Hiking Staffs & Message from Matthew in Tennessee
I have received and to you I want to thank you for something I would have never thought of. We (my wife, 2 children and myself) started to go and see some waterfalls recently and get our children involved with nature and the world around them. We had gone a couple of hikes before and decided to take some small adventures to see if they would be up for them. I wanted to give you a little personal story about our (my sons) walking stick because of what the trail badges mean to us. Our first one was local to us to Abrams Falls, which we started late in the day but ended up being the perfect time of day to be there. My son, our oldest, wanted to take his “walking stick” that he had found from some fresh cut trees around our house so he could feel “comfortable”. He was 9 at the time. I told him that it is fine not thinking of what would come with a kid with a stick. We tracked out on our hike and they were all champs pushing through the entire hike that Abram had to bring. The entire time my son would not let go of that stick. We made it there and back with luckily only one small issue, other then a couple of scrapes on the little ones wanting to rush. On our last 0.2 miles of the trail back my son says “dad there is a bear back there.” I giggle as we keep walking and look back and say “those are just tree limbs moving around close to the ground and I believe you are just seeing things.” I honestly did not see anything where he showed me. As well as can be we continued hiking along. He keeps looking back and I keep silently giggling and wondering if he is just seeing things and letting his imagination run wild while we were walking through the woods, we had continued on for about 20yds, it wasn’t until he stops and at that point he stands strong and says “no dad that is a bear”. I look closer to find about 40yrds away now a teen bear walking out to the trail behind us minding it’s own business walking across the trail we had just passed. I look at him and he just says “ I told you” I turn and said “yes sir let’s just continue on”. I came home that night and told him that I was going to make sure that he would always remember that day and wanted him to enjoy what life was. A shaved down some of the bark and burned his name into that stick and told him that we would continue going on hikes and see amazing stuff like that. I told him every hike we go on that we will find a way to remember each one.
Since then we have now gone on two more hikes. We traveled to hike Cummins Falls and hike Fall Creek Falls. Trying to get into the waterfall theme that Tennessee has to offer. None the less we made our way to the Fall Creek Falls gift shop after our hike back and we found your medallions that they had. When my son saw these the first thing he said was “dad we can use these to remember every hike and put it on my walking stick”. He was the first to see the display and I said “you are correct”.
To you I thank you for providing something that means so much to me and my son. You have provided a source to a memory that we will now be able to look at anytime and remember for our entire lives. Thank You!
Matthew from Tennessee