When I was a girl growing up in the mountains, I went hiking. It was a regular activity. There was this woman that was even famous for hiking Mt. LeConte over 100 times. She was eighty something when my family talked with her on that very same trail. We were hiking to a lodge on the top of the mountain to spend the night and have a delicious dinner. When I was a teenager, my sister, Carol, would take me back country camping where we'd hike in, set up a tent, and hike back out with everything on our backs. We loved watching other hikers that would load down their packs with pillows and pots and pans dangling off the side. They looked miserable lugging around so much stuff! Our last sister hike I sprained my ankle, and Carol had to tie my pack to hers and carry both out while helping me walk on one foot. As I grew older, we would go for Christmas hikes when all us kids came home. I remember our guide, Mike (my SIL's bro) decided it would be fun to track deer off trail, and we got lost in the woods. We finally heard cars, found the road, and walked back, but that made for a long day. I think that was actually my last family hike. But, truth of it all is, I love the woods. I really like venturing off down a trail to find what's at the end. Beautiful views and interesting structures are off in those woods, but one has to hike a few miles to get the pleasure of seeing them.
Yet the last few years we haven't been doing many nature walks. Most trails aren't stroller friendly, and naps have been just too important. So yesterday we packed a picnic and drove to Congaree National Park. It's a swamp with a boardwalk leading out into marsh. There are trails to also follow if the ground isn't flooded, though it floods about ten times a year. It's supposed to. Those plants clean the pollutants out of the flood waters before they recede back to their home. Yesterday we went exploring, without a stroller, and walked almost four miles checking out points of interest on our handy dandy park map. It was fabulous! Every single one of us loved the whole experience, and I had an epiphany. My family is no longer in that stage. We didn't take the stroller because we don't own one anymore! We can go exploring much more often. I walked through that swamp thinking about how I should start a family friendly hiking club....how my girlfriends and I should go hiking on Saturdays....how Michael could grab a friend and go bird watching like he used to do before children. I felt renewed, and I wanted to know I could have it again. The woods embrace me in a way that lets me feel God's presence.
I still want to do all my plans, but one baby step at a time. Monday's coming. So right now, during the week, I will find His presence here, in the city, til I can get to the woods once more.
I didn't take pictures and I need some because the camera forgot to get out of the car. Darn camera!!
Anyone want to start a family hiking club?