Why You Should Get Out of Bed and Hike, Even if You're an Exhausted Parent
It’s 4:30 a.m. and my alarm is ringing at the bedside. I look out the window. It’s still dark. I lay there, realizing that the house is finally quiet. Throughout the night, I was awake with my feverish and tearful child. Frequently soothing her back to sleep four… five… maybe six times. She would sleep for awhile and then awake once again, coughing and uncomfortable. I’m exhausted.
If there has ever been a perfect excuse to hit the snooze button, this is it. Yet I lay there with a reverberating thought… “don’t settle, get up, GO”.
The evening prior I packed all my gear and set it by the front door in preparation to summit South Sister. “I need to train,” I told myself. Rolling out of bed, I tiptoed around my sleeping wife and child, brushed my teeth, made coffee and drove to the base of the mountain. On my drive, I pondered my motivations for pressing onward. As most of us with families know, time and energy are often fleeting resources. The all-too-common struggle is finding the balance between accomplishing personal goals while also staying engaged as a parent and spouse and spending quality time with the family.
Aside from lacking a few hours of sleep, I had the perfect set-up today. My pack was ready and waiting by the front door, my wife had the day off and was willing to stay at home with our sick child, I had state-of-the-art mountaineering equipment and the trailhead was only a 40 minute drive from the house. So I asked myself, “Are you willing to push through the early morning discomforts and seize the day?” A quote from the Navy Seal commander Jocko Willink ran through my head, “Your soft pillow is lying to you.”
Now on the road and coffee running through my veins I was satisfied with my choice to press onward. It ended up being a beautiful day on the mountain. I cranked out nearly 12 miles, 5,000 feet of elevation gain and made it back home in time to have dinner with my family. Parenthood has changed my life. It has presented new challenges, it has made me more resilient and it has taught me gratitude. May we all find the balance and never let-go of our desires to hit the trail, explore and immerse ourselves in nature.