April 25th was a beautiful day for another training. An 11 mile trek on the Appalachian trail in Northern New Jersey. Once again, only Jonah and I represented for the Heimann clan since Olivia is still recovering from her knee surgery. And once again, my cousin Jeff led the way. This time we also were joined by my cousin Claudia and their friends Tor, Mik and Mike. I was nervous for how my little guy, who is only 10 would do on this day's hike, but felt that it was better to discover while we are still state side than when we're in England. We'll be averaging 11-12 miles a day on the trip so this day would be a good barometer.
And Jonah did incredibly well!!! Not even a minor complaint - and he was carrying his pack with extra clothing and food to better simulate the experience. So proud of the little guy and a little relieved to know that he can handle it. Granted this was a beautiful, sunny, Spring day and we certainly will have less favorable weather some days on our trip. But having this day under his belt will certainly help ground him for those days to come.
Having our equipment with us also helped figure out what works and what doesn't. Jonah's pack seems perfect, as do his poles. My pack, on the other hand, caused a bit of pain, especially around my hips. I'm hoping that some adjustments to the straps will do the trick - it is after all supposed to be a top-rated pack (Osprey Atmos AG 65), but seemed to be digging in and causing pain. I'm going to give it one more try on the next training hike and see if some adjusting will make the difference. I love everything else about the pack - but if it is causes pain from 11 miles, it will not be pleasant for 192!
We hiked to the highest point in New Jersey - High Point Monument in High Point State Park - very original names, I know! The picture from this blog is taken in front of the monument. Spending the day with family walking from one point to another. Very simple. Very serene. Very much perfect!
April 25th also happens to be the anniversary of my brother's death 28 years ago. I typically take time on his anniversary to go for a walk in the woods - but never an 11 mile walk. Having Jonah, whose middle name is David after my brother, and my cousins with me on this day made it extra special. The years go by, but the memories are still there, and the comfort of family definitely smooths some of the sharp corners of grief that always linger. My cousins made a cairn in memory of David and we spent a little time at the spot reminiscing.
This was a day to remember! And one that will stay with me for a long time.
Much gratitude for being able to have days like this one!