As I was wandering along on our last ramble in the countryside, I came to realise that, very much like grief, a hike also has its rollercoaster of emotions. More so if youre hiking with children.
They mostly boil down to these;
As I prepare the bags and picnic, I get excited about the days adventures and wish for a day full of childlike wonder through my eyes and my offspring. Obviously I am being delusional as they don’t care what lies ahead, just what is in their bag for lunch.
Excitement slowly fades to frustration. Frustration from my husband to myself for not knowing exactly where the car park is or more often than not, not having enough change to pay for it. The kids in the back of the car are slowly grating on each other after the 30th attempt of eye-spy being thwarted by Molly not fully understanding the rules. “But mooooom, bus doesn’t start with G”.
As we usually hike in new places, confusion creeps in when I realise that I have no clue how to get to the top of where I want to be. I know there’s a trig to be discovered somewhere, but where?
After a while, I realise that in my manic state of packing every emergency item available for a hike an hour away from home, I haven’t actually eaten anything. So, we scramble around trying to find the most weather resistant and dry piece of land at the top of a mountain to have a spot of lunch. Not an easy feat, I’ll tell you.
While the kids are all actually in one place and not moving around like Pac-man running from the ghost, I can finally have a look at where we are. The views are breath taking (unless it’s a very foggy day – see our Malvern Hill story). I drink in the scenery, marvelling at how beautiful the English countryside is. It’s amazing how we can be only an hour away from the city and feel as though we are in the middle of nowhere. The green hills roll for miles and livestock live in peace and quiet.
We are never going to have the perfect hike. A child will always fall over and somebody will always cry. We will forget something (one time, we actually forgot our shoes and had to abandon the hike), we will over pack, over analyse and under appreciate. So, as I was walking along pondering all these feelings, I have come to realise that I accept that we are not perfect. But we are certainly happy.
7. And lastly, Disappointment.
We have to go home. We have to leave the serenity of the mountains and the cover of the woods and return to our bricks and mortar in the suburbs. Normal life resumes for another week until my enthusiasm builds again and we start back at stage 1.
Regardless of the weather, the situation or the location, we always leave a hike feeling fulfilled and complete. Being outdoors is like a drug, no matter the ups and downs, you always find yourself wanting more.
That being said, I’m off to plan for the next adventure.