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  • Writer's pictureJason Weening


HEY DADS! Are you a hiker? Do you walk with your kids? We do a lot of walking with our family. It’s healthy. It’s interactive.

It’s free. Usually. 

We have some missionary friends, EveryDay Ministries Canada, in the Dominican Republic who opened a Family Resource Center to help children and single moms. They are planning to renovate the second floor of their newly acquired building. Last year they hiked Pico Duarte, the highest mountain in the Caribbean, to raise funds for the initial project. This year they want to raise $15,000 for the reno’s and they invited us to hike with them. I recruited my three teen daughters and training began. Game on.

Pico Duarte is no small hill. It’s over 10,000 feet tall. Some people attempt the hike in two days but we would do it in three. Day 1 – 18 km up to base camp. Day 2 – 5 km to the summit (at 3:30am) and 5 km back to base camp. Day 3 – 18 km down. The total hike was 46 km.

I tried to prepare my aging dad bod for the ordeal. We found out another family was bringing their 11-year-old daughter and I realized I had no excuses. When my 67-year-old friend joined the team, I really had no excuses. Excuses weren’t the only thing we didn’t have. We didn’t have any hiking gear. Sort of. We did have two flashlights and one sleeping bag. Kind of tight for four people. No tent. No boots. Lots of flip-flops. Not helpful.

I started texting all my contacts in the DR looking for gear we could borrow. We managed to secure 3 hiking poles, 2 flashlights, another sleeping bag and a sleeping mat. The hiking guides had a tent we could use. Excellent. We were told sandals were not appropriate for a 46km hike so we had to find some hiking boots. Google helped me locate all the hiking boot stores around. There was a total of uno (That means “one” for all you non-Spanish speakers). It was only three hours away. On a bus.

We bought our tickets and headed to the big mall in Santo Domingo, the capital of the DR, to the only Columbia sportswear store in the country. Lots of over-priced clothing and camping gear there. Even over-priced hiking boots. Plus the18% Dominican tax. My cheap dutchness cringed as we piled four pairs of $200 boots onto the counter. Since this is the DR I turned on my super-slick Spanglish negotiation tactics. Smiling at the young lady behind the counter, I politely asked, “Since we’re buying four pairs can you give us a discount, like 50% maybe?”

“No, senor.” Strike one.


“No, no, senor.” Strike two.


“No, senor. No. We are a new store and I will be fired if I give you a discount.” Strike three.

Negotiation, indeed. I grumpily pulled out my Visa card. So much for free walking.

I guess expensive boots are better than expensive broken ankles. We were now geared up and ready for our hike. Actual hiking adventure to come next week. I was really excited to brag to you about my negotiation skills this week. Time flies, dads! Make every moment count! Even three-hour bus rides to buy expensive hiking boots. 

On a serious note, if you’d like to donate to EDMC’s Family Resource Center go to

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