I grew up in Ohio which means I missed out on a few things…like sandy ocean beaches and hiking mountains.
Two things I fell madly in love with once moving to Virginia.
Seriously, love love love both. Maybe the love affair is because my life was missing them for a couple of decades? Maybe it is because we now live so close now?
When my homeschooling friend Maureen offered up a homeschool teen field trip I was like “HECK YA! Sign us up!”
I was so excited for two reasons.
- I love hiking any mountain.
- Maureen’s field trips have ALWAYS been my favorite. They NEVER disappoint. Ever.
Perhaps a bit of background on Maureen. See she is this gal that HAS to be the toughest person I know. She is ex-military, used to do the Eco-challenge Adventure Race (think hardcore challenges here) and still teaches Homeland defense classes at our local University. She is quite simply a bada$$. I tell her this often because one day I can only hope to be in as good of shape as she is. The woman is a machine.
And she is kind, smart and well…just a great friend to have. She will challenge you in every good way possible.
A girl needs a little push every once in a while to go outside of your comfort zone.
Old Rag mountain was the trail.
I think, in my mind at least, it was supposed to be “3-4 miles up and a bit of a rock scramble at the top”.
So I am thinking “I can do that…”
The original date was rained out and I am actually glad it was! Going yesterday put us closer to the peak leaf change. No better time of year to hike any mountain.
We met in the morning and caravaned up losing one of our carloads of folks to a carsick kiddo. The problem was we also lost cell coverage so we didn’t know if they had to go home or push forward. We decided to go ahead and start the trek up and hopefully they would catch up.
What I loved most about this trail? There wasn’t a place on either side of the mountain that didn’t give beautiful views! Everywhere you looked was breath taking.
Poor Maureen and Nancy…they are both in much better shape than I am.
I may hike often but my pace is much different. Think “weak link”. For a few reasons…
- I am clearly not in bad shape but I am clearly not in marathon shape…lol! I am totally at peace with that though
- I am a lollygagger…daisy picker…”look! Shiny light!” kindof hiker. I want to stop and take in EVERYTHING around me. I seriously am that girl that is in a constant state of wonder at the beauty that surrounds me. I am a slow and leisurly kindof gal. BUT I did the best I could at keeping focus and pace. I did “so-so” with both. LOL!
Those “rock scrambles”? Yeah, so here is the thing they left out. “Rock Scrambles” is code for “might possibly die every third step”.
It was a straight up, gloves would be nice, type of rock climbing. It was definitely fun BUT not for the faint of heart at all!
Never have I been more thankful that I had purchased new sneakers plus new shoe cushion inserts the day before. Probably saved my life…seriously.
Now my jeans? Don’t get me started on my jeans! I am at this crazy size where I am actually like a size 10 but only own a few pairs of 10′s purchased so far and that morning I grabbed a 12 and by mid hike I was losing them. It was soooo annoying. I was like “I should have bought jeans too!”
Guess who is now going to chuck out every remaining size 12 that closet hides. Tired of the “saggy bottom” look. It simply is not a good look! BAHAHAHA
Back to the rocks…shall I show you?
Why yes, I should.
It was a lot of this…
And Adam thought it was simply the best part of any hike EVER.
And we survived…
And then came one of my favorite parts! We all caught back up together! Car sick folks and all!
Which of course made the hike even more fun!
The plus for me was Adena…fellow shutter bug and daisy picker. And Teresa who may not have had a camera but totally could get on board with daisy picking and shiny lights method of hiking.
How about some “view from the top” pics…cell phone captures first…then back to the real camera (sadly I left the wide angle lens at home)
And then came the long trek down…BEAUTIFUL. The only adjective that fit.
We took “fire lane” down the mountain and if I ever go back this will be the trail I take…although if you ask Adam he will be dragging dad up the rock scramble trail.
Dillan is playing “turtle”. Conner knows how to work the camera though. Handsome fella
This wooly bear tells me
“hard Winter…mild Winter…followed by a few more storms before Spring”…you can take the girl out of Ohio but not the Ohio out of the girl
Mountain trees always amaze me. They fight hard to position themselves in the most beautiful spots. They find a way to adapt.
Our traditional “selfie”…must always have our shot with each other (sweet boy)
At the end of the day I came away so thankful for these friends of ours.
Refreshed….it has been quite a year already for us.
As we merge into the world of homeschooling teens these woman and children have been part of our lives for years now. It’s nice to know that we aren’t alone on our journey.
Homeschooling older children can be lonely for the mama’s. It can be frustrating, challenging and altogether exhausting.
We have all been teaching our children together for years, supporting each other, crying or laughing (depending on the day) with each other. One day when these kids have all left us I hope we can all keep our connection and go hiking or daisy picking often. There is something just wonderful about sharing a unique journey, like homeschooling, with the same friends year after year.
They understand things that “normal mama’s” might not get. They don’t look at you funny when you explain how you have three different kids doing three different curriculims each, or have put 25k miles on a car in 6 months driving kids to “extras”.
They understand when you are sad because you have been fretting about where each child “fits” best and can get their needs met as teens. Knowing that each child in a family is so different from the other.
Granted I think all those worries and concerns that plague homeschooling mothers can be found in traditional school settings but I am not so sure the bond between the mothers getting to do things like hiking up ginourmous mountains together get to happen as often as they should.
Perhaps the gift is in the shared struggle and support of the process of helping each other up that mountain…not facing it alone but surrounded by each other cheering the other on.
We have the chance to support each other, minus judgement, often in our small little community of homeschooled older children. I am ever so thankful for these woman, their children and the gift we have had to watch our children grow up together. They have all turned into such amazing young adults.
Did I just say “young adults”? How did this happen so fast? Weren’t they just hunting fossils at fossil beach yesterday
? Oh wait that was years ago…
I don’t often talk about our homeschool life on here these days.
Often, because I feel like there are a million homeschool blogs out there with much better advice or wisdom than I could ever give.
I feel like homeschooling is one of those things I will just never have all the answers to give folks.
I am NOT a “this is the best fit for EVERYONE!” type of homeschooler. I am the “this was the best fit for our family” type of homeschooler…who happened to luck out 6 years ago and connect with a lovely group of like minded mothers.
They will be in my heart for a lifetime. I have no doubt.
Off to continue daisy picking.
Oh and yes…the stats…thanks to my Fitbit in case you were wondering