In the early days of our marriage, when Briz would get stressed out by too much work and school, I'd load the electric blue Ford Escort and kidnap my husband. To his dismay, I'd drive over dirt roads, uncharted grass meadows, and even over small streams till I found the perfect spot. Perfect meant no people within miles. No people within earshot. No cars shifting. No telephone lines and preferably no cow dung. Armed with our mosquito repellent and our boots, we interacted with each other and the world on natural terms.
With the advent of our three little girls, our outdoor adventures moved to anywhere we could take the camper. It wasn't quite the same, but the sleeping arrangements were much more comfortable. With the demise of our old camper, our expeditions have faded, that is, until this weekend. We discovered our girls could backpack!
I wondered. I worried. How could a five year old hike three and one half miles of steep terain loaded with a backpack that tipped her over? Worries were needless. They were troopers. The remaining snow pack gave my littlest ample entertainment for the hike.
"I can do it. I CAN do it. I can do IT." My littlest chanted over and over. Three quarters of the way there, MY back ached and I took heart from her chant. How could I do less?
The high Uintahs are spectacular. Dotted with literally thousands of lakes, we visited six of them. We set up camp on the shores of Lake Clyde, which purportedly had excellent fishing. Ladybug and Briz obsessed over the fishing.
Little Mother and Sunshine played imagination games in the tent and on the rocks that stuck out like so many teeth over the mountain.
I took off on my own, to discover new lakes, to track deer and stare down a cheeky martin who was checking me out.
As the fire crackled, we read from the Friend, and told personal stories. Briz shared some of his deep thoughts and feelings with our small ones. They hung on every word. After each had taken a turn, Sunshine remarked, "I can tell Jesus is here right now." You know what? I think she was right.
Briz and I always wait by the fire till the tent emits no more noise. With pajamaed wonder, I left the fire to sit on the ancient rock slab and gaze at the star canopy. Soon a ghostly figure that resembled my spouse in tightly fitting waffle pattered long underwear walked toward me. We sat back to back to identify constallantions..
Twelve a.m. backpacking nirvana is over. Little Mother stood up screaming with night terrors. She thrashed and yelled, cried, and kicked. Ladybug, completely appalled, kicked back, then added her own indignation to the tent party. I held, rocked, and tried to soothe Little Mother the entire night, every 20 minutes or so. Briz tried to control Ladybug's anger. Sweet Sunshine slept peacefully. Briz and I felt we had wandered into our own private camping purgatory.
With dawn, all but the parents forgot there was such a thing as a bad night and the explored, fished and loved each other. Far from the maddening crowd, they were free from fashion constraints, schedules, expectations, and structure. They were angels.
1.We need a second tent.
2. Freeze dried food is decent and lighter than tin foil dinners.
3. Don't forget the T.P.
4. Adventures haven't stopped, they've just become wilder.
A new group of lakes is awaiting me. I've already plotted out some routes on line.