I love hiking. I love everything that comes with hiking – a good workout, exploring, discovering something new, the challenge, and being in a place that nobody has ever been to before. Before we had children Matthew and I hiked a lot. One of our favorite places to hike was in the Mountains of North Carolina.
Matthew grew up going to his two cottages overlooking each other in Bat Cave, a town a little town outside of Asheville. When we started dating, he brought me down to the collages. I was mesmerized by the incredible beauty that filled this remote area. At the cottage that Matthew’s father grew up at, currently known as “The Clubhouse,” there is a cascading creek that runs down the steep mountain.
The hike up the creek is definitely one of the hardest hikes I have ever done. The rocks are big. With the water splashing down on them, it makes for a slippery step, especially when the climb feels straight up at times.
The other cottage sits high on the mountain top covered by huge Oak trees. This is where Matthew’s mother grew up going every summer. The rustic dirt road to wind up towards the cabin always has me wondering if we are even going to make it up. However, hidden in these woods are some of the most incredible hiking trails.
Overlooking Ticks, Poison Ivy and Copper Heads
When one can overlook the ticks, push the poison ivy aside, and watch out for the occasional copper head, you can let yourself dream. Throughout out the years, these hikes were times where I began to imagine myself as Matthew’s wife, wondering what life would look like to be married. As time when on I remember dreaming of my career and what I felt passionate about. I also found myself picturing what life would look like if we had children and a family of our own.
This year we traveled the long 12 hours, and windy drive into the mountains with our three kids crammed in our SUV. As we arrived, the sweet sound of the water coming down the creek places us all at ease. The room we are stay in is a tad more cramped, and the heat feels that much more hot with a baby on your hip. Threats of tics, poison ivy and copper heads feel a little bit more intense with your children surrounding you. But this is the life. This is what I had imagined years before. It was a dream of mine to one day take my children hiking through these mountains as we have done some many times before.
Ready for Adventure
We were ready for an adventure. We hiked down the mountain. Sayge was strapped to me in my carrier, and the boys with their walking sticks led the way.
I couldn’t help but reflect on the overwhelming gratitude I was feeling. I watch as Ayden discovered how to detect poison ivy, how he jumped over fallen branches, and how he could hear the wind through the leaves of the trees.. When Ayden was diagnosed with hearing loss as an infant and I had no idea what to expect. I had so many questions and fears it felt paralyzing at times. And here I was, with three amazing children, two of them with hearing loss, and enjoying an adventurous hike. I was teaching Ayden about birds, and pine cones, and trees, and leaves, and listening to the sound of the river as it got closer and closer with him.
Hearing and Hiking
Ayden and Sayge were both given hearing aids as infants. With these hearing aids, they are able to pick up on so much sound that they would otherwise not be able to detect. Their hearing aids access their natural hearing, amplifies, and clarifies the sound around them. As we hiked I just marveled at the sight of watching my son. He pointed out all the different sounds he was hearing. My heart was celebrating; relishing in the gift of sound that surrounded us – the wind blowing, the water flowing, and birds chirping, the cicadas singing – all sounds that he was hearing.
For some reason, this hike in particular felt symbolic for me. When I had envisioned my life on all those hikes before, I could never have imagined what my family would look like. But here I was enjoying a challenging hike, with my children leading the way, and I was filled with so much joy. It was better than anything I could have imagined. As I reflected two thoughts in particular came in my mind:
1. I really hope we don’s get a tick, poison ivy or bit by a copper head.
2. I must be the luckiest mom in the world.