When asked for one line that describes our dear mother for a birthday card one year, my sister came up with the best one:
“Two miles my a$$!”
It may sound crass or rude to some, but in my family it is a term of endearment. We all spent our childhood dragging our feet behind our tireless mother hiking up one Bitterroot Range drainage or another. And somehow she always managed to misjudge the distance of such outings.
One hour turned into four, two miles turned into six, and the single bottle of water and bag of trail mix for us to share was gone in the first ten minutes.
I think hiking was her form of escape, I mean she sure hiked like she was trying to escape from us. But somehow we all survived each unanticipated swift creek crossing, wrong turn, and wildlife run-in. Did I mention I am one of seven kids? Considering the odds it’s pretty amazing one of us didn’t take a tumble down a drainage, or get picked off by a bear. But, that was always good motivation not to be the last one on the trail, you didn’t have to run fast… just faster than the person behind you.
That’s me OutdoorAly on the right with my siblings taking a break from hiking in the Bitterroot. It could be Kootenai, Big Creek, Sweeny, or Bass Creek…take your pick.
And we learned a few things from these hikes growing up. It is better to go thirsty than risk getting Giardia from drinking out of a creek. How, and where to dig a proper hole when needed. Yes, that is stinging nettle, and no, whining won’t help the stinging go away.
I am proud of my ability to be able to identify edible wild plants like strawberries, snow berries, elder berries, thimble berries, and of course huckleberries. It also became a game to identify any wildflowers we encountered on the trail, along with the different coniferous trees in the Bitterroot National Forest.
Now that us kids are all grown and off on our own adventures, my mom has taken to hiking new territory. The Jewel Basin and Glacier National Park are now her playground, and boy does she cover some ground without a line of grumpy kids reluctantly trailing behind her.
We all visit from time to time, and she usually talks us into accompanying her on a hike. But now we pack our own water and snacks. And when we ask how far we are going, the answer is always the same in the end: Two miles my a$$!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MOM!
feature photo: Me & my two little sisters and Mom at Holland Lake falls