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Posts Tagged ‘Hiking’

This is a post from almost three years ago, when I was asked if I would like to go on an overnight hike with my daughter’s Outdoor Education class. Since she left yesterday on an overnight canoe and hike trip (without me this time) I thought I would do a bit of reflecting on this memory.

Do you ever say ‘yes’ to to a request, and then say to yourself “what the … heck was I thinking?” (pretty much the theme of MY life). Well, that is where this blog post is going …

A few weeks ago, I said, “yes” to my daughter, when she asked if I could go on a hike with her Outdoor Education class. My calendar looked like it would be a possibility (if I could get one day off), and I love walking, so the challenge of hiking and camping sounded splendid!

Then, after not hearing any more about it, I discovered they NEEDED me, as there was no other ‘female’ adult available … Yikes, talk about feel a combination of important and … last straw drawn. And they needed me so badly that they were willing to get a sub for me. When they put their money where their needs are, you know it’s not really you, it’s your availability!

So, Tuesday, enroute to our destination, I learned the POA (Plan Of Action), for the next two days …

Drive to Chilliwack (a little over an hours drive, in the handy, dandy school bus).

Hike for one hour (no sweat!).

Set up camp, on platforms (sounds civilized enough).

Hike for another three to four hours (okay, I am up for the challenge).

Cook dinner (best part of the trip … with all those calories burned, I can eat anything).

Play games, have a camp fire, toast marshmallows, make s’mores (who wouldn’t want to say ‘yes’ to all this?).

Sleep in tent (okay, this is the … ‘iffy’ part for me … genetically. You see, way back, in the dark ages … when I was a kid, my family went camping … once! We borrowed all the equipment, drove to the campsite, set up tent, roasted our weenies, swam in the lake, got ready for bed, and … were packed up, drove home, and in our own beds, by midnight! (But, I digress …)

Wake up, eat breaky, pack up, hike for an hour and drive back to the school.

Easy peasy!

Okay, let me just say, after the fact, that when you get your ‘POA’ … ALWAYS take into account who it is (ie. their reference point) that is delivering your POA …YOU might see things a little differently … Mr. Outdoor Ed. loves hiking, and does so whenever possible … he’s planning on doing the West Coast Trail, in a few years … 75km!

So, the bus drive was great! I love to be the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’ and listen as fourteen year-olds discuss their lives, their friends, their parents (and yes, for a fee, I might be willing to share what I’ve learned), their teachers (same cost applies), and each other.

The first one hour hike … hum, to quote one website … the trail climbs 300m in elevation … NOT easy peasy! But I did it (with the tenacity of Rocky Balboa)!

The lake (Lindeman Lake), where we pitched our tents was like a miniature of Lake Louise … The water so clear, so aqua green, so cold (as a few teens discovered when they, or their tootsies, got a little too close … made for interesting campfire times).

And, speaking of campfire times … notice the sign to the far left … now notice the picture to the right of it … enough said 😉

Back to the campsite … it was here that I discovered, to my shock, and amazement, that a shovel was a needed tool to go potty! Yikes, and this news coming into the ears of a girl who is scared of outhouses!

Then we parted for hike number two of the day. It started pretty mellow … along the lake, beautiful mountain views, a few spots where one had to watch where one was stepping so as not to wet their tootsies … and … then … it … changed … ALOT! See the picture to the right, we hiked all along this area, and, as I look at it now … this picture does not do the rocky trail justice! It was a harrowing hike (I was so mentally and physically challenged by it, I forgot to keep looking around for snakes, cougars and bears). After this part, we ended up in the forest, via a few logs carelessly floating in the water (and thanks to the tree limbs that helped to balance us). Then … we … took … the … same … path … back ! And not one aged, out of shape, saggy momma was lost in the hiking of this trail!

The dinner part went great! The games went great! The campfire went great! And the s’mores … a m a z i n g !

The night went of forever. It rained … fast, hard, slow, intermittently … all night long (if you’ve read many of my previous posts, you’ll know that I hate rain when I am snug and cozy in my house … so, in a tent …). In the morning, it stopped 🙂

And we had breakfast 🙂

And we packed up, lickety split 🙂

And we put out our last fantastic fire 🙂

And … I used the shovel 😦

And then we began our descent to our waiting bus. And, let me tell you, if I communicated that up was challenging, down makes up look like a walk in the park! I only fell once, and the skin will re-grow over that area of my knee in no time.

In the end, I got to spend about thirty hours with fantastic, well behaved, energetic, musical (LOUD), entertaining, teens. They shared their food, their camping goods, their clothes and their toilet paper with anyone with a need. They all took part in ensuring that the bus was spic and span clean. They all said good-bye, and thanks to their teacher, and even to this mom.

And not one teacher, student, or mom was lost in this hiking and camping adventure.

I’m so glad I said, “yes.”

