the Rockies this summer, he’s doing something he loves even more: hiking. He and I hiked when I was up there in July; in retrospect, our 6-miler probably seemed like a lap around the track would seem to a marathon runner.
But that’s OK. I was tickled to be with him, and I’m even more tickled, in awe, and proud of all the hikes he’s taken and the friendships he’s forged while sharing trails and miles.
A couple of weeks ago, he climbed Longs Peak — one of Colorado’s famed “14ers” and which, at 14,259 feet, is the highest peak at Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a hike on many a bucket list (not mine, but I digress), one many people tend to do once and are rightfully satisfied with their accomplishment.
On Monday, Longs will be one of five mountains that Charlie and two friends will climb in what is known as the Grand Slam
“Climbing Longs and its four buttress peaks in one day,” I read just now, “is a five-peak project that will stir sturdy souls.”
I confess that when I think of this soul-stirring adventure he will undertake, the however-many miles he will trek, the heights to which he will go, I have fleeting wishes that he would instead be indulging in a Denny’s kind of Grand Slam. But they are fleeting; I’m much more proud of him doing this than I would be him eating his weight in pancakes and sausage.
Charlie and his two friends plan to start out at 2 a.m. Monday morning. When I talk to him, or in the texts I have sent, this is how I want to appear:
But I am glad he cannot see my face when he reads my words, because I confess to feeling a bit (OK, more than a bit) like this:
But of course I truly am hold-my-breath, heart-palpitation excited for him. In his 22 years, he has visited more countries, experienced more adventures, reached outside his comfort zone more times than I ever will. And that makes me more proud than I have words to say.
So for challenges taken; for bravery he probably doesn’t even see as such; for beautiful, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring peaks of courage…The Grateful Runner says thank you.