I finally managed to get my family to join me on a hike to Webster's Falls a few weeks ago. I had been telling my boys how much they would love this hike for a month. "The trail winds along a creek! At times it is high up on the edge of the valley and at other times so low and close to the water that you have to hold onto tree branches so you don't fall in the fast moving water." This hike had all the elements I knew my boys would love - nature mixed with a healthy dose of adventure.
Still my request was met with some pretty strong resistance. Our youngest (and for the moment still the smallest amongst us) was not looking forward to the sore legs that follow after a long walk with taller people. And my oldest who has an aversion to mud (which is pretty much a staple on the trails in Ontario in the fall) saw no real need to go and get his hikers dirty. In the end the adults pulled rank and veto voted the outing into action.
Sadly not long after we we set off, the boys concerns were quickly manifested. At our first brief rest stop our youngest complained of aching calve muscles and my oldest scrunched his nose with dismay at the 2 inch mud cake clinging to the bottom of his boots. We pressed on, down the steep embankment to the creek's edge, past the spot where the creek is joined by another tributary, across the rocks sitting just above the large boot sucking mud patch, through the large moss covered, man-sized boulders and finally as close to the base of Webster's Falls as the heavy spray would allow.
The noise from the rush of the water plummeting over the edge of the 22 meter high 24 meter wide ridge into the valley made it difficult for me to hear what the boys said as they scrambled closer to see this amazing site, but the look on their faces told me they were not sorry they came.
My husband has a friend and mentor who has always maintained that when opportunities arise, you say YES. Say yes FIRST, knowing you can always say no later. Opportunities don't always come around twice. I'm not sure this is an approach that comes naturally but I've always hoped my boys would embrace this approach to life.
As we turned to start our walk back to the trail head, my youngest bounded up behind me and threw his arms around my waist. "That was awesome. I'm glad we did it." he said. I just smiled.
This post is dedicated to our dear friends who have said YES to a very big opportunity! They have taken their family of five on the road for a year of learning and adventure. We will miss the Gilberts here at home but we look forward to following your travels abroad. You inspire us!