A few Saturdays ago we ventured back into the wilderness to hike again. Unfortunately, this day in the mountains proved to be a little less idyllic than my Walden hike post.
The forecast at home was for bright and sunny weather. We took that as a good sign, and headed up into the mountains. Once we arrived at the top, it wasn't so bright and sunny as we thought, in fact, snow surrounded us. We had to park our car several feet from the trail head, because we were afraid we wouldn't be able to get it out, if we drove down into the snow.
Another oversight was the fact that we didn't pack any winter clothes, we even forgot Hunter's sweatshirt all together. Jim took one for the team, and sacrificed his sweatshirt for Hunter. Jim was in short sleeves and shorts the entire hike. He didn't complain once. I said it was probably because he's from Canada and a little mountain-top snow is like a summer picnic to him. Hunter was grateful for the extra warmth.
When we began the hike, everyone was in fine spirits. It was exciting to trudge through the snow, jump over icy little streams, and suck in the zephyr air. Everything was going well until Tralee informed me that as she was trying to walk ON the ice instead of OVER it, her foot broke through and became completely submerged in frigid water. We explained to her that we would just have to keep walking, until we came to the end of the hike at the bottom of the mountain. The further down we hiked the warmer it became, and only patches of snow remained. We hoped Tralee's icy foot could make it. Our plan was to take off her shoes and socks, and let them air out while we wrapped her frosty toes in our jackets once we reached the lake. Meanwhile, the rest of our descent was spent listening to our daughter tell us how cold her foot was. I felt sorry for her, but couldn't do anything at the moment except keep walking forward, and encourage her to do the same.
|Top of the mountain|
|First part of our hike|
|I knew this day would be a good one!|
A mile or so later, we came to the bottom of the mountain. We beheld Hidden Lake in all its glory, and relished in the fact that the climate had warmed right up. There wasn't a snowflake in sight. HOORAY!
We removed our daughter's shoes and socks, hung them in sunbathed trees to dry, and wrapped up her feet in my fleece coat. Also, MIRACLE OF MIRACLES, we found an extra pair of socks in Jim's backpack. Once the children and I were well settled, Jim walked around the lake and started to fish. Tralee, Hunter, and I removed several more layers of clothing because it was quite steamy sitting in the sun. We layered our jackets, shirts, and even a pair of pants on the ground and made them into a little picnic blanket of sorts. Then we took our rations out of the backpack and ate a little lunch by the lake while Jim caught trout.
After a while, Tralee's shoes and socks were mostly dry, and a cool wind started blowing, so we disassembled our picnic blanket, and clothed ourselves again. We walked around the lake a bit with Jim, and then decided it was time to head back up the mountain.
|Socks in a tree|
|Hunter got so hot he even took off his shirt.|
|Writing in her journal while we picnicked in the wilderness|
|I just like this picture|
|Tralee was being cute|
|One of Jim's many catches|
The ascent was by far the most grueling part of our day -- mentally and physically. Once we hit the snow again and the sun began to set, the air bit at us with gusts of wind, the frozen ground gave way beneath our feet as we stumbled across it, and both children let us know in very vocal terms how little they appreciated this part of our adventure. We stopped several times to let them rest and drink water. Jim took turns giving the kids piggy back rides when their legs didn't want to move. I held the other little's hand and encouraged them forward as Jim carried the other. It wasn't easy.
Many tears were shed (by the kids), motivational speeches were given (by Jim and myself), and several curses were thought or mumbled (by me) on the accent, but we made it!! Jim was definitely the captain of this voyage. I tried my best to stay upbeat, but I can only take so much whining and crying from the kids before I start whining and crying myself. When Jim noticed my spirits were waning, he cracked a joke, gave me a wink, or smiled/laughed in such a way that turned my scowl back into a smile. We made it back to our car in four pieces of windblown, rosy cheeked, tear stained, sore, yet undefeated mountaineers.
|This picture is probably the last time my kids smiled on the hike back up the mountain. Once we entered back into the snowy territory their faces only reflected utter melancholy.|
|This, my friends, is the last picture taken before we hit the snowy tundra, after that we put our cameras down, and game faces on!|
On the drive back home, I reflected upon or adventure. I realized how proud I was of our little family, and I told my fellow Jacobs clan just that. We accomplished something difficult, and we did it together. I have a feeling, this is one of those memories that will keep coming back in stories for years to come:
Remember when Dad took us on that hike when the mountain was covered in snow, and all we had were sweatshirts and tennis shoes?
Remember when Tralee's foot fell through the ice, and we had to dry out her shoes and socks on pine trees?
Remember how each kid was crying the last hour of the hike, and we kept telling them stories to keep their minds occupied?
Remember how Hunter looked like a little Ewok in Jim's sweatshirt?
This hike was not a Walden Pond kind of day, but it was a great all the same!