Behind the Design
I asked our older son, a graphic designer, for help creating designs that reflect the uplifting spirit of HikingAutism.com. Our house is filled with T-shirts, mugs, and tote bags bearing clever and heartfelt messages, many related to causes we care about. I sent him reference photos of our severely autistic son hiking to design from.
The first design is a silhouette of Sean chugging up a steep hill, rising above the “Just Get to the Trailhead” message that means so much to me from a story I’ve written about before.
Sean’s challenges with autism and sensory overload were so overwhelming at times that we could barely get him out of his room or the house, much less into the car to go somewhere.
We’d arrive at a destination for a family outing, and Sean would go into sensory freeze mode in the car. Some days he’d grip the car seat as if his life depended on not leaving that protective space.
One day it took me and our magical autism helper (In Memory and Thanks) almost two hours to get Sean out of the car. By the time we led Sean the few yards to the trailhead in the Marin Headlands, it was time to leave. We looked at our intended hiking trail, told Sean we’d come back and try again, and drove home. I felt like a failure.
That evening, a message came in from our helper saying how proud he was of Sean for having the courage to keep trying and just get to the trailhead. His words moved me to tears. Here was a special education expert telling me that we’d accomplished something that day.
Now I tell people going through tough times that if all they can do on a rough day is get to their starting spot, soak up the atmosphere, and maybe plan for what they’ll do next time, they’ve had a successful outing.
To see this Just Get to the Trailhead design on various items, check out the newly added Support/Shop page, or go directly to the HikingAutism Printify page. The reference photo of Sean hiking was taken when he had just started up a steep stretch of trail in our beloved Marin County.
When we’re feeling our most tired and discouraged—physically, mentally or both—remember that just looking out a window or your front door at the sky can lift you up for that day. Keep putting one foot forward!
This week’s HikingAutism Hike Notes from the archives is King Mountain Loop Trail, a hike that follows a 1.8 mile loop featuring tree-covered trails and bay views in the King Mountain Preserve above Larkspur.
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 66): King Mountain Loop Trail
Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Browse hikes on the main Hikes page or on the Hike Search by Area page. Check out selected articles and interviews under Media. Click World Walks to see or share favorite family-friendly walks! Stay in touch with Lisa Louis and HikingAutism via Contact. See products with inspiring designs that support the efforts of HikingAutism under Support/Shop. The Links page lists a loose collection of helpful information links.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Feel free to share and follow on Facebook at HikingAutism, follow on Twitter at @HikingAutism and Instagram at lisalouis777
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.