“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” -John Muir
We hiked just two miles into the woods on a chilly Friday evening.
We set up our tents, a one man tent for Jeremy and a three man tent for the girls, myself and Daisy. The idea is that Daisy will keep the rest of us warm.
We lit our tiny fireplace-a pocket rocket I’m told. And we added water to previously dehydrated soup that would warm our hands and bellies in just a few minutes.
Jeremy takes an annual hike along parts of the Appalachin Trail every summer.
His gear is well accustomed to the ways of the woods.
The girls and I take two mile hikes in into the woods on random Friday nights.
Our equipment is on it’s maiden voyage.
The night turned colder than we anticipated, and the ground harder than I remembered.
Rest did not come easily.
So why would we drag our family out into the woods, cook our food over a tiny flame, and sleep on the ground?
Because there is something raw, something real about embracing the world in it’s truest form. About smelling the freshness of the air, and letting the brisk cold make its way into your nostrils, down into your lungs and reminding you that you’re alive. About stripping away the things that distract. About listening, truly listening to the voice of another, looking into their eyes, knowing the nuance of their smallest voice and quietest breath. About seeing your own breath vaporize before your eyes as the warm meets the chill. About the pregnant possibilities of looking into the eyes of an animal in its own world doing what it was created to do. Of wondering why the leaves are crackling around you.
We choose to backpack because, as Donald Miller says in Blue Like Jazz, we like to be reminded that we “are part of something bigger than ourselves.”