Untamed in the Mountains with Five Little Kids
It is late on a Friday night. The van is packed, ready for a major adventure. I am alone in our living room, staring out into a dark night. Four of the kids are asleep. Becca is downstairs with baby Ben (8 weeks old). Things are not good.
|Why do bishops almost always stick the TLM in the ugliest parish in the diocese?|
|We're exhausted before we even arrive!|
|Many threats were made while taking pictures. "If you don't smile nice, you aren't getting ice cream! And you can sleep with the bears too!"|
|The most epic nursing picture. Two mommas nursing babies.|
My personal theme for this crazy trip is from Psalm 37 (36 in the Douay Rheims). "Delight in the Lord, and He will give you the requests of your heart." This trip is a testament to it. So too future plans we have as a family. Whatever may happen, we are to delight in the Lord. What does this even mean? To delight in the Lord?
|Thanks Grandpa Bear for the ice cream money. Expensive place but outstanding!|
|Jude sings for me almost the entire hike. Radio! Just like the Filipinos!|
|The kids love the stone pathways over some of the streams.|
|And I love this picture near the 6th bridge.|
|Miette River. Probably named after us. Probably.|
|Joseph walks across this. But I let John Paul only go this far.|
|Tradition. We get this picture every single time we come.|
|And a jumping pic. Only the actual jumping pics are too blurry.|
|I see this at our campground. Some guy re-did a garbage truck. You have to respect that.|
The morning of Day 5 starts normal enough. It is cold. We have a nice leisurely breakfast. Our plan is to pack up camp, do a little hike, a swim, and then go to our next location.
|And there are red chairs to enjoy the 360 view.|
|This boy has done a lot of mountain climbing in his 2 years of life.|
Apple wrap time! *Groans from all the kids*
|The lake is over 60ft deep! These guys said so. They're prepping for a diving expedition in Antarctica.|
|Did I mention you should buy my book?|
|Bath time. Lots of baths for this kid to cool him down. Whatever works.|
"But our back is to legends and we are coming home. I suppose this is the first taste of it. There is a long road yet," said Gandalf.
"But it is the last road," said Bilbo.
* * *
Day 7 begins. Today we start the long journey home. But first, one last campfire at breakfast. This time we make bread on a stick, and, ahem, a few roasted marshmallows.
|oTENTiks. Cheaper than a hotel. Way better than a hotel. But I miss tenting.|
What to do on this final morning? We discuss walking the 5km around Lac Beauvert. But the themes of our trip are "Hard" and "Repetitive." Plus, we want a view to say goodbye at!
We go back to Old Fort. It's a stunning morning. The hike is just perfect. We stay at the top point for a long time, soaking in the experience.
We come down, eat more apple wraps (this time at Edith Lake), and then start driving away from Jasper. John Paul cries almost the entire way to Edson. It is sad leaving. He even refuses an ice cream cone in Edson.
Edmonton comes. Why, oh why, must Edmonton be on the way? The juxtaposition is too much. I stop in at the West Edmonton Mall. I'm not sure why. I know our daughter has hiked her legs out, and is a little more inclined to other activities.
The mall feels overwhelming. The noise, lights, and air. The kids eat supper there. I can't eat. We go to a hotel. The West Travelodge. It's garbage. Our tent is probably cleaner. The laundromat there is down. We try washing some undies and socks in the tub. The tub won't drain. Bah!
Day 8 we swim before leaving. Actually, we waterslide. Then we make a brief stop at a Cabelas (b-day gift for someone) and a stop at Timmies to see Becca's sister one last time.
We are driving home now. Jude (2) is done. He is tired and flipping out. In Lloydminster we stop for our last meal of apple wraps. I decide to find a different park to eat at. After 20 minutes of meandering, we end up at the same park we always eat at. Repetition is good.
The drive to Saskatoon is gut-check time. But we make it. We pull in at the acreage of some friends we haven't visited in nearly eight months. We camp in their basement. There acreage and friendship is the perfect transition between the mountains and the "real world" we are returning to.
Day 9 we get up early and go to the 8am traditional Latin Mass. After we (but not Becca) pick up some Timmies' bacon and eggers and drive home. Seriously, the food tastes amazing! I mean...it's not apple wraps! On we drive. At noon we pull into our little driveway. We did it. We made it through.
Ben starts screaming. He cries and cries. Just like that. He loved the mountain air. It was nothing short of miraculous. He was a champ all week. But now, both mysteriously and expectedly, he returns to his colicky ways. Maybe we should move out to the mountain?
* * *
From our theme song for the trip. Untamed by Eddie Berman:
We'll know we were alive once
And at least for a moment untamed
For a moment. Only a fleeting moment. Untamed.
The hard life is not the bad life. Not if it's the right kind of hard.
With five little kids, we have done it. We have overcome colic, diapers, heat, cold, travel, a cramped van, flavourless food, ceaseless work, hurt knees, meltdowns, and exhaustion. By the grace of God, we have done it. And in return we are renewed.
We know now what it means to delight in the Lord.
* * *
Thanks for reading. If you wish to see videos from our trip, here they are: