Are you kids having fun?
Yes. No. Sometimes.
Not right now. Ask me around the campfire after a hot supper and chocolate for dessert.
Are you having fun is not a question hiking adults ask other hiking adults, so I find this a curious question to ask a child/teen long distance hiker.
Anyone who is out here for more than five days knows this isn’t always fun. Not even close.
I had some email correspondence with another mother whose family did a three year sailing trip when their kids were younger. She mentioned something to me about family adventuring, something we have found to be true on the trail also. The high’s are high and the low’s are low.
We’ve all (except Damien) have had a turn with tears. But this is no different from our experience in the course of two weeks of normal life. We’re not on a vacation, where we seek relaxing pleasure experiences every day. We’re on a long distance hike, and we’re all adjusting to that.
These past two weeks have been filled with moments that were beautiful, rewarding, boring, happy, warm, disappointing, dry, melancholy, tiring, cold, exciting, rainy, challenging, sunny, and relaxing. Fun doesn’t begin to describe the experience and could never do it justice. Nor does it tell the whole truth.
Amazing life adventures are so much than fun. They are high’s and low’s, mountain tops and valleys - literally - woven together to create a rich, life changing, relationship building experience.
Sixteen days in, our hike has been amazing. It has been challenging and rewarding likewise.
Are we having fun? Why yes we are. Fireside with new friends, sunsets, sunrises, trail magic, excursions off trail, a zero day at the NOC, funny conversations, and new discoveries are all fun.
Hiking when we are tired, wet, cold, sore, (fill-in-the-blank) is not so much fun. And we experience the not-so-fun moments every day. Sometimes hour by hour.
But in those moments, all the moments fun and dreary, we’re growing, we’re learning, we’re having deeply enriching (life-changing) experiences.
Fun is not a word I’d use to describe our hike. Amazing is more like it.