The Sky’s the Limit 2015 Hiking Challenge #8
Lover’s Leap State Park Overlook
New Milford, June 25, 2015
Past the TSTL Challenge halfway point and it’s all downhill from here! (Not really. Not even close. That doesn’t even make sense, as the point of this challenge is to hike up.)
This day, June 25th, will go down as one of the top 25 days of my personal fatherhood. It was a loooooong day, but oh-so-worthwhile. I was alone with Damian, as we were the only ones in my family going for all 14 TSTL spots. In hindsight, I’m very glad I didn’t try to have Calvin do this day’s hikes, as no way would he have made it up the second hike in the afternoon.
It’s a long drive out to Lover’s Leap State Park, but when Damian is alone in the car, he does pretty well. Once parked, he went through his usual tantrum: “No hike today! No hike today!” followed by some self-injury and defiance. This routine is so… routine – that I hardly even notice it anymore. It just is, and he gets over it after a few minutes, and we get down the trail.
In this case, I wanted to get some pictures of him and the historic Berlin Iron Bridge near the park’s entrance, but that would have to wait until we were finished.
The park is small, but has a ton of trails with very intriguing sounding waypoints throughout. The “Tea House,” “The Castle,” etc. Well, we passed the “castle” and didn’t even realize it. These are just tumble-down remnants of old stone buildings, so don’t get too excited for that stuff.
You must follow the map very closely here, as the abundance of poorly maked and signed trails makes it a bit difficult to know if you are on the right path. For the purposes of the TSTL Challenge, I went with the ol’ “just keep going up” mantra, and it worked.
The final push to the required viewpoint is pretty steep, insofar as the TSTL points tend to be. It was a bit warm and the no-see-ums were bothering Damian, who had some fairly significant difficulties getting up the final climb.
Hiking with a 9-year-old with Smith-Magenis Syndrome has its difficulties to say the least, as he yelled and punched himself up the final 1/4 mile or so. When it was time for the overlook pictures, it all went to pot, with a full on tantrum. But, as is often the case, we made it down fine, got some better pictures at the Housatonic overlook, and then even took a few on the historic bridge before going to get some lunch.
I don’t often bother highlighting Damian’s behaviors anymore, but sometimes it overwhelms the moment or is the defining story of a post I write. In this case, I’m setting you up for why special needs parenting can be so immensely rewarding that it brings tears to my stoic face.
Such was the case a few hours later at our next TSTL stop at Macedonia Brook State Park…
CTMQ’s Sky’s the Limit Challenge Page
DEEP’s Sky’s the Limit Challenge Page
Debbie saysJanuary 1, 2023 at 3:08 pm
I have enjoyed reading about the trails and your experiences with your boys. I hike with two boys who have autism and I have the no hike days and falling asleep before we get there and crying during the transitions from car to trails. I also have the days of nose smashing and head squeezes too and we must eat in every hike and find or make a bathroom too and we never get as far as you do on the hikes because it just doesn’t happen. It takes us several tries on a trail going a little further and then turning back- and if there is an unleashed dog it’s all down hill. I wish people would realize that kids with autism are impulsive and dogs don’t like sudden movements even if they are friendly and not everyone e likes a dog sniffing them. I’m surprised we never met on the trails but if you ever hear a sound of a bird or something you don’t recognize it’s us. Ive actually rounded a few trails and have bumped into people who actually said to me oh! I couldn’t think what animal was making that noise! Sheesh.