Thursday, January 07, 2010

Life lessons from a family hike

This past November, we took our kids to Southern Utah for a vacation.  We started our trip in Snow Canyon where we hiked all day long for two days straight. We then went to Zions and hiked until our legs couldn't take it anymore. The whole week we were there we hiked over 30 miles.

I love Snow Canyon. If you've never been there- you should take a trip. It is beautiful but it also has a lot of kid friendly hikes.  Not a lot of drop offs and wide clear (but really sandy) paths. The hikes in Zion were a little more intense and left me scared and nervous most of the time. We took our kids on the Canyon Overlook Trail for one of the hikes.  Maybe I'm just too worried but I couldn't enjoy it. I was so nervous our kids would slip and fall. I get sweaty palms just thinking about it now.

When we had made it to the top of the trail, the kids sat down to eat their snacks.  Jake, my six year old, and his cousin Benny were watching a little chipmunk that was getting nearer and nearer to their food. Finally, the chipmunk grabbed a cracker from my sons bag and took off over the side of the drop off.

Jake and Ben also took off straight towards the drop off yelling "bring back my cracker!"  Fast as they could go without a thought to what was over the edge.  I SCREAMED at the top of my lungs for them to stop and everyone else on the mountain turned around to see what was going on and stare at the screaming hysterical mom. I was terrified.

My triplets were also goofing off up there. Every time I turned around they'd inch closer and closer to the edge. Not. Fun. For. Me. By the time we hiked back down I was so emotional I couldn't stop from crying. I got some strange looks. It's not really that hard of a hike. It's also not really that dangerous. IF you obey the posted signs and are cautious. My kids were acting like they were on their trampoline at home. I won't be taking them on those hikes again until they are older.

Anyway, as we were hiking throughout the week, I kept listening to the things I was telling my kids.  I thought to myself that I needed to remember them at other times. Some great life lessons were learned out on the trails:

Stay on the path- there are unseen dangers. From a cactus hiding in the sand to a drop off that would kill.
Use a map- guides are here for our benefit. It's comforting to know that others have been there before and prepared the way.
Be prepared- life can change so fast. You never know when you'll need that first aid kit or extra battery.
Follow instructions- others see things I can't or have done things I haven't.  Just because I can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there.
Don't go near the edge- you can't control all the elements around you and you just don't know what is over the other side. 
Enjoy the journey- it's not just getting to the end that matters. There are amazing things all around if you take the time to look.
Just keep going- sometimes the trail seems never ending and you just have to put one foot in front of other.
Help carry the load- not everyone is going to be strong all the time.  Do your part to share their burden.

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