April 15 – hail to the Smokies

Twenty five degrees and hailing sent the Cartwheel morale barometer to and all time low. The trail was still a river from the previous days rain, so we were walking through slush in our trail runners and neoprene socks. Mamma Bear (a trailname that is apparently inevitable and is shared by the mom of more than one hiking family we’ve met – the other mom being Mossy, a combination of mom and bossy), after coddling and song singing failed to raise the mercury, gave Cartwheel a tough love peptalk, which I’ll paraphrase here (from the snippets I could overhear as the bone-chilling wind pummeled my hood with hail): “Maddy, I’m doing EVERYTHING I can to make this better for you. I promise that you won’t freeze out here, but at some point you’re just going to have to recognize that this is the reality and that the only way you are going to get warm is to keep hiking until we get to the shelter where you can change into dry clothes. Sometimes life is tough, but you’ll get through it.” After that, the crying ceased, the hiking increased, and Cartwheel found her inner peace. Mouse (who has now become Robinhood after fashioning a working bow and arrow from found objects in the woods), was much more stoic: after two hours of hiking with wet feet in the sleet and hail, he turned and said calmly, “dad, this really is pretty miserable.” I responded “well, it can only get better, to which he replied, “yeah, but there’s no guarantee it will.”. After we got to the shelter, found it full, and had to hike for another 6 miles to the next one, I asked Robinhood what is one wish would be when we passed through the next town. Without hesitation he said, “to go home.” Eventually our trail friends (Gilligan and Ginger) caught up and perked up the kids with the mantra, “you’re stronger than your adversity.” By the end of the night we were tucked in and warm, the misery of the day almost forgotten.

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4 Comments on “April 15 – hail to the Smokies

  1. As Nietczschte pointed out, “was ihn nicht umbringt, macht ihn stärker.” (What doesn’t kill him, makes him stronger). Still a 1/2 day off to wait for weather once in a while wouldn’t kill you either and might be more fun in the long run.

  2. I like both parts of the comments of Grandpa Pete. I also like Mouse’s new name.

  3. Oh Wow! You guys are so amazing! One day swimming in the sun and shortly there after walking in the hail! Sending love, light, and strength to all of you!

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