With vacation behind us, I plugged in the camera's SIM card and watched the photos jump into my computer. Smiling faces, funny poses, and the beautiful presence of our family are now documented and preserved.
We are not a very athletic family, so we decided to start the beginning of our trip with a few hiking trails. (Yes, denial and a hope to one day be in shape is alive and well in our family.)
My husband comes from a background where he led hiking tours – 20+ years ago. My daughters and I, we indulge in the occasional walks around the neighborhood. Also, we often take walks from the car into Target.
(A bit of foreshadowing there for you.)
The Middle Child is possibly the most athletic – there is hope for him. Little did he know that the fate of his family rested on his young shoulders that day.
We laced up our sneakers and headed out of our cabin. We were met with majestic pine trees and beautiful views. With a map in hand (yes, an actual paper one), we located the trails we wanted to try. (Don’t worry. Hubby spoke to a Park Ranger while I was buying souvenirs. I was assured we would be sticking to the "easy" trails.)
We enjoyed a short ¾ mile hike, that took us around 30 minutes. Not bad. We all posed for pictures. Laughed. Admired the foliage and small creek that ran alongside the trail.
Feeling confident, we headed to Trail #2. This was the beginning of the end for our clueless, happy family.
Diva wanted a snack. Also her allergies were acting up, so I dug out the Sudafed from our backpack, that also doubled as a laptop bag when not on vacation. With her drugged and a handful of Cheez-its, we carried on.
I had noticed fellow hikers passing us, outfitted with hiking boots and sticks (aka Trekking Poles to the more experienced people). Also their backpacks were rugged looking. Their packs were also harnessed around their waists. Their belongings strapped high above their shoulders.
Quite different from the tissues, allergy medication, and small baggies of snacks that we had Middle Child hauling.
We were amateurs, yet they allowed my family to continue on. Smiling and nodding and quite possibly snickering.
This is when the kids noticed that their phones had no service. Panic flashed across their faces, but we maintained order. This was also the time that Hubby admitted a secret. The trail we were currently on was NOT the trail that the Ranger recommended.
Apparently he had more faith in our athletic ability than I did.
Aggravated Mommy joined our party by this time and the motivational chants escaping Middle Child's mouth became mildly irritating.
"Nice Mom" disappeared somewhere on Mile 2. She is now forever lost in the beautiful, remote wilderness. Never to be seen again. (Wish the children luck!)
We crossed flowing creeks, muddy trails, and small streams. I kept my mind focused on the important facts. There were no insects and we still passed the occasional human. This was a good sign, right?
I could no longer take the Middle Child's verbal reminders of how we shouldn't stop. That rest was for the weary - blah, blah, blah. His motivational chanting needed to be squashed. Fortunately for him, he was too far ahead, so pushing him down the mountain was not an option.
“Pick a tree.” was the response when a potty break was requested. Needless to say, Diva Child decided to hold it. I did too.
Bear jokes were no longer funny. The happy, smiling family disappeared. My thought? Happy Family figured it was safer to retreat and search for Happy Mommy.
This was the portion that the Ranger recommended. Leave it to us to take the long way around.
I noticed more families meandering this portion. I should have warned them, but I had quit speaking full sentences. Apparently, Cordial Mommy had been swept away in the last river we had crossed.
Don't feed the bears?
Seriously through, I found that we were stronger than I gave us credit for. We are not quitters. My family made it to the end and no matter how tired we were, we enjoyed survived every second.
This gives me hope that my children will face life in the same way. Pulling their strength from deep within. Reaching their goals, no matter the obstacles that stand in their way.