Thursday, August 27, 2015


It was just a little two hour hike we forced our kids to go on on a Sunday morning to fulfill our mandatory family fun time quota.  And since our dogs are family, we brought them along too.  Even though Clyde is lazy and terrible hiker.  We also have a kid like that, so with even numbers the kids and the dogs could totally buddy up by temperament or whoever can tolerate whom the best.  Take your pick really.

We hiked in for 2.5 miles and had lunch by a stream where Bonnie swam and Clyde was filled with anxiety over his fear of water.  Which is really a big existential crisis for a Labrador Retriever and left him absolutely exhausted.  Not to mention his buddy the lazy kid who complained the whole way to the stream and showed no signs of stopping anytime soon.  That lazy kid, counterintuitively, exerts a huge amount of time and energy into being a huge pain in the ass.  Which is actually kind of commendable.  Sort of.

It was the way back on a trail, that wasn't well marked, where we got lost.  As a person, with a terrible sense of direction, this happens to me quite frequently, so I wasn't alarmed.  At first.  We joked about it.  Like who we'd eat first if worst came to worst.  And then we had that awkward moment when we all voted for the same person.  That lazy, whiner kid, just so there was no more endless droning on and complaining.  We bushwhacked to try to get back on the trail.  Before we just tried to get on any trail.

We were lost for 4 hours.  Making this a 6 hour hike.
And we were out of water without cell service.

Which is when two of the kids started catastrophizing, which is highly contagious.  And my reserves were already low from dealing with that lazy, whiner kid.  So although I was saying all the right positive, encouraging things, my head started to swirl with worst case scenarios a bit.  What if we have to carry a 85 lb dog with heat exhaustion out?  What if someone gets bit by a rattlesnake?  And that DVD I had to return to the library was due the next day.  What if I got charged a late fee, because I was dead in a forest hiking with a 85 lb dog on my back and a rattlesnake bite?  WHAT THEN?

And just for a while, all the bullshit got stripped away.

The fighting stopped.  Because we all knew what was truly important.  Even that ungrateful, lazy, whiner kid.  As late afternoon approached,  we took a family vote and headed in the winning direction.  Which in a couple of miles led us to an empty hunting cabin and in a couple more miles led us to someone's home.  And a very kind person who drove us back to our car at the trail head.  In hindsight, maybe that poisonous mushroom we saw early in the hike was a sign.  Maybe that we're all metaphorically lost and need to find our way back home at some point.  Or maybe we should just bring a GPS next time.

3 comments: said...

Especially since your phone's locator (better known as spy-enabling service) doesn't always work.

Sine said...

Love, love, LOVE this post! OMG your family has twin kids to my family, sans the dogs. I've said that before. In fact, I've written a whole blog post somewhere before on JUST such a family hike up the mountain (it was really a hill) near George in South Africa. Instead of your two dogs we brought two extra kids who were visiting at the time and so I was marching up that hill with a false cheerfulness on my face, 6 kids in tow who were only keeping up because otherwise I couldn't hear their whining, and a somewhat disgruntled husband as well who did not like the turn it took when we found ourselves in a township with dusty kids kicking a makeshift soccer ball made from newspaper and the women with their loads on their heads eying us suspiciously because we were probably the first white people who ever walked through their village. Or walked anywhere, as our kids were quick to point out when they spotted the vast carpark when we finally arrived at our destination. That's when they also delivered my all-time favorite line of "Other families don't go on stupid hikes like you make us do." Okay now, seems like I only have to forward them your blog post then as irrefutable proof...

Salty Bug said...

I love this post. Hilarious. I am glad you are all home safe and didn't eat the mushroom.


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