November 18, 2022

The hike was just about over and suddenly one of the moms and her baby were missing from our group.  It was quite shocking because when I hike with any group, I constantly count heads.  I messed up, but luckily the mother texted me to let me know her baby lost a boot and they were backtracking.  Of course, I said goodbye to the group and they headed back to the barn. I was on a mission to make sure this mom and baby did not get lost and hopefully we’d find the missing boot.

I was relieved to catch up with the mom and the outward facing baby in a backpack, who was getting an extra-long hike. We joined forces and began our reverse hike.  What started out as a worrisome hike for the mom, blossomed into a lovely experience for both of us.   It was an opportunity to chat about life. As we strolled the rolling hills, she revealed the history of her family, the challenges of coming to a country not knowing how to speak English, experiences of her younger years and the joys and worries of being a parent.

As we shuffled through the brown and yellow leaves, we divulged our thoughts to one another. We learned things we never would have known if it weren’t for the missing boot. 

During the hike I radioed the park rangers to be on the lookout for a tiny brown boot.  The rangers were our backup, as they walk every trail of Avalon throughout the day.  The boot had to be found.  But not just yet. There were still trails to stroll along and more to learn about one another.  Oh, how I wish I could walk individually with all my moms from my Baby Backpack class.  Such powerful and loving women only wanting the best for their families. 

The quiet of the trails was broken by a call on the radio. The boot had been found!  Some kind hiker left it atop a trail sign.  We were so relieved, especially because they were pretty special boots.  

As we approached the solitary boot, I realized that we had walked almost the whole hike in reverse.   The sweet boot on the baby’s foot had found its mate amongst a beautiful fall setting.  The mom and I bonded as a result of the missing inanimate foot covering.  Our lives were forever changed.  Thank you brown boot.