Standing on the highest point of anything else around you is an amazing feeling. The air has a distinct feel to it, the sounds are different and the view is breathtaking. This is the reward for a hard hike or climb up to the top of a mountain. As a family, we began reaching summits last summer when Ben and Liv were 8 and 6 years old. Hiking and backpacking were established pursuits so the natural progression was to start going up.
There has been one peak on Vancouver Island, BC that has been on our adventure list of things to do for many years. Mt. Arrowsmith. Locals are familiar with the Mt. Arrowsmith's Massif being it is visible just north of Nanaimo, all the way to Port Alberni and north past Qualicum Beach. The peak stands tall, made up of mostly basalt, a common extrusive igneous (volcanic) rock. It is the tallest peak on Southern Vancouver Island, measuring 1819 m or 5968 feet tall, keeping in mind Vancouver Island is at ocean level.
Weeks before we hiked to the summit of Mt. Arrowsmith as a family, I sat down with Liv, my 7 year old adventure girl, and talked about what it is like to summit a mountain. She had a lot to say about being a 7 year old who hikes to the top of mountains and even tried her hand at interviewing me.
Mom - Let's talk about Mt. Arrowsmith.
Liv - high squeal and smile on her face NO, no!
Mom - Why no?
Liv - Because it is going to be hard!
|Taking in the route ahead. Never said it would be easy.|
Mom - It is?
Liv - Yes, it is the highest mountain.
Mom - It is the highest peak on Southern Vancouver Island, there are much higher mountains here and around the world. Is it hard because you are 7 years old?
Liv- Because I am the youngest, my little Livvy legs get tired and I don't have as much energy.
|Almost there adventure girl, you can do it!|
Mom - What do we do to get more energy for you while we hike?
Liv - Take breaks, eat food. I like the apples and treats we bring. And drink lots of water.
Mom - Tell me what you feel when you reach the summit?
Liv - Shouldn't you be asking me this when we climb to the top of a mountain so I know what it feels like?
Mom - Probably. But we have hiked to mountain tops before. Close your eyes and remember what it feels like.
Liv - pauses with eyes closed OK. I am tired. I feel big because I am high up. There is wind and I am cold.
|She was right, it was windy.|
Mom - What do you enjoy most about being on the top of the mountain.
Liv - I enjoy getting to the top. It's pretty and beautiful.
|Adventure girl taking in the view from the top of Mt. Arrowsmith|
Mom - Are you looking forward to hiking to the top of Mt. Arrowsmith?
Liv - Kind of. I am going to like it when I am at the top but it is going to be hard to get there. Can I ask you some questions?
Mom - Sure.
Liv - Are you excited and looking forward to hiking up Mt. Arrowsmith?
Mom - I am! It has been on the list of things to do for about 5 years. We attempted it once, when you were 2, but never made it all the way up.
Liv - Is it going to be hard for you?
Mom - Some parts are going to be hard but not the hardest thing I have ever done.
Liv - What do you enjoy most once at the top?
Mom - Same as you, feeling of being big only thing I feel small.
Liv - Why?
Mom - When standing on top of a mountain, I look around and the trees, the ocean, the mountains far off in the distance look smaller than they look from the road or when I am beside these things. So then I feel like a tiny speck of dust in this huge place we call earth. And I am so happy to have a micro dust, point at Liv, standing beside me because together we are big.
Liv - Aren't you super duper happy that you have more than just one speck of dust beside you?
Mom - Are you referring to you, Ben and Dad?
Liv - Shakes head yes
Mom - You bet! Together we are a giant speck of dust and there is no other dust I would rather be with.
|4 specks of dust, jumping for joy|
KEEN gear used:
Ben wore his Chandler CNX hiking shoes
Joel wore the Marshall hiking shoe.
First time worn, Jill had on her Gypsum hiking shoe.
And Liv was wearing the Chandler CNX. It is lightweight, has breathable lining, and great traction for the terrain we hiked on.
|She's only 7 years old but she has big shoes to fill. #followyourfeet KEEN Canada|