Dandelion, Bear Hug, and Blue Jay hike on Mantario

A new trail name has been bestowed upon me and I accept it with pride. Going forward, while I still feel like Wonder Woman, I shall be known as Dandelion.

I am sure I am reading far more into the symbolizm of a dandelion than the thought that went into the name choice from my husband, Bear Hug and daughter, Blue Jay.

A dandelion has the strength to rise above the challenges that life throws at it. It is humble and long lasting.

Flowermeaning.com says a dandelion is a visual reminder of the sun, especially when depression makes it hard to stay sunny. A dandelion is cheerful and happy. Except when it is not 🤪

I was given my trail name yesterday while my family and I hiked approx 12km on Mantario Trail. We hiked 6km before stopping for lunch and then went back the way we came towards the trail head for an additional 6km.

Mantario is the hardest trail Blue Jay has hiked and I am beyond proud with how amazing she rocked it.

She knew going in that the trail would be challenging and we talked about mind over body. I don’t like the word “hard.” It sounds so cut and dry. The words “challenging and difficult“ allow for more space to grow and encourages flexibility to find your own version of success.

She loved seeing the variety of mushrooms, finding animal burrows, and using fallen trees as balance beams. She did an amazing job overall and her enthusiasm right to the end was mind blowing.

She is a runner and has competed in 2km races. I had a feeling that her endurance training from running would serve her well on a long and challenging hike. Her attitude, most of all is what impressed me the most. Even when she was tired she was optimistic.

She soared up rock scrambles with ease. She has always been a climber and without fear to swing around on jungle gyms. She learned to walk two days shy of turning 10 months old and she hasn’t slowed down, eager to see what lies beyond.

At one rock scramble, I was too busy watching her in awe and I was not paying attention to my own footing. I missed a step and ended up falling back towards my husband who caught me but not before I got a jagged piece of rock between my bum cheeks. I was fine but ouch, did that ever hurt!

On one particular climb up onto a large rock, I suggested to my daughter that she try climbing from a different location because it would be easier. “No, I want to challenge myself!” She took a running start and hauled herself up like she was some kind of mini wilderness-parkour master-in-training.

Between the three of us we only needed one day pack and I was happy to pack and carry it. I felt pride that I was able to help my family-team with that job. I also wanted to ease Blue Jay onto Mantario and for her to not carry any weight.

Blue Jay has been asking for a “real hiking pack” like mine. She’s tried on a few youth and extra-small adult 30 L packs over the last few months. She doesn’t know this yet but yesterday she earned her “real hiking pack.” I will be making the final decision on which pack and purchasing it for an overnight hike in September.

Bear Hug and I are talking about taking Blue Jay overnight on Mantario in October, weather permitting on the weekend that we are available. It will be cooler during the day for hiking which is a bonus since we are not big fans of the heat. We should be comfortable overnight in our small 4-person tent with our sleeping pads and bags. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather holds and we can go.

I am feeling incredibly grateful and blessed to have shared an amazing opportunity with my family. My husband works a lot and often it is just Blue Jay and I heading off on adventures. I’m very happy that Bear Hug was eager and able to join. Cheers to family!

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