Up! A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure

Like me, you might wonder what exactly “peakbagging” is. It’s a goal of reaching the summit of mountains in a certain region or having certain characteristics. In the case of Patricia Ellis Herr, she and her five-year-old daughter Alex set a goal to hike all 48 of New Hampshire’s peaks over 4000 feet. I was drawn to read Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure for several reasons:

  • I love project books, and the mother/child angle made it even more interesting
  • a detailed look at family hiking, an activity I’ve enjoyed with my family
  • the promise of a way to use real-life experiences to teach lessons

The book delivered on those points. What I did not expect was such a moving (yet never overly sentimental) and well-written account. I’ve hiked with my kids (especially when we lived in New England), and they were young as well**. But until I watched this book trailer, I never quite realized just how young she was. She’s a precocious kid, so when reading, I think that I upped her age to her maturity level mentally.

Several of the hikes are shared in a fair amount of detail, along with any obstacles they faced, including a combative bird and bad weather. A lesson is also tied in such as “Ignore the Naysayers,” “Know What You’re Getting Into,” “Some Risks Are Worth Taking.”

One of the best parts was the conversations that came out of the time on the trails, such as why Alex’s mom — who once pursued a Harvard graduate degree — chose not to work. Her answer to Alex is that she wanted to spend time with her children and raise them, and didn’t even plan to finish her degree or go back to work anytime soon because she wants to homeschool her children. The time also allowed Trish to fully observe and affirm certain qualities in Alex such as maturity, perseverance, and her love for and care of animals.

If you live in New England, you might even be inspired to try one of the hikes of the 48 4000-foot mountains that Alex and Patricia hiked. **If not, maybe you’d try the oft-hiked 3100 foot Mount Monadnock that I actually hiked with my two kids (then 6 and 12). Re-reading my account while writing this review, I remember what a struggle that 4 1/2 mile hike was for Kyle (and for me!!), but I was also heartened by my recollection of the encouragement I gave my kids and the memories we made.

We have TWO copies to give away of Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure. Please leave a comment if you’d like to win. We’ll announce the winner here in our weekly book giveaway column on Monday June 11.

The winner of Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers is #4 Grace.


  1. Julie says

    Yes please! I would love to win a copy of this book! My husband, oldest daughter and I have all made a goal to go backpacking together this summer, and I’m so excited! I can’t wait to give this book a read. How interesting!

  2. Susan says

    That mom and her daughters are an inspiration. I love it when mom said “little kids can do big brave thugs” she’s so right!

  3. says

    We hike as well alot. My two and half year old loves to ride in his backpack when we go hiking. This would be a perfect gift for my sister in law with three girls.
    rendancechick at yahoo dot com

  4. Cindi says

    What an amazing and introspective book…
    And one that I would definitely enjoy readings
    and then passing forward to my friends and
    Many thanks, Cindi

  5. says

    This is an AMAZING idea. My daughter is only two now, so I don’t think we’d make it very far quite yet. I had once thought it would be fun to hike with her strapped to my back, but then I heard a story about how a mom was doing just that, and slipped on a rock and fell backward. The kid ended up okay…but the mom broke both her arms cushioning the fall so she wouldn’t crush her daughter.

    Still, I can’t wait to go hiking (and backpacking) with my daughter. I loved doing that sort of thing before she was born, but have given it up for a couple years because it didn’t feel right to go out on my own and leave her with her mother while I had fun. But when I can safely take her with me (and give my wife a break!)…I can’t wait.

    I’m going to check this book out.

  6. Amber Smith says

    What a courageous pair these 2 are. This sounds like a very inspiring book and I’d love to win a copy. Thank you for the opportunity.

  7. Katie Carr says

    Just finished a great hike last night with my friend. We take our kids regularly but not for hikes that are more than 2 miles! I would love a copy of this book so I could pass it around to my friends after reading.

  8. says

    I’ve gone hiking and camping with my kids since they were 2 years old. I remember finding trails I could bring my stroller on while my little guy walked along with me. The book sounds great and it also teaches kids they really can climb any mountain.

  9. connie black says

    This looks like such a good read. We hike as a family alot and would love to read this with my children.

  10. Melissa P. says

    We are a family that loves camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I would love to win a copy of this book. I think it would be a wonderful read.

  11. Sarah says

    We’ll never know what our children are capable of if we do not allow them to experience what life has to offer.
    Having a child is like getting to live one’s life over a little ~ and getting to do things you might not have done while you were young or doing things again that most adults wouldn’t do – unless in the company of a child!
    Get out, enjoy and don’t forget to stop and relish every minute!

    Can’t wait to read the whole book after reading Patricia’s facebook pages and blog…perhaps she’ll come to my favorite bookstore on Cape Cod – Titcomb’s. They LOVE author visits!!

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