As many of you may know by now, our family loves to travel and explore!
This summer, DH planned another amazing adventure for us that took us on an exploration of the pacific north west of the continental USA.
DH is especially well traveled so any opportunity to get to see a new place for the first time together is a real treat! He also happens to be a fantastic travel planner and takes the credit for our many family travel adventures.
Feel free to read about our adventures in Africa climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and summiting exactly on our twins boys tenth birthday, which allowed them to hold the world record for the youngest To officially Summit Mount Kilimanjaro! What a gift 💕
Okay back to this summers travel.. we landed in Portland Oregon and drove straight to the trail heads of Maultnomah falls. As I’m grabbing my camera to hit the trail ,I realized that I had forgotten to pack my hiking or running shoes!! Oyiee 🥴Luckily I was able to borrow some from my family and off we went!
Pearl #1: pack for your vacation ahead of time, considering specific activities ,so that you can bring appropriate gear. Just open your luggage and keep throwing in stuff you’llneed, at least a week before your trip.
Maultnomah falls views was breathtaking! I promise it looks way better in reality than the still pictures you see hanging in hotel rooms etc. There are other hikes around the Maultnomah falls such as Bridal veil trail which was also totally worth the short hike. We did this hike first which ended in a lovely water fall and a beautiful creek that our kids enjoyed exploring.
We took a break to get some pictures on the bridge alongside numerous other tourists . It was close to 6 pm when we began the 2.6 mile moderately challenging hike up Maultnomah falls ( 823ft, 11 switchbacks, pretty steep ) while the sun was still very high in the sky .
Needless to say the nearly vertical hike up was challenging but doable , switchback after switchback we climbed. Meanwhile scattered all around us were glorious views. The sky was beautiful and warm as the sun cast gorgeous shadows and lines on everything in its’path.
I will only give you the following pertinent details about our hike up. Having almost four teenagers they were basically running up the climb thanks to their athleticism.
They took turns hiking in pairs, while at times the youngest daughter was leading the hike. On family hikes, I tend to bring in the cabiose often. Perhaps because I enjoy admiring all of my family from behind their strides as I count my blessings for each of them. Ofcourse it could also be my shear laziness or that I have diminutive athleticism compared to my children’s young blood and DH’s strong chiseled muscles 🤪
The hike was demanding and I kept pushing back placing one foot infront the other, as I counted my switchbacks to the top.
Suddenly the terrain flattened and allowed me some breathing space to reset my mind and focus inwardly. Just as soon as a prayer of gratitude came to my heart, I also added a prayer of protection for all of us on the hike.
With the space created, I was more intentional and realized that by now DH has slowed his pace to wait on our youngest who has started to dwadle perhaps frustrated this hike was much longer than we all had expected😏
Then I stopped to take a sitting rest while I waited for DH and our youngest to catch up. A few mins later DH was there and we exchanged “trail greetings”, that’s when he noticed there was a fork in the road right at the spot I had decided to stop.
Pearl #2: Keep an eye out for trail signs!
He told me he wanted to wait there for our youngest to make certain she took the right path at the crossroads . At that exact moment , my mind flashed to the three oldest ahead! I wondered if they all stayed close together? Did one of them lag behind and missed the fork on the road? My mind was beginning to race with anxious thoughts now .. the devil is such a liar! I literally JUST found my calming space on the hike and there I am now about to freak out!
I began bolting down the path running as fast as I could to our children,while I called out their names loudly. I don’t know how long I ran on that path before I heard two of them respond to my calling “ We’re here at the River mom!” The River was the end of the hike up , the top of the waterfall which was our destination before we turn around and head back down.
Phew! My mind was about to start to relax but not until I asked if they were ALL three together? They answered affirmatively for two but stated that their brother was trailing behind them…. Oh shoot🤬
Pearl #3: Don’t hike alone , bring water, have time piece etc etc
I didn’t even remember if I eye balled them before I quickly made a U turn and headed back UP the path to find my missing twin.
I passed DH who has stayed at the fork waiting to make sure our youngest didn’t do what I now feared her brother had done.
We agreed to reunite after I found our son and off I headed without even thinking .
Technically DH was a more seasoned hiker than myself , and if anything I should have let him go on the search himself. He likely maybe more efficient but my momma’s heart would not let anyone else do this job other than myself… I HAD to go find my son!
Besides I couldn’t manage the angst of waiting for the search to be completed.
I was off running with so much adrenaline than I imagined possible in my tired body . My legs just kept moving while my mind raced and raced… it must be a mother’s worst nightmare , the fear of harm befalling her offspring.
My mind flashed to all the horror movies where children are kidnapped on lonely trails and never seen again.
Then the waterworks came flooding my eyes, my tearfulness kept getting interrupted by my thoughts which challenged me to HAVE FAITH.
I didn’t want to be lean into my crying because it somehow meant that I was accepting the possibility that my child was in fact lost on the trail.
I prayed , I bargained with God then I blamed myself for having agreed to go on this adventurous hike. I mean those views were NOT worth loosing my son!
I was now hiking down that notorious fork in the road . I even warned some hikers on the path to watch for the fork and take the correct path to lead to the river , which was the infamous top of the amazing Mount Maultnomah.
The path got more and more quiet and isolated. I was no longer seeing any hikers and I was panicking as I was left to only my own thoughts. It all seemed like eternity , as I prayed my son to come back to me.
Then I saw a couple who were hiking from what seemed to be a completely opposite direction on the path.they were coming from the direction I was headed in search of my son.
I asked them in between breaths if they have seen a young boy as I described my son to the couple. They both shook their heads and THEN said the most dreadful utterances , that they had been hiking for almost 20 mins and hadn’t ran into anyone on the hike.
I almost lost it ! 😱
Do I keep going in search of my son? We hadn’t lost site of him THAT long, had we?Do I go back and inform DH that I hadn’t succeeded on my quest to find our son yet?
My head was spinning at this time and I could hardly focus on any one thought..
I believed the couple but I also didn’t want to believe them . I was now at my own crossroads, then my panic REALLY set in.
Confused I started to head back for more help and just as soon as I turned a switch back that led me facing back the path I had originally gone looking for my 13 yr old teenage baby, I saw him calling out to me.. Mom!!
In a flash we both were speeding towards each other , mostly in silence , and then my tears really gushed out like a heavy release as I embraced him with all my might.
The couple watched our reunion with some puzzled look that there was a boy indeed on the trail after-all ,but I could hardly notice anything other than my son at this point.
We didn’t have many questions for one another , we were just so darn happy to be reunited! He told me how sacred he had been when he realized he was all alone on the path without coming across anyone . I tried not to imagine him so lonely on a path.
Gratitude filled my heart for God’s protection on my son. He may have been physically alone on that path, but I know God was right there on the path WITH him!
We hiked back to reunite with the rest of the family and the hike back ALL together , was the sweetest. This time, I hiked again in admiration of my independent little humans , but now I hiked with two kids in front, and two kids behind while DH brought the caboose.
There were many more family hikes on that trip as we discovered the gorgeous pacific north west coast of the continental USA together , BUT we did it TOGETHER💕
Have you ever thought you lost a child in your care ? Do you cry at joyous reunions?
May God always go with us on all our life trails!
As always, thank you for reading my blog and of course I welcome your comments and any shared experiences .
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