Sunday, September 16, 2012

Okay, so maybe we're not ready to be a hiking family *quite* yet.

Not too long ago, I listened to this audiobook.

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, was pretty good. It's the story of Cheryl hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Basically, she hiked for 100 days and recorded her journey and what she learned. (Please note, this is not a family-friendly audiobook. Ms. Strayed talks about being unfaithful to her husband, describes dabbling in heroin use, and uses the F word fairly often. When you have your kids in the car, you'll have to switch from this back to RadioDisney.)

The book touches on a variety of themes ranging from grieving the loss of a loved one, to modern-day nature conservation. Many good conversations with friends could be had over this book, but the parts I was truly facinated with had to do with the actual hiking itself. The author essentially strapped her world on her back and walked through the woods for over three months. She didn't carry a phone or GPS and only enough cash to barely get by when she'd hike to a small town. She pitched her tent and unrolled her sleeping bag when she was tired, purified her own drinking water, and ate light-weight, foul-tasting dried foods.

I started thinking that doing something like that would be so cool. Not for me to do alone, oh no, I think it would be amazing to do as a family. Maybe when Lana's older, I thought. Maybe when she's six or seven we could do something like this. I wasn't thinking 100 days, but maybe two weeks. Short enough that we wouldn't lose our jobs, but long enough to really need to depend on each other and really grow closer as a family.

So, to see how ready we were to do this feat, two Saturdays ago the three of us hiked Kamiak Butte. We've done this hike numerous times, but I really felt Lana (at 3 years old) was old enough and strong enough to walk the 3-mile loop by herself and not need to be carried by either Mama or Daddy.

The parts she did hike, she really liked:

And of course, you can't beat the view.

Despite my thinking that Lana could do it herself, she probably spent 1/3 of the hike just like this:
(Two weeks later, Dan's neck and shoulders are still sore.)

I wish I could write that we all hiked Kamiak Butte effortlessly with abundant endurance and sure feet. Sorry, that wasn't us.  We were slow, Lana wasn't the only one who tripped on jagged rocks or exposed tree roots, and she sure wasn't the only one who was relieved to be done once we reached the car.

Yeah, we're not ready to be a hiking family quite yet. I don't know if we'll get there in three years or five years, or even ten years.
(Oh, and is evidenced by this picture, we're not a family who is ready to take a decent self-portrait either.)

Yup, we're definitely a work-in-progress!
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