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This was almost a very scary weekend.
Outdoor time is one of our family’s favorite activities. Heck, it’s almost my family’s ONLY activity, especially in the summer. Spending time in front of the TV or playing indoors is just not something we do very much, other than the once-in-a-blue-moon winter movie or game night.
As a result, my kids are very outdoor aware. They know what we expect of them, they know how to spread their wings. They know what we require of them from a safety standpoint.
Now I need to tell you a little about David, my extra careful child. This kid, 11 right now, has always been Mr. Cautious. When he was a three I signed him up for a program called Monkeynastics, used by moms to help their kids get the wiggles out.
But I had Dave doing it because he needed a dose of the confidence he’d get by someone helping him use a four-inch high balance beam. While the others were zooming around, he was saying “no thanks” to the little trampoline and gripping the railing with everything he could.
He’s gotten a lot better about this over time, but still isn’t your guy for anything risky seeming. He says no thanks to roller coasters, actively encourages his brother to try new things that he doesn’t want to attempt, which by the way Huck gladly does, and shocked us all when he decided he likes downhill skiing because that is so, so out of character for him.
But as he’s grown he’s become more and more oblivious, the way 11-year-olds often are. Still, it’s safety first with Dave.
That is, until this week when he scared the living daylights out of me.
We used this weekend to head out on a family backpacking trip, a 3.4ish hike out to Ptarmigan Lake down near Seward, Alaska. After we got ready at the trailhead, I ducked into the pit toilet bathroom while Luke signed the logbook.
When I joined Luke at the trail start Dave was completely gone. Where was he? “He started down the trail,” Huck told us.
I called for him. Nothing. Luke said he saw him walk off, too. But surely he couldn’t be far.
We power walked with our bags on our backs about ⅓ a mile, all the time yelling Dave’s name. Luke used his emergency whistle. Why wasn’t Dave responding? Why haven’t we caught up with him? This was bear country, and he had no bear spray and no particular awareness for what was going on around him. Where was he? Did we leave him back at the trailhead?
We were both starting to panic. Luke dropped his bag and trotted back to the car, and I kept going with Huck, yelling the whole time. I was getting hoarse. WHERE WAS DAVID. I envisioned him dragged into the woods by a black bear, never to be seen again. It was not a good moment.
As we rounded the bend, I heard him say “what!” and come jogging back, oblivious to my panic. But he wasn’t oblivious for long, as I panic-mom-chewed him out. He hadn’t thought. He didn’t think. He had no idea we weren’t close behind him.
About 10 minutes later Luke rounded the corner, panic-stricken. He had arrived at the parking lot just in time to witness sketchy camper guy driving away. Was Dave IN that camper? Relief flooded his face as he saw Dave, and I warned him that I had already given Dave a piece of my mind. So instead we had a group hug, with now crying Dave in the middle. We told him how much we love him and that is why we were so scared. How would we live without Dave?
We did the rest of our hike, camped at the lake, hiked out on Saturday, and camped at a second lake — such gorgeous locations that you’ve got to check out the @humansoutside Instagram feed to catch a peek.
And we enjoyed our family in the way you only enjoy when you think you won’t get to enjoy them anymore.
And of course, those weren’t the only outdoor adventures we had this week. Summer — glorious, glorious summer – is here and we are milking it for all its worth. I’m having trouble even being inside to record this episode. I took a full day off work last week to do a point to point trail run over the 22 mile Johnson Pass. We spent all of that glorious time outdoors during our backpacking trip. And the big family news last week was the arrival of my hot tub. You best believe I’ll be talking about that later, but for now just now that I am for sure living my best life in that every day, sometimes twice a day.
My outdoor hero this week is a product that has been making all of these adventures great for a long time– my Balega socks. You guys., I love these socks. My toes have a nasty habit of wearing through the top of every pair of socks I’ve ever run in or worn a lot … except the Balegas. I don’t know how or why, but they last when others don’t. Also? They are little heavenly foot clouds. I especially love the quarter length for trail running. Seriously- – foot heaven. Get some of these.
You can check out all of our outdoor adventures on my @HumansOutside Instagram feed, and of course just like always share your own daily time with #humansoutside365. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.