And, in the immortal words, sung to music (and by all thirteen teens in the bus heading back to the school), by Nellie Furtado …

“Come to an end, come to an

Why do all good things come to an end?”

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I am sitting at my computer, at 7:27am, anticipating a busy, busy day.

Presently I am doing home visits for a school that is hosting a large group of International students from Korea. When I visit a home, I am there to ensure that is is a safe environment, I ask questions, request a criminal record check, and answer any questions that the prospective host family has. All in all, the visits each one takes about one hour.

Today, I have eight visits scheduled, from 9am-7:30pm … it is going to be a busy day!

But, I have decided to ‘journal’ my way through this busy day … looking for wonder at every visit, and at every little break available in the day. I am hoping that, by seeking wonder in my day, it might not just be busy for me, but also a blessing.

So, here it goes …

8:40am – I am driving to my first home visit (the one that had to be re-scheduled because the family slept in last week, when I was supposed to visit), and drive past a restored older church, surrounded with blooming pink roses and deep purple lavender … ahhhhh! My day begins, not only with a shot of caffeine, but also with a glimpse of beautiful serenity!

10:00am – Then I head to a ‘wifi hotspot’ to update our work document, and make more calls for more home visits … no one answered their phones (grrr!) … except for a little girl (will the message get to her mom? THAT is the question), who was so friendly and polite, and cheerful … she made me smile … wonderful!

10:55am – Next appointment of the day … I noticed a ‘Thomas the Train’ towel blowing on the clothesline (I love clotheslines … not to use them, just the way their presence takes me back to the ‘good ol’ days’ of taking the best smelling clothes off the line … not my undies, of course … I was always completely humiliated that my mom would hang my undies for all of our neighbors to see! But, I digress …). Noticing the Thomas towel opened up the family I had to visit with a light-hearted conversation about that delightful train and his friends. I love it when I am provided with something to start a casual conversation when I enter a home … it makes my visit so much more casual, more friendly (like a home with a clothesline).

11:55 – I arrive at the swimming pool my daughter is coaching at with enough time to relieve my busting bladder … ahhhh! Seriously, is there anything else on planet earth that feels as good? Enough said!

12:40pm – My 1pm appointment is willing to allow me to come a bit early … that gives me more margin to my day … that, is a gift!

1:45pm – My 2pm appointment is willing to allow me to come early too … seriously, you have no idea how exciting this is for me! And, as we chatted, we discovered that she grew up at the church I attend, and that she currently goes to a church where many people I, or my kids attend … when connections happen, I can see people physically relax in my presence. And, to top this all off, this lady was an amazing decorator … I felt like my sense of creative wonder was fed to the brim! I even complimented her decorating skills enough that she showed me her entire house … I was so impressed that I told her if they ever sell to give me a call before calling a realtor, and I would buy the house, and everything in it! Only others who love decor (and have no time in their days to do anything about it) will understand how significant this is!

3:11pm – I am sitting in a coffee shop, drinking my Americano (I predict another ‘busting bladder’ moment in an hour or two), and working on this post … a delightful pause (and opportunity to re-charge my techno-baby’s battery) in the middle of my day … only four more visits to go! Where is my energy coming from? I am having fun today!

4:00pm – Appointment number five … and a family I know, but have not had much contact with for a few years. What a rough few years this lady and her family have had! Truly she had experienced crises after crises after crises … a modern day Job example. And yet, she was listing as many blessings as she was curses … what strength, what courage I was privileged to be exposed to. It made me wonder, what if I were in her shoes …

5:00pm – A delightful, fun-loving, highly experienced International student host. This lady (I am guessing she is heading toward sixty), knows what she is doing, when it comes to hosting. When she welcomed me into her home, she introduced me to the two ladies from Japan (who had just arrived), and her hubby, and her neighbor (of Chinese descent) who had come over to make dinner for them all. Her home is a multicultural society all under one roof, all the time … even at Christmas, they host International students … and do it, because they love what they learn from others, and from what they can share …

6:00pm – Another appointment, and I am getting really tired. But, the family of mom, son and daughter were so friendly and the children so polite. Their home was not spotless, but was clean. Their home was not a decorators model home. But, their home was so evidently full of love … and I loved being there.

7:30pm – Last appointment of the day (Hallelujah chorus playing in my head). I was greeted at the door by the mom of a peer of my daughters … greeted by a warm hug, and a genuine ‘welcome in, it is so good to see you’ from a Canadianized accent from Kenya. There is something just warm and wonderfilled to be greeted by a hug and an accent.

9:00pm – Home sweet home! Hugs, kisses, and catch up on each of our days. This is the life!

Busyness didn’t have to mean a day of dread. What a wonderfilled day of blessing … I wonder how much better every day would be if I were to be purposeful in looking for wonder in my day?

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So, I told you yesterday that I had a hiking story. And it comes from the retreat that I wrote about yesterday … so, this could be “Retreat … the Sequel”

On Saturday the weather was … west coast (aka. rain, showers and sprinkles, followed by monsoons).

