I get this itch when we have free time, so not so often, to have an adventurous family outing. This means I suggest doing something I know one or both of my children will end up hating, as well as my husband. But, it always makes for a fun story! Last fall, we took the dogs to House Mountain and my husband totally twisted his ankle hiking (walking) up the trail; he blames it on the dog! (fell down, off the trail, cussing as the dog ran away…) Today, it was a hike to the Chimney’s in the Smoky Mountains. I love hiking with my enthusiastic son, but the other beloved two aren’t huge outdoor enthusiasts. Never the less, I always want another fun memory accompanied but some good family photos where we look like we are having way more fun than we actually are! So, today, we hiked Everest….or for all intents and purposes, we did challenge ourselves to see new heights while not slipping off the mountain.
What we didn’t know or expect was that there would be snow and ice. The 56 degree forecast for Knoxville was deceiving. I guess I didn’t think about that whole elevation change. It was beautiful! There was snow everywhere, and the trail was covered. Luckily, mama took Brody to get new trail running shoes at the new REI yesterday so not only was he stylin’, but also a lot less clumsy than usual. Unfortunately, the princess, I mean Anna (age 6) was in her tennis shoes and more clumsy than usual. She even said God made her clumsy and her middle name should be clumsy, like Clumsy Smurf! (I held her hand tightly the whole way, knowing if I didn’t, she’s crack her head open on the icy, stone stairs.)
It is 2 miles up to a very steep, rocky peek, if you can call it that in the Appalachians. Believe it or not, we all did really well with no falls, no crying (yes, for real!), and lots of snowballs! There’s even a pretty sweet family photo (close) to the top! What I love about this is that we didn’t make it to the very top (the point of this entry).
My Anna and Bo were perfectly content to have their snack break(snack-pack of chips) at the entry to the actual Chimney Tops. The first 25 feet up were totally icy, not to mention much steeper than I remembered it when I visited prior to having children or being married! I think my perspective has shifted in so many ways. And, if you’re a parent , I know you can relate! I don’t remember being scared at all the last time I scaled those rock walls. Now, I guarded Brody with my life as he attempted a short little stretch.
Without children, you trek along without giving each step much thought. Now, I give a lot more thought, effort, and intention to the steps we climb, together. As a parent, you don’t run out and just do anything that sounds fun. You think about the repercussions and family. It’s not all about you.
And, what did I learn from our big adventure? It’s not all about the expectations. It’s not about an end destination. And, it’s not about the view from the top. It doesn’t even mean you have to reach the top. It’s really about the trek. It’s all the snow balls thrown, icicles found, and the paths less traveled. It’s finding fun and magic in little things, like sliding down on your bottom like you’re sledding and telling the kids there are sleds and skis for rent on top (yes, Anna bought it of course). It’s celebrating not falling down instead of pouting about how long it takes! Sometimes the most memorable treks in life are not all that monumental, and that’s ok. And, that’s one more thing I will celebrate as I reminisce over snowy family photos.