Mom and I were riding down I-95 in eastern Connecticut when she spoke up out of the blue: “Reid, I love that you go off to all these places and bring back pictures and stories. It gives me a chance to live vicariously through you… I’ll never make it to most of them.” Thinking that thought was a little saddening, “what do you mean, Mom? You just have to decide to go.”
“Well, I am getting older and all. I haven’t made it out west in all these years, there’s no reason that’s going to change,” she said.
“Right. Well sorry but that’s nonsense. If you commit to a trip I’ll go with you.”
Usually, the look she gave me in that moment meant I was about to be swatted, but this time I think she was too confounded to say or do anything at all about the challenge I presented.
“The only caveat is that you have to do some workouts so you can enjoy wherever we go a little more than you would otherwise.”
Still dumbfounded, she managed a quiet “okay.”
Fast forward to Christmas of 2017 and a few brief conversations about the idea later-- Mom tells me she wants to do a backpacking trip, not just a glamping trip. Now, we have always been hikers, but to my knowledge, Mom has ever done a full-blown backpacking trip. Not only that but when I started showing her potential trails, she set sights on one of the hardest circuits in the lower 48, the Wonderland trail.
Wonderland is a tumultuous 93 mile loop around 14,410ft. Mt. Rainier. With that knowledge, she got serious about training and has become a trail machine in her own respect.
This little adventure is going to be one for the books; regardless of what happens. But I can tell you I am incredibly lucky to have a mom who trusts me to drag her through the Pacific Northwest on her first trip west. The stories surrounding this adventure are probably going to be a departure from what I normally do and I am so excited!