02.06.17

Few things compare to adventuring off into the wilderness with family and friends. It’s something that’s been a part of me since before I can remember. Our 6th year birthdays marked the first of many trips for each of the 7 kids {for me it started earlier}… and today the majority of us enjoy making a yearly tradition of it. Hiking, fellowship, quality time away from the usual day-to-day routine … and enjoying God’s beautiful creation together. ❤

If you go in January you just might FREEZE for 3 days and 2 nights … 😀 However, the snow and ice are thoroughly enjoyed when you take into consideration all the special, FUN memories made. Games in the tent before bed, delicious freeze-dried food 😉 cooked beside a river, laughter and real-talk … and petting wild ponies in the snow-covered wilderness as the sun is setting. ❤ This is just the beginning of countless highlights and gratitude notes I’ve written down in my journal from that weekend.

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Water break. 🙂

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Not many river crossings … but we did have quite a bit of this loveliness.

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Love this little trooper. I thought I was watching out for him … and yet he was constantly reminding me that he was there to help me over the rocks and through the rivers. Such a little man. ❤ Oh my heart … how quickly they grow up.

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I love a beautiful sunrise and sunset. My Father is so amazing!

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Day 1, after setting up camp. Someone came up with the brilliant idea to stop standing around in the FREEZING cold and WIND. Let’s hike to the top of the hill before dinner! Oh yes, thank you.

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It’s amazing how much character you can build over a few days in the wilderness. But SO MUCH THE MORE in conditions like this. I know it could have been far worse … and yet the cold and wind were pretty special. Definitely a stretcher. When frozen people are huddled together waiting for dinner to cook … fingers feel like they’re going to need amputating … a few people are standing in the outhouse just to keep warm and out of the wind – and then we need a volunteer to selflessly serve the team, or initiate some act of kindness. Who’s first?! lol. 😉

Best to put on your happy face, choose an attitude of gratitude, rejoice in the adventure of the moment, and laugh about it later {easier said than done}.

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Oh hello! We love these pretty wild horses. A few of us managed to pet some one evening, and again the following morning. While we had our favorites, there were definitely those trouble-making few that wouldn’t leave us alone … they were far more interested in wandering around the campsite and checking out the tents. 😀

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I have to say that as cold as the wind was, it definitely added the perfect touch to our hiking adventures.

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And it snowed. ❤ Oh happiness. I love snow.

A few lessons learned … (1) don’t stop moving. Keep hiking, working, or walking in circles. (2) Food tastes better in the freezing cold after hiking miles. It really doesn’t matter what it’s made out of. (3) Some of the wild horses are sweet and would make fabulous pets … others have an attitude and might prefer to eat you for dinner. (4) Not all of the fence openings are large enough for hikers with 40+ lb packs to fit through. If you dont’ want to get stuck, better to jump to fence. I’ve never felt quite so large before. (5) If you get wet, forget about being warm for the rest of the trip. (6) God’s creation is AMAZING. And when you take time to get away from all the distractions of day-to-day life with the people you love most {family}, it’s an experience far beyond words.

Oh how I love these peoples. My family – each of us are so uniquely different yet we make up a team. In my younger years I never would have imagined how special these moments would be to me now. Siblings really can be BEST FRIENDS. And today is the day to love and serve and be a Godly role model. Because tomorrow is a bright new day … and we will not always have together the time we have right now.

Here’s to future, exciting backpacking adventures. Next time I vote for Red River Gorge. 😀

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