Today marked my second weekly solo hiking trip. Once again, I chose to slay another personal dragon by doing the Arethusa Falls trail.
This trail is pretty moderate and although I was definitely out of breath for portions of it, it wasn’t a real killer. So why was it on my list of demons?
When I was a kid – probably seven or eight – my family went on a hike with some friends who were in from out of town. We left the car in the Arethusa Falls parking lot and started climbing…….straight up. No kidding. It was insane. After a little while of this, I was in tears and ready to resign from the family. I’m not sure how the adults were doing, but I’m pretty sure that none of them were too happy either. I remember that at some point all of us sat down except my dad, who went further up to scout and see if it got any better. Long story short, we’d taken a wrong turn and were actually on a trail called…I’m not kidding…
From then on, I swore that I wouldn’t do the Arethusa Falls trail ever again because I might take that same wrong turn and disaster would ensue.
Today I decided that this memory no longer had the right to hold me in its snare. As it turns out, we didn’t take a wrong turn all those years ago. We entered the wrong trailhead. Pure and simple – whoever was leading (ahem…Dad…) wasn’t paying attention and took us on the wrong path. Hunh…there’s an interesting metaphor for my childhood experience.
Today I had a perfectly lovely hike. The best part about it was that I met a bunch of families who had the coolest kids! I stopped and talked to one little boy who was playing Zelda, Warrior Princess. I have no idea what that means, but he was having a great time and was very pleased to have someone ask him about it. Another little girl started babbling to me – I didn’t understand a word of it, but it was VERY important to her.
My favorite was a duo of kids who were heading up the trail as I was heading down. They weren’t too far from the top and were waiting as their dad lagged behind with two littler ones. I’d guess that they were about 10 and 12. They asked how much further it was, and then they engaged me in a conversation about the kind of trail we were on, what kinds of things they’d see when we got to the top, and a couple of other topics. They had such assurance and presence – as if someone had instilled in them the belief that they matter. I was blown away by them.
As I headed down the trail, I saw their dad with the two younger kids. I asked him if they were his kids and he said yes. I said, “You’re kids are amazing. I just talked to them for a couple of minutes and they’re really fantastic.” The expression on his face was priceless. He looked like he’d won the lottery. It was an awesome moment.
Here are some pictures from the day: