For the last few years, we have gone on one big hike every summer. Though it is so easy for me to pass the days with my books and projects, interspersed with visits from friends and family, walks, and daily responsibilities –
it also feels important to us as a family to feel as if we have accomplished something…
had a proper adventure.
This year we had our eyes on summiting Vimy Peak (or rather Dan determinedly
did, the rest of us may have had our doubts).
Vimy Peak is described as ‘an 18.8 kilometer lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Waterton that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers.’
Though I would hardly describe myself or anyone else in my family as an ‘experienced adventurer’, we still decided to go for it. One very hot August day, our 1 year old puppy in tow,
we naively trekked up (straight up) that very tall peak and then made our way down.
This quick summary of course, doesn’t even begin to address the extreme heat, the thirst, the pure exhaustion, the scary scrambling at the top, or Marty’s sore and bleeding paws. Nor does it address the incredible, indescribable feeling of summiting a mountain that you look at all the time,
seeing all the landscape that is so dear spread out from a hawk’s eye view.
Summiting felt like a metaphorical culmination as well as literal. All with every family, we have been through a lot. In one way or another, all of us are transitioning. It felt good to imagine that we were being rewarded for all of our efforts with a beautiful new perspective.
And after that climb, though the last days of summer are always precious, I also calm and felt ready for fall.
I anticipated more structure, cooling weather and autumn celebrations,
new projects and more ease.
As September now wanes, however, I am in awe that September has brought so many new obstacles.
Olivia and George both started at new schools which brought up deep anxieties for both, I broke my hand, and Dan had an extremely difficult and complicated situation to navigate. Another fire threatened Waterton.
This month did not end up looking the way I imagined it would.
But what ever does?
I am urged to remember that climbing one mountain does not mean that there won’t be another one.
And there is such deep magic in surrender,
and in floating with the current even when the river feels raging and full of boulders.
Sometimes, though, its just a sweet little stream and it’s utterly enchanting (taken on the way up Vimy)
At the end of our hike, I was exhausted and completely spent. Near the end, weary and fed up with being pulled down the mountain by Marty pulling ridiculously hard on the leash, I tripped into the bush and my prescription sunglasses flew into the woods and were forever lost. In that moment I decided that everything I was feeling was 100% Dan’s fault and crying in frustration, I angrily demanded that he throw his prescription sunglasses into the woods as well.
We are still laughing about this moment.
There will be crazy scenes like this too, dear friends, because we are human.
And so, as I type this piece with my one working hand,
I realize that maybe we are a family of experienced hikers after all.
Bring on October!(: