Childhood Memories: The Glen

It’s funny the things we remember from or about childhood. Everything seemed bigger, cooler, more magical. And it really feels that way looking back. Nostalgia is such a strong feeling! So to shake up the routine this weekend, I decided it was time to hike “The Glen.”

The glen is a gully that runs along the side of my parents’ lake house and up the hill to the road. As kids, we played in the glen almost every weekend. We built forts, looked for salamanders, and climbed as far as we dared. Technically the rule was “don’t climb past the first waterfall” but despite my rule-following tendencies as an adult, I never followed that rule as a kid!

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My sister at the first waterfall!

I’ve had stitches once in my life and they are from the glen. How did I get them? When I was really little, the rule was that I had to stay where I could still see the house. After I had walked a little ways down the gully, I turned back to check if I could still see the house…and I fell and split my knee open. Sometimes it’s dangerous to follow the rules!

True to form, my dad was very worried when my sister and I told him we were going to hike the glen this weekend: “It’s too steep. You won’t get very far before you have to turn back.” But we knew we could do it.

The first part of the walk to the “first waterfall” was pretty easy. Then we found a tree that had fallen across the glen. Just like in childhood, that meant it was playtime!

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Just hanging around!
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Setting up the perfect shot!

The glen was much smaller, narrower, and shorter than I remembered. Which makes sense since we were a lot smaller the last time we climbed it. (I’m pretty sure it’s been about 20 years for me.) It made me think of an interview I read with the kids from the Sound of Music movie. When they went back to Salzburg as adults, they were shocked by how small the “Do-Re-Mi Steps” were!

Do Re Mi

So we made it to the top of the glen pretty quickly…but not too easily. The climb was slippery and tricky when there were no obvious places to put your feet. I’m sure it felt easier as kids when we had a lot less fear! But that didn’t stop us from reaching the end!


The way back down was even scarier than the climb to the top. It reminded me of one day when we were playing in the glen as kids and a lot more water was running through it. My best friend’s little sister, Jessie started to fall and slide down the glen and I caught her before she went over one of the waterfalls. Being kids, this seemed like a BIG deal and we forever referred to it as the day that I “saved Jessie’s life.” I  wish I could go back as an adult and watch that incident unfold. Was it as dangerous as we thought? Probably…we did some slipping and sliding as adults and it was pretty scary.

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This visit to childhood was fun, a little scary, and very dirty. And I regret nothing.



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