Hiking Mount Lamlam: A Survivor’s Story
Like many of you stateside, it’s been getting colder here in Guam. Temps have dipped from the low-90s to a frigid 83 with a slight breeze. So we certainly feel your pain.
Anyway. Yesterday, despite the elements, our family decided to do this hiking thing once again. And this time we brought friends. Having done this twice already, I knew that hiking with kids is a recipe for endless whining, exaggeration, and drama.
Foreshadow alert: this particular hike was no exception.
We decided to hike Mount Lamlam. It’s supposed to be a family-friendly hike with beautiful views. We didn’t know this at the time, but it’s the highest mountain peak in Guam. We came prepared: sunscreen, matching Nike hats, and copious amount of sour cream and onion chips. Everything you would ever need.
Like all other hikes in Guam, Mount Lamlam is marked by pretty much nothing. If you look hard enough, you’ll find a sign that looks like it was made with a piece of construction paper and written by a 3rd grader. It says “Mt. Lamlam ->.” It’s best to not think about the tax dollars that likely went into the making of this sign…
Our destination was the summit of this really big hill. And we were ready.
So off we went. Nobody needed to go potty, nobody was thirsty, and nobody was injured. It was all good…
And then it started. Think: “I want to be the leader!” Think: “Nathaniel always get to be the leader!” Think “DAD BRODY JUST PUSHED ME!!!”
So within minutes of hiking my heart rate is climbing, and it has nothing to do with this mountain.
Onward and upward we go. There are a bunch of random crosses lined throughout this hike, which prompts Riley to ask: “is this where Jesus died?” Not quite. “Then who died here?” I don’t know sweetheart. “Whoever it was must have been really special.” Indeed.
About 5 minutes later, the kids begin a chorus of “how much farther is it?” Oh, and we have our first casualty. Ms. Sabrina suffers a leg injury and cannot carry on. We weigh the options and ultimately did what Dwight Schrute would have told us to do: leave her behind. Before doing so, we offered her an orange. Pathetically, she replies: “Just roll it down the hill to me.”
We keep going. All our kids want Gatorade but alas we only have water. The kids also want lunch because, you know, they’re starving. They each had lunch before we left, and we gently remind them of this. Aaaaaand we are tyrants.
Making matters worse, we only have two bottles of water and they are both pretty much filled with ice. Lacking this vital life-source, I take solace in the notion that our matching Nike hats still looked great.
We carry on and discover lots of boonie-bees. One child reminds the others that “bees will sting you and they are poisonous and you can die.” This is a scientific fact he learned on the internet. Naturally, panic ensues. For the first time, the kids are happy to let me be the leader.
We reach something that resembles the top of the hill. The kids are all exhausted and assure me they “can’t walk.” We are also out of water. Surely it’s time to turn around. We stop so the kids can eat some chips, thus avoiding sure-death.
It turns out that we were like 100 feet away from the ACTUAL top of the hill. This is cause for celebration.
If you didn’t believe me about running out of water, you’ll notice Riley is clearly sucking on ice. But no time for that, as a bigger storm is brewing…
See, Jimmy gets to hold the can of Pringles, which is no fair because he “always gets to hold the can.” See, any five year old knows that holding the can of Pringles that you’re supposed to be sharing is the definition of having power. Indeed, Jimmy has all the power.
Anyway, fits are thrown.
Eventually, we make Jimmy put down the Pringles and Brody reluctantly joins the family for yet another epic picture.
So we made it to the top of Mount Lam Lam. Total distance on this torturous death-march is exactly 1.1 miles. Like, just over four laps around a track.
Time to head back. The kids want to ensure we haven’t forgotten that they are so, so tired. And then Brody slips down a rock. I have mercy and carry him on my shoulders.
Riley doesn’t like the fact that she’s walking while Brody is having the time of his life, and begins begging for me to carry her instead. So eventually she gets her way. And when I find Brody is struggling to get down again, I hoist him up on my shoulders. Again. And again, Riley is on the prowl. “How come Brody gets two turns on your shoulder and I only get one turn.”
This, in a nutshell, is hiking with needy kids.
We find a steep death-drop and decide to take a look. Andrew (11) notes that the view is “beautiful” but insists that we keep heading down because the cliff is “giving him anxiety.” Of course…
Heading down we wonder how our fallen hiker is doing. Her daughter Vivian (5) asks me if I am going to give her mommy a “jelly-hug” when I see her. Naturally, I’m curious. Vivian informs me that a “jelly-hug” is when you “rub jelly on your belly and someone else rubs jelly on their belly and then you give each other a big hug.”
Hmm. Based on this information, I inform Vivian that I will not be giving her mommy a “jelly-hug.” Ever.
A whopping 2.2 miles after we set foot on this adventure, we reach the car. #survivors
Within minutes, we were here:
My overall take is that the climb was actually kinda challenging, and the views ere amazing. I didn’t get much love from my Apple Watch for this workout, but that thing never gives me the credit I feel I deserve. And most importantly, kids say the funniest things on hikes, which is likely what will keep us coming back.
In the meantime, we will do our best to survive the winter chill…