My family recently spent several days at Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas for some spring break fun. I love taking time off with the family and the planning for our vacation time has always been something I do. It is my thing.
My goal is always low cost, high adventure, and high opportunity for long lasting family memories. This year we chose caving, bouldering and a backpacking hike overnight. This was going to be the second time for my son and the first time for my wife.
The hike was especially a challenge. We backpacked with all gear on our backs including our food, water, tents, and more. I knew it would be long but had not anticipated the hills of western AR. I have done a lot of hard physical things and carrying a 35+ pound pack 9+ miles to our day one campsite was indeed one of the my more difficult experiences. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for my family, the more difficult things get the more enthusiastic I tend to become no matter what I might be feeling inside. My mantra was: “We are building memories!”—“Anyone can do easy stuff!”—“Don’t worry! This is the last hill” (Yes, I am sure there were brief considerations to leave me in the woods)
At the end of the trail we were greeted by this great statue of a CCC worker and the slogan, “We can take it”. That as much as anything could have been our slogan. Yes the hike was hard and yes we could have done something a little more leisurely for our holiday. Instead we decided to take on a real challenge just the three of us.
The moment sitting by the campfire in the glory of the wilderness sharing as a family and then the moment when we stepped off the trail the final day will live on in our family lore for years. To me, the bonding experience of enduring on the trail was simple training for future endurance of other challenges our family will face together. I am sure there are challenges to come beyond just a little hike. Together though, and with a faith in God I know “We can take it”
What about you? Are you being deliberate to prepare your family for adversity? What is your strategy for family bonding and lasting memories?
Can you take it?