Can a toddler hike the whole East Coast Trail… ALONE?
Maybe it’s possible. Maybe it isn’t. We don’t know yet.
But our two-and-a-half-year-old, Amélie, is giving it a try.
The rules are simple. So simple that there’s only one, which Séb has taken to call “The Rule of the Hike”: She takes every step. We hold her hands & help her keep her balance on treacherous parts of the trail, but we don’t carry her forward. When we’re done walking for the day, we carry her back. To resume an interrupted hike, we carry her to the point where she stopped the day before.
It took an hour to get ready. Which shoes should Amélie be wearing? How are we going to tell if she’s too warm in her many layers? Are her hands going to be cold in those wool mittens? Is Évangéline going to be warm enough? Too warm?
When we finally make it out the door, it’s 5:30pm and the sun has already gone down quite a bit. It’s already starting to be too cold for the clothes we’d put on Amélie. We aren’t even at the top of the hill next to our house when Amélie looks up at her dad and said, “Papa, can you carry me?”
Séb manages to convince her to walk up the rest of the hill, where we call it a day. With only 150 metres between our house and Alder Hill Road, this is a very discouraging performance for the first day. But it’s a first attempt at establishing the necessary routine and getting Amélie to understand The Rule of the Hike.