The Hard Parts

It’s a hard place to be when nothing goes as planned. When everything falls apart. When all your expectations are unmet.

I expected the first day of our backpacking trip to be cold but not icy. I expected the hike to be difficult but not treacherous. I expected good conversation around a blazing fire the first night in camp. Instead, the icy wind storm forced us to set up and enter our tents early where we ate our dinners alone and tried to stay warm and dry. The long night was made longer as the storm continued through the dark morning hours. The wind howled, trees crashed to the ground, mice scurried around our tents, and we turned over and over in our sleeping bags. The morning brought relief from the storm, but ice covered everything.

It was so cold we didn’t want to move out of our sleeping bags, but we ate breakfast and began the long process of taking down tents and repacking our packs. Some in our group left because of sickness or injury but some more of us thought of quitting. Some of us wanted a toilet, a warm bed, and just not to be on the adventure any longer.

Maybe more of us than I knew wanted to leave the trail, but we stayed with it. We hiked through one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. The frozen forest was other-wordly. Two or so hours into our hike we were out of the ice and ascending the mountain where the sun shone bright on our faces. We ate our lunches on rocks warmed by the sun, then we climbed Little Hump and Big Hump Mountains.

The three day, two night backpacking trip far exceeded my expectations and turned out to be one of the most difficult, joyful, and memorable adventures for me. The hard parts of the trip made the good parts really good.

It’s like that with most anything, isn’t it? The challenges of a thing make the finish that much sweeter. We’re made stronger by the challenges. We learn more from difficult situations and we find out what we can really do.

The hard parts are worth it.

Unlikely

Magic

When it snows in Alabama it feels like magic.

The white stuff causes wonder and excitement like nothing else. We watch the snow as it falls and we pray that it “sticks”. Most of the time the ground is so warm around these parts that the snow melts as soon as it touches.

But sometimes……  img_1109-1

Sometimes……..

It sticks.

And it’s one of the most beautiful sights you’ve ever seen. Especially in the country. Where the cows are in the fields and the trees are big and the sheds and fences are covered with snow.

And the roads are closed because no one knows how to drive on snowy roads and we don’t have chains on our tires.

But we play in the snow because it may be the only snow we get for a few years. We build a snowman and ride garbage can lids down hills and have snowball fights.

Then we gather enough snow to make snow cream and eat it while we talk about how we hope the snow stays another day.

But it doesn’t take long for the magic to melt and we wait for it to come again.

In response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge Temporary.

Off-Season

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Off-Season.”

FernOne of my favorite places to be is the forest.  I came across this lovely fern on a hike in the Bankhead National Forest.  The young bright plant was odd because it was fall and I usually see these in the spring.

Alabama snowWe don’t see much snow in North Alabama so when we are blessed with the white stuff, it’s an event.  Everything shuts down, snowmans are built, garbage can lids are converted into make-shift sleds. and those “sleds” are usually tied to the back of a four-wheeler and pulled around a big field with a screaming kid hanging on.  This snow happened a few days before March which is even more rare.  I snapped a picture of the field behind our home while it was still snowing and before the four-wheelers came out. We’re blessed because the snow doesn’t stay around very long.  Just enough time to have some fun.