Friday March 01, 2013 | 04:23 PM

The kids and I decided to schedule weekly meet-ups to "train" for hiking mountains this summer. Our hope is to get into shape to summit Mt. Washington in the fall. My friend Shannon has decided to join  this adventure with us so we're all committed to making each other accountable. We are planning our weekly "M-dub Club" (our nickname thanks to Shannon's wordsmithing skills) meet-ups to cover at least a few miles of walking/hiking (or cross country skiing as it happened this week) for exercise. We're going with whatever seasonal activity we can manage to get our legs and hearts pumping in anticipation of tackling the 6,288 foot mountain.

The Mount Washington Observatory website has a helpful guide that offers information about the four more popular hiking routes to the summit. No matter which way we choose – Pinkham Notch, Tuckerman Ravine, Ammonoosuc Ravine or Gulfside – we're looking at an elevation gain of at least 3,800 feet. Since our hike last year looped from Little Haystack to Lafayette was an elevation gain of about 3,500 feet, we have a few hundred feet more to tackle. It doesn't sound like much but in thinking back to that adventure (which was awesome for so many reasons), we were working pretty darn hard to summit.

With a friend in the mix relying on us to stay accountable – and of course having an "official" name for our meet-ups helps – we're committed to meeting every week after school/work until the summer when we can plan more weekend adventures.

But already my family's busy life is getting in the way. My 16-year-old has been talking about taking a tractor safety class for years. She has been working at a beef cow farm every week for five years with her 4-H project and they have tractors. She drives the smaller ATV-types on occassion but this summer she wants to drive the big boys. But she needs this tractor safety class under her belt to do it.

So during the month of May we have to find another time for our M-dub Club meet-ups.

But we're committed to training. Really. This is just a minor set-back and we can be flexible.

I just have to keep reminding myself that even if it is a sad state of affairs that I have to "schedule" family fun time into our calendar, I'll do it. This adventure really is just as important as everything else we have on our schedule.

The M-dub club will reign supreme (in theory at least) this year.

All I have to do is think back to amazing adventure the kids and I had last year...

Lunch on the summit of Mt. Lafayette last September.

About the Author

Wendy Almeida has been writing about enjoying the outdoors with kids in her monthly Kid Tracks Outdoors column for the Maine Sunday Telegram for 10 years. Her kids have grown up exploring the trails of Maine on foot, skis and bikes as well as through the geocache and EarthCache games. The family has found treasures of all sorts while out on the trail and the journey continues to be as much fun now that the kids are teenagers as it was when they were preschoolers.

On Twitter and Instagram at @wea1021.

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