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Fifteen miles may not seem that far to the avid hiker, but to a 6-year-old and his two parents carrying enough for three between their two heavy packs, it can feel like crossing a continent. Our family backpacking trip was going far better than planned, but we still had 6 miles to finish our goal and reach our car. On the third morning, we awoke to the magnificent sunrise, signaling the beginning of a new day. Once again, Syfy had slept like a baby in his sleeping bag, with no pad underneath him. Letting Syfy sleep in a little longer, I climbed out of my hammock and crawled into the tent to begin the daily ritual of making breakfast and packing up our camp. Today we would accomplish our goal as a family, and finish hiking the Butterfield Hiking Trail.
I don't wanna climb back up...
I was so excited to finish our trip and get back home, that I had completely forgotten about the super rocky and jagged hill we had to ascend to get back to the trail from our campsite. I'm not going to lie, I definitely hadn't had enough coffee yet to be starting my day off with such a tough uphill battle. Fortunately for me, the Hippy Hubby was rearing to go and he quickly ascended the mile back to the trail, left his pack there, and came back for ours. He valiantly carried both our packs back up that hill, so that we could have an easier time climbing the treacherous terrain.
Back on the trail and ready to finish
At the top of the hill, we all sat down to rest before starting back on the BHT. I was definitely not ready to put my pack back on. My shoulders were tired from carrying the extra weight for a whole family and my straps had started to dig into my shoulders. Finally, after a nice break, I put my pack back on and we started on down the blue diamond labeled trail.
Climbing UP a waterfall is not as hard as it looks
Our first half of the day was a lot of uphill hiking. As we ascended up the hills, I was constantly shifting my pack on my crooked shoulders, wishing I hadn't been so cheap and had purchased the Osprey Aura AG pack that I had been eyeballing. When we finally got to the base of the waterfall we had to climb, I looked up in awe, wondering how I would get up there without the weight of my pack tipping me over. As it turned out, climbing up the large boulders while trying to avoid getting soaked by the falls, wasn't nearly as difficult as climbing down the waterfall from the first day. Syfy and I were so proud to have climbed up it, we made the Hippy Hubby climb back down to take this photo (above) of us sitting up top!
Completing our hike and getting to the car
The last 4 miles of our day was pretty excruciating for me. My pack wasn't sitting right on my back and it had started causing a sciatic nerve pain in my right hip. I powered through it, looking forward to completing our goal. So far, we had managed to escape rain during our entire trip, so when the sky opened up and began to drop rain in fat droplets on top of our heads, we scrambled to pull out our rain jackets and pack covers, just in time. Underneath the canopy of the trees, the rain would drop slowly, misting onto our cheeks, but whenever we would break through the trees we found ourselves inundated with droplets splashing onto our faces. Syfy and I had gotten into the habit of letting the Hippy Hubby go ahead of us, so as to break all the spider webs before we got to them. It was a very good plan! Our very last mile of the trip seemed like the longest mile I have ever experienced! I kept thinking that around every corner would be our car. Finally, we knew we were almost to the car when we reached the Devil's Den falls (below). When we finally reached our car, Syfy was so stoked to get his tablet back that he kissed the ground by the car. So much for him forgetting about technology forever!
We're totally going to do this more often!
On our way home, while riding in our car, we all agreed, we weren't really ready to go back to the real world. We had had so much fun together, and even though some people speculated that Syfy wouldn't be able to hike 15 miles, he did just fine! He thoroughly enjoyed all of the big bugs that we came across on our trip and even loved setting up camp each time. He immediately loaded up his pack with books when we got home so that he could "train for our next trip." We had so much fun together, just hanging out and working together to accomplish our goals. I can't wait to take the Hippy family on our next wild and free outdoor adventure!