This morning, Simon and I hiked up Le Chameau, the highest point on the island of Terre-de-Haut, Les Saintes, while Barrie and the other two boys visited Fort Napoleon. “Chameau” is French for camel, so this little island mountain makes me think of Camel’s Hump, perhaps the best known peak in our home state of Vermont. Simon is a reluctant hiker, but frequent breaks and water stops and cute baby goat sightings helped him get to the top.
The views were beautiful and would have been breathtaking if we weren’t already out of breath from the uphill climb.
Along the way we discussed our mutual fear of heights, and Simon admitted that one reason he doesn’t like them is that he feels the urge to jump. I think he was relieved when I told him that I feel the same way, that it’s not uncommon, and that there must be some psychological explanation for it. We agreed to Google it later, and I silently hoped that I was right and that we would not discover we were psycho. [I just looked this up and learned that it’s due to cognitive dissonance: “The good news is that you’re not crazy, and you don’t want to die on some deep unconscious level. Rather what you’re feeling is the natural fear of extreme heights coupled with a little confusion.” Whew.]
The top was breezy and beautiful, and Simon forgot his fears and bounded around, exploring the rocks and the old watchtower at the top, while I felt thankful for the opportunity to spend some “one-on-one time” with this kid, who is ten-year-old tough but still wanted to hold my hand much of the way up and down.
When we finished the hike and walked back to town, we stopped at a cafe to enjoy a milkshake (him) and a beer (me) over a game of Goofenspiel while people walked and scooters whizzed past in the street. There are few cars on the island; motor scooters are the most common mode of transportation. At one point, I looked down the street and noticed something familiar about the figures approaching on an orange scooter:
In way less time than it took Simon and I to hike Le Chameau, the other three rented a scooter and drove every single road on the island. I thought Simon would be disappointed to learn that he had missed out on the scooter ride, but he seemed just as excited to tell his brothers about the hike (and the brioche I bought him beforehand) as they were to tell him about their scooter tour with Dad. Thanks, Le Chameau.