A trip to ‘the top of the world’

Going down was the hardest part, and that wasn’t because I was worried about my 5-year-old boy falling. The hard part was giving up our title.

We had just hiked/climbed to the top of Big Butte. To the very top, too, not just the top of the road where people often drive. We looked down on the ‘Big M’ and the ravens who were hovering around Butte’s landmark namesake.

“I’m king of the world,” Grady yelled, not knowing that he was acting a lot like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the movie Titanic. “We’re the kings of the world.”

Late Saturday evening, my boy, our dog and I went for the hike Grady had been clamoring to take for weeks. He looks at the mountain on a daily basis and dreams. To him, it is Mount Everest.

So we parked our car at the base of the mountain just off Oro Fino Gulch Road. No, we didn’t drive up the road that takes you just below the ‘Big M’ because Grady doesn’t want to be a cheater.

We took a long walk around the back of the mountain, letting the dog run before we zigzagged our way up the front. Though I caught him just before he fell down a few times, Grady is proud to report that he made it to the top and back down completely on his own.

Along the way, Grady peppered me with about 4 billion questions that have no answer. At least they have no answer I can give. We also argued whether or not the mountain we were climbing is in fact a volcano.

“Yes it is,” Grady said. “No it isn’t,” I said. “Kids have been saying that for years, and they are wrong.”

“Yes it is,” Grady said again.

Grady told me another million stories about WWE wrestlers, with almost all of his stories starting with, “Um, Dad, do you know …” Then we’d argue some more about the volcano.

“Yes it is,” he kept saying.

A cold wind howled, but it didn’t seem to faze the boy. He was on a mission, so much so that he didn’t want to even stop for a minute to enjoy the amazing view of the Mining City as we climbed.

“Come on, dad,” he would yell every time I stopped or slowed down. He wasn’t even interested in me pointing out the tiny McDonald’s sign that you could see if you squinted just right.

That surprised me because the day before we went to McDonald’s for lunch and Grady said, “Hey, I see the ‘M.’ It’s weird that you can see the ‘M’ from McDonald’s, but you can’t see McDonald’s from the ‘M.'”

The boy wasn’t even interested in me pointing out the bulbs that light up the ‘M’ every night. We couldn’t get to the top fast enough for him.

He did, however, take time to stop and point out that the truck at the top of the road was driven by a cheater. “We’re not cheaters,” he said.

On top, Grady looked around all sides. “We’re on top of the world,” he said after unknowingly quoting DiCaprio. Then we exchanged a couple of high fives and called mom, who saw us from our kitchen window as we waved.

I pointed out a few a few buildings and houses, and we joked about how much his older sister would have complained about the long walk if she would have come along.

In all, the walk lasted just about an hour, and it might have been my favorite 60 minutes of my life. It’s at least in the top 10. We had such a great time that we did it again the next day, once again laughing at his older sister’s hypothetical whining.

On top of the mountain was cold and windy. Though a person isn’t going to fall off the face of the mountain, you never quite feel comfortable when it is that windy — especially when you’re with your child. Plus, I have a killer fear of heights.

It’s not easy being kings.

So, we didn’t stay on top of Big Butte for very long. We took a short video and snapped a few photos before walking down the rocky road on the back of the mountain.

Though he objected, I held Grady’s hand for the majority of the trip down. He would have fallen about 30 times and probably rolled all the way to the bottom if I didn’t.

As we got about a quarter way down, we both stopped and looked back up to where we just stood so triumphantly.

“I guess we’re no longer kings of the world,” Grady said before starting to walk again.

“Yeah,” I said, “but we were kings.”

— Sportswriter Bill Foley, whose next conquest is Timber Butte or Mount Baldy, writes a column that appears on ButteSports.com on Tuesdays. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74.

Grady on top of the world.

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