2 families, 4 days, 3 nights, 15 miles, 3,000 feet of elevation gain.
I had a revelation along the way last week in the mountains. Well, several actually, but the first one was this.
I really love backpacking.
Taido goes backpacking a lot. Three of our kids have been with him at least once.
But I had not strapped on a pack and headed into the woods for more than a long day hike in (ready for this?) 17 years.
How is it that I have gone that long not doing something I love so much?
But backpacking is a different animal, y’all.
Backpacking is camping in its purest form.
Stripped down. Bare necessities.
Bring only what you can carry.
Friends, for me? That ain’t much. I think I weighed in at around 35 pounds.
Fortunately for my friend, Rhonda and I, we have husbands and sons who can heft closer to 75 pounds.
I’m unashamed that we had to rely on these men for our food and shelter.
In fact, nothing can take away from how proud I am of us for hiking all the way from Aspen to Crested Butte. Not even the fact that we ran into two different couples who were doing the same hike in one day that took us four. When the first couple ran (literally, y’all, RUNNING) past me on the trail and someone in our group informed us that they had left from the same place we had left from three days ago, at 8 am that morning, I said to Rhonda,
I am not letting that cheapen this experience for me one little bit.
Just think of all we’ve seen.
We’ve fallen asleep to the sound of rushing rivers,
With the stars as our canopy and the moon as our evening light.
We’ve gazed at flowers that only a handful of other people in the world will see this summer.
We’ve taken time to stop and wonder at the colors, the variety and the sheer multitude of wildflowers.
We have carefully crossed rivers and snow fields, giving thanks for the ropes and strong hands that guided us and our children along.
We’ve sat around a campfire and eaten meals from tin bowls that tasted better than food at any restaurant because everyone knows food tastes better when you’re outside and when you’re hungry from your journey.
We’ve been humbled by our loads and received mercy from our families. As mothers, we experienced a role reversal on the trail with our children whom we have long served. And it was good for us. And for them.
And so much more. The gifts are countless. Even my greatest moments of shame on the trail have been rendered gifts to me as I reflect on our time there.
I saw what I went to see in Colorado.
I experienced the mountains in a new way.
And that experience is more precious to me than the fact that we made it from Point A to Point B.
I have so much more to share about being in the mountains, but today I am just giving thanks for the journey. Where in your life have you seen how the journey or the experience is even more precious than the destination?