Nothing inspires me to get outside with my boys more than the stories and experiences shared by other outdoor loving parents. One of my all-time favorite stories about hiking with kids is Patricia Ellis Herr’s book, “Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure.”

“Up” is a must-read for parents who want to get out on the trail with their children. Trish and Alex’s ascent of the 48 highest peaks in the White Mountains not only demonstrates that kids are so much more capable than we realize, but that anything is possible with enough preparation, planning, and practice.

Book Review: "Up" by Patricia Ellis Herr

“Up” is the true story of a mother and daughter’s quest to summit all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000+ foot mountains. Setting out on the adventure at the incredible age of five years old, Alex, with the support and encouragement of her mom, Trish, managed to climb all 48 mountains inside of 15 months. Together, peak after peak, they learned how to safely hike through all four seasons, the importance of recognizing when to press on and when to turn back, and the value of having faith in their own abilities, regardless of the opinions of others.

This book really strikes a chord with me. Trish and Alex’s climb up the highest of the White Mountains wonderfully illustrates that children are so much more capable than we often realize. As the parent of two young boys, it is incredibly inspiring to see what can be accomplished when you let go of your expectations and give kids the chance to push themselves as far as they want to go. I’ve been pleasantly surprised time and time again by my own kids’ abilities when I’ve given them the opportunity to dictate our pace.

Even more heartening than the thought that our kids are more capable than we sometimes acknowledge is the concept that anything is possible with enough preparation, planning, and practice. On a personal level, this idea speaks the loudest to me. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the gap between my current skill set and the lofty goals I have for myself, especially when the intensity of life with little kids leaves almost no extra time or energy for the learning and experience required to grow. Instead of giving up and labeling my dreams as impossible, if I simply take stock of the little pieces of knowledge and experience I gain with each baby step I take, I realize that I am indeed learning and growing and moving in the direction I need to go.

“If you want to do something big, something daring and grand and huge, then don’t automatically shrug and assume that you’re too young, too old, too weak, too busy, too poor, too frazzled, or too small. Learn, persevere, sweat. Take the time to figure out how to do it correctly, then go to it with a giant spirit of adventure and enjoy the climb.”

If you are a lover of the outdoors, I highly recommend reading “Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure”; even more so if you are a parent who longs to foster that same love in your children. The lessons learned on the way up each of New Hampshire’s highest mountains are inspiring and relevant to every adventure loving family.

Order your own copy of “Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure” on Amazon.

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