Soooo, now that we are getting back in the groove together, I can’t decide what to write first.
Grand Tetons 2013 that I never finished?
Or Yosemite that I just started? Also we went to Big Bend last year and Lost Maples.
Someone tell me what to write! Nothing? You’ve got nothing?
Then I’ll do what I want anyways.
Okay, now I know. We will all go back to the Tetons together. Back to the summer of 2013.
I know a lot has happened since then, but that doesn’t mean you should turn around and take a gander in the past. It was a great trip, and you ought to know about it. It was gritty. It was a tough one, and there was so much laughter and some crying too. So, let’s go back, shall we? Back to that last few sentences when I told you about our campfire and that we had made plans to hike Phelps Lake the next day.
Okay. Just stop. I hear you thinking you don’t remember or you never read it and you don’t know what the John Henry I’m talking about. Go read Part 1 and Part 2. I’ll wait. Phelps Lake requires a hike down first, and then a hike back up the mountain. There are breathtaking moments of beauty on this hike, but our children had done this hike the last time we were here. Not that they were like, Ho, hum. But, it was clear they thought they knew all about it. And they knew only one mission…to get to the jumping rock on the lake and jump off of it. It was a cool place, and last time I was there, I was all about the jumping off. This year, I didn’t feel so jumpy. Hiking down into Phelps Lake made me bust out in the “Hills are alive! With the Sound of Music!” I was a little surprised at how much I actually remembered from that little song. I know almost all the words. Hey, remember before DVD, Blue-Ray and even VCR’s….and one of the three TV stations we all watched had a Sunday night movie. And remember how once a year they played The Sound of Music? That was cool, huh? That’s why I know the words. Anyways, we hiked all the way down, and I was impressed with my children and my nephews. It was a bit strange to only be with one other family, but the quiet was nice. Haha! I think only 7 children means our group is quiet.
We made it to the bottoms where there is a silent forest. My soul stilled in the midst of it. I saw the faces of the children reflect the peace of this place.
We didn’t say much until we reached the beach, and then everyone spread out, explored and ate lunch. Then we all headed down the path to the jumping rock. Everyone took turns jumping, but I hesitated. I don’t know why because the year before, I just went out and did it. This year, I needed to sit on the rock and watch everyone. Maybe it was the fresh grief from mom still. It was a hard moment for me, but I felt free also. Free not to be brave and foolish. Free to just be. So, I sat and watched them all jump into the freezing water. And I was okay.
After dripping dry some, we headed back up the path to conclude this day hike. Reflective, I found myself surprised to look up and see where I was.
And then you run into this. And you ask yourself a little question: where did all these people come from?
It was a lovely hike to Phelps Lake and back and perfect for our first day. If you go or if you ever go hiking, I have to tell you some important tips for hiking with children and in general.
1. Know where you are going and how far it is.
2. Take snacks and water.
3. Don’t lollygag, but don’t rush unless it’s getting dark and you don’t have a light.
4. Go hard and push. Don’t underestimate yourself or your company.
5. Take moments to rest and look around. Be where you are.
If one of your kids gets really tired and think they can’t go any farther, find a little distraction like a pine cone or leaf they can carry. ~Matt
Watch where you put your feet so you don’t end up with bloody knees. ~Anna
If you’re feeling tired, just look at the scenery around you. ~Maile
Never go backward. ~Lydia
If you want to catch up with your friends, run. Or wait for them. ~Claire
After Phelps Lake, we did a short hike to Moose Pond. I’m happy to tell you that we saw a mama Moose and her baby.
The part I did not enjoy was the squishy,wet trail it was. I mean muddy and sloppy. It rained on us periodically on the Moose Pond trail,and I had to work a little to keep a good attitude. I did appreciate the misty, romantic scene, but it was cold and drippy and so was I. Also, to add to my grouchy, I dropped my phone halfway down it right about here after I took this lovely pic:
After retracing my steps, thankfully it was right where we had seen the moose family. Everyone made fun of me which tends to be an expected part of all of my vacations. Laughing at yourself can be great medicine.
Back at the camp, I made cowboy stew. I had thrown in a box of Sundried Tomato Wheat Thins for the adults. I only got one of them. One. The children ate the stew, but they also passed the Wheat Thin box around and methodically ate them one by one. Hiking=hunger. We went to bed with the backcountry trip on our minds.
To be continued…