When a new mother was abandoned by her partner, she turned to waterfalls to help put together the pieces of her life.
Alivea Binder’s son Rowdy was only three months old when his father, Kyle Briggs, left their family for Washington state. The eldest of seven children, Alivea grew up in Washington, but moved to Oregon in 2015 to be closer to her father. According to RegisterGuard, “The hardest thing about all of this was becoming a single mom,” explained Alivea. “I was at home so miserable, depressed and sad and lonely.”
Hiking to waterfalls, however, helped lift up her spirits. “Waterfall hikes are so rewarding … You have a destination, something to see, so all the sweat and hating it is worth it in the end,” she added. The hiking became something akin to a mother–son bonding activity, as she brings Rowdy with her, and he’s now nearly a year old.
She set the goal of hiking to 50 waterfalls in a year, and she’ll reach that on Rowdy’s birthday.
“This has been incredible to get out,” she added. “It’s like the second you’re hiking and outdoors, it clears your mind … I tell my family, hiking is my therapy. It’s the best therapy ever.” She also advises that, people should “get out and hike, and get your mind off things. Get out in nature.” For those closer to her position, “Just focus on being a good mom and put all your effort into that.”
Rowdy’s well-being had been important to Alivea even before he was born. He had been nine pounds at birth, whereas she, by her own admission, is “a small person.” Rowdy was also born with jaundice, though it has since cleared up.
Pediatrician, Dr. Todd Huffman, who treated Rowdy for his jaundice, said that Alivea’s story is “inspiring.”
“It’s young parents like Alivea who give me hope for the future,” he said. “She is energetic and curious and articulate. She is a very involved, loving mom and is very eager to show her child the world and teach her child to live big and love nature and explore everywhere.”
“It’s wonderful that Alivea is teaching her child right from the start that there should be no rain or any other weather to slow you down,” Huffman added.
“We’re really proud of her,” added Alivea’s father and Rowdy’s grandfather, Vann. “She packed a lot of miles with a baby in a pack, which isn’t easy, and she did it in the time of year when the weather isn’t all that nice, either.”
What surprises him most is how comfortable his grandson is with the hikes. “We’ve gone on a few hikes with Alivea and offered to take Rowdy, so she could get a break,” Vann added. “The little guy just sits in the pack with a big smile on his face. He’s just like, ‘No problem, let’s go for another hike.’”