A hike and a realization – a pretty perfect day

We’ve recently found ourselves with a lot more time to spend together as a family, especially on the weekends. While the reason for this has caused a great deal of stress, I also realize we have to take advantage of it and enjoy every chance we can to spend time together. The tricky part is coming up with something fun to do that is either super inexpensive or just plain free. This past weekend we decided on apple picking. We do it every year and although it’s bittersweet since it’s a sure sign fall, and ultimately winter are coming, I thoroughly enjoy picking bags of apples and then baking lots of delicious goodies with our bounty. I visited the website of the orchard we planned to visit and found that it was actually a bit early for the apples we were hoping to pick so we decided to wait another week, but I was insistent that we come up with another plan to get outside and enjoy each other and the beautiful weather. I suggested a hike. We have several trails in our area and we rarely do any hiking, but there’s one in particular that Paul likes and we had wanted to take the kids there for a while so we all agreed that this was a fun idea, or at least I tried to be very convincing that it would be loads of fun. I made a few sandwiches and packed them along with some fruit and other goodies, plus filled water bottles for everyone. Nick insisted he bring his pocket knife and small flashlight. The reason? In case we end up stuck on the mountain after dark, Mom. I assured this was not going to happen, but allowed him to bring them, you know, just in case. We drove to the hiking area and make our way up the dirt path to the trail we intended to hike. After several minutes of walking Nick asked if we were close to the top yet. I explained to him that we weren’t even to the actual hiking trail yet, hoping this wouldn’t lead to moaning and complaining about how much fun he wasn’t having. Instead, he decided he needed a walking stick. He found one a little taller than I would have recommended, but then again, I’m not some sort of walking stick expert so I stayed quiet and secretly wondered how long it would take him to toss it down somewhere when he decided it was too much of a pain to navigate with it. Of course that was never and others we met along the trail commented on how clever he was to find a walking stick, bringing a smile to his face every time. I’m glad he proved my thoughts wrong and held on to it.

About half way up the hiking trail Cody suddenly, and very dramatically, declared that his legs were tired and he wanted to go home. With some pushing and shoving gentle encouragement he continued up the path with the promise of a spectacular view at the top and the reminder he would get to eat once there. He moved forward like a champion. I, on other hand, was bringing up the rear like a pathetic little whiny girl. I should rephrase that. Not like a whiny girly, I was a whiny girl. I can totally own it since mostly I was whining to myself about how out of breath and out of shape that I was because everyone else was so far ahead of me and couldn’t hear my labored breathing and are we there yets? While I’m glad they were mostly spared of all my personal drama, they also kind of suck for not even looking back or waiting for me to catch up every now and then. That’s right. They can’t win. Plus, I might not really be telling the whole truth. They did stop every now and then…….to admire the trees. What makes this more pathetic? This particular trail was only .5 miles. Mind you, .5 miles on a hiking trail is much more challenging than it would be to walk down the street that far, but still, it was a huge wake-up call for me. I’m clearly out of shape and should probably spend more time away from hiking trails. Clearly.

Finally we made it to the summit and immediately awed at the beautiful view and almost instantly spread our blanket so we could sit and eat. It was perfect up there. Just us, a wonderful view, a beautiful blue sky filled with sunshine, and the peaceful sounds of basically nothing. It was so nice to just be for a while and not worry about anything except where to sit to the take in the view and fill our bellies before the trek back down the trail. We sat, we ate, Nick wittled away at his walking stick (see Mom, it’s a good think I brought my knife, right?), guzzled plenty of water, and talked about how we needed to this more often. Just like there were several trails to choose from along the original dirt path, there was also another choice for our descent down, so we thought we’d give it a try for variety. Variety in the woods? I know you are totally nodding your head in agreement. Come to find out, the variety was the fact that the trail down turned out to be 2.1 miles instead of the .5 we took on our way up to the top. Not exactly the kind of variety I’d prefer, but it certainly took us longer, which meant that much more time together away from computers and televisions and other distractions of the real world.



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