This letter goes out to my son who is currently hiking the terrain of Yosemite National Park with his sixth grade class. He will be out of reach for one week.
I hope this letter finds you well. I know you are having the time of your life. What is better than hiking in such beautiful country, enjoying nature, stretching your legs (or wings) from your usual comfortable nest at home. Moments like these will help define you as a person–will you be the type to stay on the heavily trodden path (“most traveled by”) or blaze your own trail, despite the poison oak overgrowth or snakes (and other creatures) that may slither by. Will your independence blossom with every step you hike? Will you give your hand to a struggling classmate and help him up the jagged rocks? Will you share your last drops of water with your neighbor even though she unwittingly gulped down her entire bottle a mile back, without knowing that there were a few more miles to go? Will you stand up for yourself, beat your chest and roar, “Is this all you have nature? I can take your cold, wet and hot! I can take what life will throw at me!”
Ok, maybe not (or maybe). I can only hope that you will learn something new about yourself during this time on your own. Whatever you learn, whether it be the grand gestures and beatings of the chest noted above or perhaps you will discover that don’t really like all the outdoorsy hiking stuff and that lizards make you squeamish or sleeping in 35 degree frigid weather in a skimpy tent is not what you call a good time. Whatever it is that you take from this trip, know that you did this on your own, and on your own terms. Learn from your accomplishments and especially the mistakes. Then, get up and hike on!
With you on the trail,
Your mama back at the comfortable nest
P.S. Don’t forget sunscreen! Or showering and deodorant everyday (otherwise the girls may not like to hike next to you most of the time).