Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Adventure pass

Some days when I think about all the fun stuff I want to do this summer, I feel almost paralyzed at home, with seemingly too many options and home being the one place that's easy. But, one thing I know for sure, is that me and my kids need to get out and get exercise and sun and be social and do things we love that make us feel good or else we all suffer. After all, a summer at home every day is not exactly the kind of stuff my kids want to share on the first day of school. Teacher: "What did you do this summer?" My kids: "We sat around the house all day making a huge mess, endlessly fighting, and getting on our mom's last nerves." Uh, not so good.
Today I felt inspired, practically compelled to go on a real honest to goodness hike, a hike far away from the hot stuffy city. Most of the places we've visited this summer is structured fun and I feel totally stifled. I go through my mental rolodex of great hiking spots and decide to venture out to Switzer Falls in the Angeles National Forest. Lucky for me I own an Adventure Pass that allows me to experience this area without getting a ticket and not having an excuse not to go. Now, with "Adventure" being the key word here, this spot is a bit of a trek winding the car up up up a mountain, but with beautiful views and Robert Munsch entertaining us on the iPod it's not too bad at all.
The hike turns out to be just what I ordered - slight breeze, tons of shade, chirping birds, lots of cool water to soak our feet in, very few other hikers, and just a splendid break from the concrete city. We see woodpeckers, lizards, butterflies, fish, my first BLACK DIAMONDBACK HIGHLY VENOMOUS RATTLESNAKE!!!, too much poison oak, wild blackberry bush with tons of berries to eat, old ruins, and it goes on and on. Even with the somewhat scary rattlesnake encounter, I feel at ease and centered...like I'm finally home.
I can't help but wish I did this consistently all this summer, adventure to a new amazing place every other day to be one with nature and dirt and snakes (not!!). Life stuff does get in the way, so I can't blame myself entirely. And, with only fourteen days left until school starts it would be an unrealistic pressure to put on myself to make up for lost time. But certainly a few more lovely hikes is possible, if not downright essential in these last two weeks. I need it!!
Now, I don't exactly consider myself the adventurous type - maybe compared to some but not at all compared to other wild and crazy people I know. For me, there is definitely something liberating about driving to an out-of-the-way place (all by myself) that's sort of hard to get to that's away from my comfort zone, and having it turn out great. You should've seen the smiles on our faces today. I even got a "10" rating out of Talia (compared to the "zero" rating way too early this morning when she was screaming at her brother). I guess it's kind of like life - those things that challenge us can reap the most rewards. The difficult hurdles that we face and conquer make us feel more proud and confident in the end. I realize our limitations, of course - I'm not exactly going to push the kids way beyond their endurance limits just to reach the waterfalls that I somehow never get to see on hikes, but, that's okay. Sniffle. Sometimes it simply has to be about getting out the door and just doing it.


  1. What a blast you had! I'm pushing my comfort level today by cleaning my neighbors floors for her. Sigh.....

  2. Fun stuff, cool pics, thanks for the trip !!