After poking some fun at my daughter, Celeste, for letting Laurel and me leave her panting breathlessly in our dust during a hike in L.A.’s Runyon Canyon, I’m pleased to report that Celeste redeemed her hiking-self yesterday.
She and husband Patrick flew up to spend what I had hoped would be a pleasant sunny Memorial Day weekend in Oregon. Pleasant it was; sunny it wasn’t. Nevertheless, we took them up to the Little North Santiam trail, guided by William Sullivan’s recently updated great book “100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades.”
Though Celeste and Patrick had looked wonderfully fit and attractive standing on the Spring Lake dock near our home, I figured these admitted L.A. quasi-couch potatoes would find it hard to keep up with Laurel, me, and wonderdog Serena, avid Oregon outdoors people/canine that we are.
However, my view through most of the Little North Santiam hike was much like this: no sight of Patrick at all, who fell back into his fast-striding Aspen, Colorado hiking days as if he had never left the Rockies; a peek of Celeste’s back as she disappeared around a bend far ahead of me; and a closer view of Laurel, who, along with Serena, kept checking to see if I was still bringing up the rear (in my defense, I was carrying a pack with everybody’s lunch, which included four extremely dense peanut butter and jelly sandwiches plus a couple of gigantic Fuji apples).
Celeste finally met her match (as I did) at the top of the steep switchbacks about two-thirds of the way to Three Pools, so we saved the end of the hike for another day. I reminisced with her about how nice it was to not have to carry her when she got tired, a fatherly memory from when she was three years old that is still fresh in my mind even though she’s thirty-three.
Even more fresh, though, is the memory of me now plodding along behind my daughter on the Little North Santiam trail, hoping that she won’t turn around and say, “Come on, Dad, you can’t be tired already. We just started walking!” She didn’t. But it would have been poetic justice if she had.