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My son and I are in the midst of a long weekend trip that is part county trip, part 1 on 1 date, and part sightseeing whirlwind tour.  Yesterday we set off to hike up Guadalupe Peak, which is the highest point in Texas.  I’ll have a full review of the trip up hopefully before too long, but I wanted to talk about my day of flat out lying to my son, all under the guise of “encouraging parenting”

The hike up Guadalupe Peak

Guadalupe Peak is at an elevation of 8,749 feet, with the trailhead of about 5800 feet, so it’s about 3000 feet of vertical climb.  My son is training to go to Philmont with his Boy Scout troop this summer, so that was the main impetus for trying this out.  I would not say he’s super trained by any means, but I was hoping that the resiliency of a 14 year old body would make it not so bad.

The Park Service says that it’s a 6-8 hour hike and does call it “strenuous”.  I have to admit, I was skeptical – how bad could it be?! and even pondered what we would do with our time once we were up and down super fast.

Oh the lies

It quickly became apparent that my son was NOT in a good place.  We made it through the first part of the hike okay, but then the hours drug on and it felt like we were stopping every 2-3 minutes for a 5 minute rest break.  All the time, even though I was also not feeling super, I was trying to encourage him as he worked through his emotions and the physical strain.  I kept saying things like

  • Oh we’re almost there
  • Or almost to <some waypoint>
  • Oh once we cross around this corner we can rest – there’s some great spots to rest there.

But then the BIG whoppers

The “best” lies were the ones after we had gotten over half way done and, even though we were getting closer, the complaining ratcheted WAY up.  He became obsessed with not wanting to walk back down.  So I tried to encourage him to not worry about that – let’s get to the top then we’ll talk about that.

I even went so far as to suggest that, at the top of an 8700 foot mountain in the middle of nowhere, there might be:

  • A ski lift back down
  • Toboggans to take us down to the parking lot
  • Or a hang glider available

It probably speaks more to the pure mental and physical exhaustion rather than any naivete, but he was definitely talking about these options seriously, and I did everything I could to play them up.  He didn’t think a toboggan would work because of the rocks and mountains and such and was concerned about the cost of the hang glider, especially if we had to go with an instructor.  But he definitely had his eye on the ski lift back down 🙂

The real success

The real success though is that after 5 hours, and what felt like 5000 rest breaks, we made it to the top of Guadalupe Peak!


And even better, the hike back down was a piece of cake (comparatively)

Have you ever lied to your kids while traveling?  Was I in the wrong?


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