But low and behold, Middle wanted to use his walking stick that he got from school and go gold mining. Paul and I made a pack that we would do whatever we could to make our kids dreams come true at camp. We went fishing, Tye dying, we made paper, and played countless hours on the basketball court and open field. But this was Middle's last big wish, and I was determined to make it happen. Justin a counselor was ready to take us. Paul and I just finished up a session talking about the Haiti Mission Project. It was 2:30, already way past nap time and Little had no choice but to come with us. Paul was getting things checked out on the car and Big was playing with his friends, so it was just me and Middle and Little. We were late already, Middle kept pulling on my skirt to get me going, and Justin had to be back in time to help prep dinner. So we grabbed our hiking sticks and Little had her bear and I was a screaming stereotype of a city girl who doesn't know how to hike. (Which I do, I just presently was not dressed accordingly.) I was wearing a sundress and three year old Old Navy Flip Flops, which basically means my feet were touching the ground and I was feeling every rock under each step. Those things are thin to begin with and I wore the balls of feet down to almost holes. We had a water bottle and my cell phone. No one was wearing sunscreen and I discover this hike is a mile to the Rose Quartz Mine where we will be lowering my children into a large rock pit to dig for treasure. I shake my head at the ridiculousness that we are becoming.
Four minutes into the hike I hear, "I'm tired, are we almost there?" And right after that, Little says, "Carry me mama? Carry me?" Oh my, what I have done.
Soon after this, we discover all the Mica on the ground which makes the Black Hills famous for all the sparkling rocks in the dirt. It is a beautiful shiny thin shell that coats rocks and you can easily peel it off. Little loves that fact that she has become an explorer and stops every five seconds and shouts, "Mica mama! I find mica!" Considering the ground is littered and covered in this stuff, it's gonna take us an hour just to walk 20 feet. This is annoying, I mean endearing to say the least. Here is Little with her huge hiking stick and favorite animal hunting for mica.
Right after this, Justin and I discover a large animals fresh remains and huge rib cage. I look at him and he informs me there have been mountain lion sightings this summer.
We hike on. I carry Little. We spot wild flowers. We drink water. I carry Little. Little's puppy has to stop and pee. Yea, we stopped for that. She did the whole bit, wipe and wash paws and everything.
Collect more mica, find a feather, carry Little some more. Then we arrive after a triumph mile hike to the Rose Quarz Mine in the Black Hills. This is where I find out that we have to lower my children inch by inch down the rocky terrain to get to the bottom. Me in a skirt, with my paper flip flops, a water bottle, two hiking sticks that have gotten discarded, two feathers and a fistful of mica that have become treasures. I shoved my cell phone down my dress and we made it happen. Look at how happy they look and they almost look completely unscathed.
Look how high that wall of rock is behind them. That's what we slid down while lowering them into the pit. The kids loved looking for special rocks. They would collect them, and then separate them, and find their favorites. Dreams come true baby. Dreams coming true.
So we pocket our rocks and then start our walk back. We climb out of the pit, me slipping on rocks and trying to stay decent in a skirt while not loosing our treasures. I have big sunglasses on, phone shoved down my bra, skirt covered in dirt, and my feet slipping on the rocks. Who are we kidding, if I saw me, I would judge me, I was judging me when we left on this little adventure.
We weave through trees, Little races birds down the lane and that is when we notice more animal bones freshly savaged. This is when I realize that there is no way on God's good earth that I could protect my kids from a mountain lion! Justin and I exchange a look, and silently we communicate to each other that the best course of action is to quickly move forward.
This is a bit of challenge as Little pees herself and decides that she can't walk with wet shorts. Middle has also decided that this adventure has far surpassed his walking capabilities and so Justin and I exchange water bottles, walking sticks and treasures, we haul the two kids on our backs, hands full of gear and we move forward. My face is wet with sweat, my feet hurt and my back is now wet from pee. We push on.
We make it.
We never saw the mountain lion.
And three hours later I got to shower.
Someone please remind me of this story when next year I want to take my kids on a hike.