The Glow of Companionship
Navigating slippery rocks along a fast running creek, following subtle paths through back fields past frog ponds and fallen barns, hiking up sandy, pine tree-lined paths for an Adirondack view. Through steamy summers and icy winters, my childhood was filled with simple but wondrous walks in rural Upstate New York.
Barbed wire fence to step through? We learned to do that on our own from an early age, but it was nice to have dad or a brother there to step on the lower wire and lift the middle wire to make it less likely to tear a hole in your jacket.
I walked countless miles in the company of my brothers, dad, and friends. Hard to believe that many of those miles were walked in silence (for those who know me to never stop talking). But we did often walk in silence, broken only by a quiet comment when a rabbit or pheasant was spotted in the distance.
There is an indescribable sense of camaraderie that comes with walking together, even without sharing words.
Now I walk miles of ocean view paths and steep rocky trails with my severely autistic son in the San Francisco Bay Area. For him, not talking incessantly (as I often do) is not a choice. Difficulty with language means that long conversations are not possible for him.
And yet he has companionship as he walks his many miles. Mom, dad, big brother, family friends.
He has also had the good fortune of walking side by side with treasured special needs helpers, whether on nature trails or city streets. Their gift is the warm glow of care and friendship as he navigates his way through a world that is extra challenging for those whose neurosensory systems process things differently. His life is better for it though he may not easily say thank you.
May we all enjoy walks alone when we want them, but have the joy of a trail buddy on parts of our paths through life.
This week’s Hike Notes, Dipsea Trail from Pantoll, introduces a scenic portion of a favorite Mt. Tam loop hike, leading through dark and twisty tree-lined paths as well as broad open spaces with grand ocean views.
The long list of Hikes can be found on the Quick View Hike List and on the main Hikes page. All past Insights posts can also be viewed in the Insights/Hike Update News archives.
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! Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Please feel free to share.
New this week:
Hike Notes 122: Dipsea Trail from Pantoll
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.