Backpacking to Sheep Lake | Rainier National Park

It's been several weeks since this adventure. If I had posted my thoughts right away, they would have come out steaming with frustration and angst. I was ready to toss my whole love of the great outdoors in a bucket and walk away. But I hated to do that. I was questioning whether my priorities were right, whether we were trying to escape real life, whether this really was the best thing to do with my kids.

Letting things sit for a few weeks often helps to bring clarity. The layers separate, the sediment settles to the bottom, the liquids clear.

I can look back on this experience now and chuckle. I was that mom. The mom with a goal, something to prove. The mom who thinks she wants something for her kids and will press through crowds and climb up on high things to get the prize.

See, I want my kids to choose nature experiences over just about any other form of entertainment. I want them to crave exercise, to crave time in the wild -- loving fresh air, cold water, mountain berries.

I'll admit that maybe I'm trying too hard to make them fall in love with the things I love.

We hiked 2.5 miles into Sheep Lake in Rainier NP. The description I had read said it was a great first backpacking trip for kids, without much elevation gain. They were kinda right. I would call it a gradual climb. Yes, the trail is pretty kid friendly. We could have had more fun if I wasn't "come on, we gotta get there" mom [my backpack wasn't packed well and was causing great pain to my neck and shoulders]. We would have had more fun with friends [but umm, the looks we get when we talk about backpacking?].

We should have packed in more water.
We should have patched the hole in the tent screen.
We should have brought books and games.

Ezra carried a box of wheat thins, Peter had a small backpack stuffed with his sleeping bag and his water, and I carried the rest. We should have brought donkeys. #justkidding #maybe

So -- long story short -- we made it, we played in the water a bit, we sprayed way too much bug spray, we ate most of our food and drank all of our water, we set up camp. And then we decided to pack up camp and hike out. We just weren't having a lot of fun.

This summer has been the summer of canceled plans -- mama planned for every weekend to be full of adventures, but this just didn't end up working for everyone else. We didn't go to Lake Crescent, we didn't go to Lake Chelan. We hiked five miles in Rainier NP that day and then drove back to daddy's hotel in Yakima. We watched a whole bunch of PBS Kids and then decided to go home and skip the whole Lake Wenatchee thing too.

I felt like a failure to myself and to my kids.

But, at the end of the summer, with a bird's eye view on things [if only], I'm thinking this summer taught us a few things. We'll probably need reminders [fo sure], but I think we'll start to put a greater priority on home life and simple routines and people who mean a lot to us. I'll always love a cool dip in a mountain river, the sound of paddles pushing through a silent lake, the feeling of summitting anything and looking around on the world from an outsider's perspective. But there IS more to life.

Sheep Lake is pretty cool, if you can get there in between snows and mosquito seasons. ;p Bring friends, bring donkeys, bring strong husbands, bring lots of water or a water purification device, bring a good book.

GO. Adventure. Chill. Clear your brain.
Then STAY. Mow the lawn. Harvest the tomatoes. Go out with a friend.
Adventure and Home. Both good things. But too much of any good thing can make you sick. #lessonssummertaughtus