It was hard, but there were only a few moments where hard escalated to frustrating. I loved the feeling of climbing, drenched in sweat, heavy pack on my back, pushing up the mountain and covering ground. Hard yes, but gloriously so.
I loved living outdoors. Being outdoors 24 hours a day. Cooking, eating, working, resting, sleeping outdoors. I loved the mornings, waking up to the sun and coffee with the view the sound and the smell of the mountains.
I loved most of all the undistracted time with my sons. God, I'm proud of them! I loved the fits of uncontrolled giggling at slug handholds, and "toilet issues," and our lack of musical ability. I loved our call and response versions of "Winnie the Pooh," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "If I Had a Hammer" along with the "Rocky" theme. We were desperate enough to sing "My Country Tis of Thee" but drew the line at "the Alphabet Song" and "Happy Birthday." We studied the way of the slug (slimy but sticky) and harnessed our inner "Warrior Bear Spirit - Winnie the Pooh." They told me a lot about things they are more interested in than I am (Warhammer, D&D, remote control planes) but I had time to listen and I loved it!
I loved the pride we felt each time we reached a peak, and each time one of them took the lead when one or the other would have a surge of energy and propel us forward.
Even the very hard night when we were only "pretty sure" we'd make it to the shelter before dark, when we were all exhausted and the trail markings seemed sparse in the swampy dark section of the woods, when their spirits and energy were at their lowest I loved watching them keep moving, keep making good decisions, looking for blazes, measuring time and distance, weighing options and finally arriving. I love the reminder that hard times will happen, but they can be overcome and they do pass.
I loved the beauty and variety of terrain. The stunning views, mossy emerald walkways, dense forest, rocky climbs, dirt paths, swampy dark woods, ladders, and twisted trees. So many times we stopped to admire, observe and photograph. I loved the bird songs cutting through the woods or sparking on the rays of sunshine. I loved the fresh green smells.
I'm home now, I slept better in my own bed and with the rain falling outside I'm grateful for the roof over my head. But a part of me misses that feeling. Misses living outside. Misses the simplicity. I am SO grateful for the time with my sons without distraction I hope they feel a sense of strength, power, self-reliance, and pride.
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