We went for a drive this weekend – to the mountains. In a short 20 minute drive from our house, we climb almost 5000 feet in elevation and the temperature drops 20*. The cool air was delicious after the heatwave we’ve been having down here on the desert floor. (Can I still call it the desert floor even though we’re at 4300 foot elevation?)
Our intent in heading up there was to scout out the rad (can a 40 year old mom of 4 use the word rad? I’m going with yes.) backpacking trails we’d been hearing about. Because we have dreams of becoming a backpacking family, right? Josh spent 8 days backpacking this summer, I spent 8 days backpacking this summer, and Jake has plenty of experience backpacking, but we’ve never done it together. We want to remedy that. At least that’s what we’ve talked about. When I was out in Yosemite, all I wanted was for my family to be there with me!
But then there is reality. And the reality of our entire family backpacking in the mountains is actually a bit daunting. So the more we discussed it, I suggested that Jake go with just Josh and Sam. They could have a boys trip, scout it out, and we could see how it went and go from there. I think my response had several biases. The first was habit. That’s what we do. Jake takes the boys and I stay back with Betsy. It’s easy and it works. It’s been our modus operandi for all things physical for 20 years. The second was because Betsy can be a bit (slight understatement) of a whiner when she isn’t enjoying something. And that doesn’t sound like too much fun on the trail. And then there was a matter of equipment. We don’t have enough gear to take 5 people into the backcountry for a couple days. So we figured we’d do the easy thing. Betsy and mommy stay home, boys and dad go backpacking.
Then we got to the mountains. We did some research at the Ranger Station. We looked at some maps, scouted some trails and hiked a bit. It was glorious. Also as predicted, just minutes into the hike Betsy proclaimed her fatigue. We all got a good chuckle out of that.
On the drive down the mountain we discussed details and I knew that I couldn’t be left behind. I had to go! I had to be a part of this! No longer are we going to split up and take the easy route. If we’re going to do this- if we’re going to turn our dreams into a reality – we have to overcome those instinctual responses and roger up. We have to start somewhere. And somewhere is here – on the trail.
We’re going to start with baby steps. We’re taking Betsy and we know she won’t be able to travel far. Our objective won’t be miles. Our focus will be on the experience. We don’t have all the gear, but we can rent what we need at the Outdoor Recreation building on base.
Now that the decision is made, I’m crazy nervous. As it’s our first endeavor, we decided to simply go overnight. We’ll hike back as far as we can and camp somewhere near the trail. We’ll pitch tents, eat over a fire, and sing campfire songs. The kids are super excited. As for me? Well, I just keep telling myself to breathe. It’s going to be great. And at least Betsy knows all about going potty in the woods!