Our mantra this week: a hike a day keeps the _________ away. And our fill in the blanks bordered on pysochotic episodes and hinted at our biggest struggles; boredom, crazy, anger, tantrums, fun (you may have guessed who this one belonged to), lethargy, mental blocks, sugar bugs (again, you may have a guess as to who added that one), bad attitudes, and on and on and on.
I was at our cabin near Donner Lake with just my girls this week (hubbs and son still in San Diego for football practice). My experiment with “a hike a day” came with no other motive than to get outside as much as possible and explore the mountains. However, knowing full well that my oldest daughter is prone to lots of eye rolling and exasperated sighs and full on verbal assaults when asked to do anything involving outside activity, (in particular, hiking), I also thought it might be a chance for her to actually experience the benefits herself rather than me just forcing them on her. I actually thought (silly me) that on day 7 she might be wanting to go a few more days, asking where we were going to go next with a bit of enthusiasm. Maybe, just maybe, after 7 days of nature walks, pretty wildflowers, beautiful views, sunshine, and swimming in cool mountain lakes she might have a change of heart; she might realize that doing all that is actually a good thing and does relieve a bit of inner angst.
I was wrong. Dead wrong. Only 2 out of the 3 of us made it to day 7. And all that ‘hike a day’ bologne looked me in the face with squinted eyes and a sly and sarcastic smile and said, “how are you going to make me do anything”. And parenting fails commenced and they have taken their toll on all of us. And I would like to say that it all worked itself out, but it hasn't yet. And we're still face down in the weeds. And this week looked much different than I wanted it to. But I have to say, that even in the midst of all that failure, and dust in the face, there was a bit of success. Maybe small ones, baby steps...or should I say, toddler trips on rocks and tree roots. My littlest one actually came off the week with a dirty face, bloody knees, bruised up shins and small bits of gravel in her palms. And I call that a good week. This girl has been so cautious these first 3 years, taking her time to try new things and never doing anything that might involve falling. Well, I can say with new confidence after a week of hiking, that we may be building up a bit of adventurousness and bravery and, dare I say, a little tiny bit of toughness in the young one. She was all gusto and no holding back, swimming naked in icy lakes, climbing every bit of granite she could find and running on almost every packed part of trail. And every once in a while, completely at random, “Mama, isn’t it so amazing out here?” and “Mama, thank you for taking me to so many places.”
And a fail with one might also be a success with another. As much as I want everything to be a win-win, I’ve got to roll with the punches and do my best to come out better on the other side.
[photo disclaimer: these were all taken on my very, very, very crappy phone camera, so I apologize for the poor quality. However, I don’t apologize for the fact that I left my ‘real’ camera at home intentionally this week. Sometimes, my passion for photos takes over everything I do and I have trouble living in the moment. I wanted to be present as much as possible and not fidget with and focus on making the best picture instead of playing with my girls. There will be more times for great pictures. This week, the time was for all of us to just be together...so phone snaps will have to do!]
DAY ONE: Summit Lake Trail
DAY TWO: Lollipop Tree via JP's
DAY THREE: Lake Azalea via a portion of the PCT
DAY FOUR: PCT to Lookout Point
DAY FIVE: Brockway Summit Trail
DAY SIX: Long Lake
DAY SEVEN: Donner Memorial State Park and Campground