Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 4 on the trail

Day 4: Easy day – Thousand Island lake xc to Granite lake.  3 xc miles, 500 feet elevation change

Over breakfast, Cade irritated, snapped at Bekah for not “listening well the first time”.  Cory gently reminded him that when he feels frustrated, he should still be careful with his tone. 

“But Daddy, when I ask you things over and over again, that’s how you sound when you talk to me!” 

Cory paused before responding, “Hey, we are all in process over here.  It doesn’t make it right even if I do it sometimes.  I’m still learning and growing too.”

After breakfast, Cory doctored Bekah’s blisters.  The soaking/drying duo had successfully started hardening her skin.  The cries from yesterday’s soak were replaced with smiles as the cream, band-aid, surgical tape trio did their magic.  The singing from our Boo resumed and led our way to an adventurous cross-country traverse around the western end of Thousand Island Lake.  We traveled under the massive nearly 13,000 foot Banner peak through green and purple grassy fields, tarns of water surrounded by red and orange Indian Paintbrush.  We marveled at how few people leave the trail to ever see places like this.  It’s the route finding over rock tallaced slopes that provides unique opportunities to challenge the kids to stop and determine the safest and most efficient route.  After the route was determined, we headed up the slope, boulder hopping until we reached the top.  We let Cade lead the way to give him experience at leading and route finding. 

With my eyes focused on each boulder, I heard a familiar mantra from Cory, “Go slow and make every step count.” Great advice for the trail, yes, but I decided today as I clambered up the tricky slope, that I’d take that one with me.  Moving with intentional purpose promised fewer sprained ankles, broken bones, as well as fewer hurt relationships or missed opportunities.  God can move in our lives if we SLOW down and let Him!  But we can sure mess things up when we move fast and don’t make every step count!

The relentless wind of the last 24 hrs continued to pummel us, so we took cover behind tall willow bushed on the top of the pass to eat some freeze dried organic pineapples, Lara bars, and our personal favorite, Pistachio nuts.  Ferocious appetites being staved off until lunch, we ventured over the pass to traverse down the backside to the charming, sparkling Garnett Lake, one of my personal favorites.

Without leaving the trail, we’d never have witnessed the quintessential shot that Cory has dreamed of for years.  As we descended on the Garnett side of our traverse.  We paused and turned around to see where we came from (hint: always pause and look around!) and saw for the 1st time a stair stepped, granite shallow waterfall, with bright red Paintbrush flowers and plush grasses lining the banks, culminating at the horizon with the massive Banner peak.  It made me wonder how often in life I get too comfortable on the well worn route I am on and refuse to try the unknown, venture off the path and blaze my own trail.  And do I allow time in life to pause, look behind me to where I’ve come from and marvel at the view? 

We set up camp early, right after lunch, and had an intentional easy afternoon to continue to acclimatize and not overdo it on this first leg of our 200-mile summer journey.  However, after five hours of “hanging at camp”, I began to get restless.  As fun as it is to relax, I am still too fresh from the city to be able to really do it.  After two “easy” days I can definitively say, our muscles are not tired, we appear acclimatized to 10,000 ft my book I brought is ready, the chores are done, and I’d like to move on, thank you very much!  I am not yet good at long stretches of nothing.   We seem to be able to sit around for hours, when it’s warm, but for 24 hours we have been living in high winds and cold air so sitting around is more laborious for me.  I need to hold it together but with dust blowing in the tent (and my eyes, come to think of it, it’s in my mouth too) and the lack of movement since lunch, I am feeling blown down, cold, and dare I admit, done. 

Even so, kids still live in that idyllic land of simplicity that us adults have to work so hard for.  We surround ourselves with catchy phrases about living in the moment, remind ourselves with books that now only happens, well, now, so don’t miss it! We take ourselves on elaborate getaways to experience the easy road but we can’t turn back the clock and simply live simply, like kids can effortlessly do. 

In-between walks to the lake to soak my feet and walks back to camp to read my book, I actually had time to make a bit of a scientific observation of my kids, in the same empty agenda predicament as I was in.  They were not aware of a predicament at all.  I am fairly sure that, like God, kids don’t live inside our time driven paradigm.  They don’t have to fight so hard against the pesky, fast-racing forward click of time because they are doing exactly what they’d be doing if they had 2 minutes, 20 minutes, or 9 hours (like we had today).  This might explain why getting to school on time is prefaced with many “Hurry ups!”.  They do each moment what feels right to do that moment, without the burden of what they should be doing and for Cade, that meant spending half his time carving a miniaturized boat from a willow branch and half his time swinging rocks into the lake with his handmade by Papa sling.  Bekah choose to spend hours at the lake soaking her feet and creating random works of art with Garnett lake silt and water and half her time writing the story of her life on the train into her journal (I tell you, she has decidedly determined she is the author of a new best-selling book starring her beloved family, and she just might be!).

When dinner time rolled around I was excited for two reasons, A) we were starving and shepherd’s pie full of an organic veggie blend of potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, carrots, green beans in a creamy seasoned tofu sauce sounded unfathomable to our continuingly famished family and B) there was something to do!  Eating something that good, when starving, doesn’t actually take up much time so we quickly finished promptly ending that entertaining diversion.

On to getting our Tents set up and free of any bear attractors (aka de-bearing the tent), brushing our teeth and then diving for cover from the dust and wind assault into the tents to play blackjack. 

Thankfully every day out here isn’t this “relaxing”, for lack of a better word, but days like this provide he necessary ebb and flow, the ying and the yang, that brings acute awareness of simple joys as we live in the contrasts.

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