We started the day with a delicious breakfast of Belgian Waffles, Oatmeal, Fresh Fruit, etc., etc., etc. … none of which did we have to make :D.

Then we had our study time on what is really awesome, and learned that to use the word awesome to describe waffles (no matter how mouth-watering good … mainly because we didn’t have to make them) is really not the way to use ‘awesome’.

The study time was followed by lunch, and it was awesome really good (and we didn’t have to make it).

The afternoon was open to ‘free time’, but there were the options of a craft …

OK I need to segue …

crafts … this is an area of failure for me, in my life.

And, what’s worse, one of my kids LOVES to do crafts.

As a matter of fact, once, after hubby and I had been away,

said (crafty) child says to me, upon our return,

“Mom, look at the crafts our babysitter taught me to do,

do you think that she could teach

EVEN YOU

how to do crafts?”

(my, silent, response, ‘NO’)

… and a hike, and a nap, and games to play, and (because it was a ‘woman’s’ retreat … chocolate to eat). So, I did the craft (photo of that tomorrow), had a nap, ate the chocolate, and took a hike, because the sun had come out.

The hike was described to me this way, ‘it take about an hour and starts out muddy, it’s pretty easy in the beginning, then gets more steep towards the top’. I was up for the challenge, besides, the sun decided to shine and it gave me the opportunity for an intake of Vitamin D. Besides, I love the great outdoors! I just have a problem with the great outdoors that is fast enough, big enough and hungry enough to eat me (is this sounding familiar from my post “Walking Alone in a Wonder-filled Life”?). So, hiking with a group should eliminate this fear … right?

Because I have such strong feelings towards … wet weather, I donned my water-proof jacket, to ensure that it would, indeed, not rain (had I not brought my jacket, Murphy would have guaranteed a 60 minute down-poor, equal only to Noah’s flood).

Sure enough, the path was muddy, in the beginning. But certainly passable.

Then it got steeper and steeper … a good challenge to my ‘maturing’ body. I enjoyed the increase in heart rate, and oxygen intake. And I was having a delightful conversation with a young woman (when I was still able to breath … huff and puff … from the steepness of the path) … life was indeed … good.

Then it happened. The worst thing that anyone could EVER say to me (next to, ‘there is a bear behind, in front of or beside you’), “watch out for the snake.”

Well, if you have ever wanted to see fear personified, you should have been on that hike with me.

I looked up, not down, because I knew that if I had actually seen the snake at me feet, I would have fainted, and then it would, certainly, have crawled on top of me and waited on my chest, peering into my eyes so that, once I came to, it would have killed me, so that I would know it was killing me.

Then I moved my feet in a manner similar to a leprechaun’s dance on St. Patty’s Day, while, of course moving forward, in hopes that my forward was the snakes backward.

OK I need to segue …

I HATE snakes!

If you ask hubby, he will tell you that

when I am having a dream/nightmare/night terror

about snakes

you DO NOT want to be the person sleeping beside me.

What is ‘just a dream’

to him

Is VERY REAL to me,

and I will do, and scream, what I must to ensure

that I get freed from the snake.

… enough said …

(but, this might be a future post)

Then I stopped, a good many feet ‘forward’ looking to my companion, who at about the age of sixteen, was laughing hysterically (probably wishing she had caught all of my antics on video so she could broadcast them on YouTube, or enter the video into an Americas Best Video Contest. She laughed even longer than my psychosis lasted!)

Finally she pointed out the snake, and it was … dead! (I was hearing the Hallelujah chorus all through my being). The snake was headless! … now, it didn’t have to be headless to be dead, but, in my psychotic episode, God knew I need undeniable proof that the snake was really dead, otherwise, I might still be up on that mountain!

So, back to the hike …

Once our four fellow hikers arrived, and ‘admired’ the dead snake (I am confident the only snake to be admired is a dead one), we continued on. Our leader said, ‘now the path gets steep’.

Well I thought my head would spin like in the Poltergeist movie. Because I was pretty confident that I had already done the ‘steep’ part of the trail! My heart rate actually had no where to increase when I experienced the fear of the snake!

So, off we trod … after all I had faced the fear of the snake, whats a steep hill?

Well this hill needed a bungy cord! It was a path that has trees along it … so that you can grab them and pull yourself up. Man, was I missing my ‘eager beaver beast’ who would have hauled my sorry butt up that hill!

But, we made it, and it was spectacular! There was an, enormous hawk glide by … but I was thinking eagle (I have a rather vivid imagination 😉 … like you didn’t know that already) …

“those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

and that, is what retreat is all about.

P.S.: For those who understand what a fear of snakes is like, would you believe that, even though it was headless, and must have been dead for awhile, it was still moving a bit when we came down the mountain … now that is the stuff that nightmares are made of!

 

 

 

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