Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Our first family hiking trip

My mom wrote this about our hike and I wanted to put it on my blog too. She asked me questions during her re-write and changed the words so that it was from my perspective.

While on vacation this past week, my family hiked at Coker Creek Falls in eastern TN. We chose this day trip from a local book about day trips near Murphy, North Carolina. About 3/4 of the way there, I started asking questions about the hike. I had been on some hikes before with my dad and my YMCA Indian Princess tribe, but I did not know what to expect from this place that no one in the car was familiar with. My mom and dad gave me the booklet so I could read about Coker Creek Falls to see if that helped at all. My parents tried their best to answer my questions, and give me encouragement, but things went downhill quickly..

I said:
"What if I break my arm or leg?"

"How will we find crutches in the woods?"

"This says rock ledges! My mind is not running away with me! I'm gonna die!"

I said "I'm gonna die!" like five times in a row.

I had a big meltdown in the van.

My dad said: "Ella, do you trust us? Have we ever taken you somewhere to do something that we knew was not safe?

My mom said: "We brought Annelise and Teddy with us. Would we bring the little ones to someplace we thought was very dangerous and where one of you could die?"

I became slightly more rational...

I said: "There are a lot of bad things that could happen that I'm afraid of. I was all excited till I found out what this hike was!"

My parents reflected my feelings.
"I know we have never been to Coker Creek Falls. I know it is a new experience and that can make you nervous and scared. I know that you are afraid that you could get hurt. But we are here to keep you safe and to make sure nothing bad happens to you"

The encouraged me:
"You cahn do eeet! It's an adventure! Come with us!"

Our first stop was this first waterfall section, where my sister Maddie took a picture of mom, and she took a picture of mom. I was still thinking "we're gonna die, we're gonna die, we're gonna die" this whole time.

We came to a manmade set of stairs and railings meant to help you go down to an area recommended for going out onto the falls and even hiking up the rocky crags in the falls! Maddie, Annelise, and mom scampered down to the bottom, but realized that they needed to have worn crocs or water shoes, as well as swimsuits, to enjoy the falls that way. They scampered back up, and attempted to continue on the hike.

I took one look down the path, as it narrowed and curved downward, and started absolutely freaking out.

I started stomping my feet, clinging to my dad, and screaming to have someone stay with me or take me back to the car. My parents discussed things, and decided that I needed to be brave and come along, because the rest of the family wanted to take the hike.

That made me feel confused, and I didn't understand why they were trying to take me, when I was scared!

First my dad tried to talk me into going, and then my mom tried pulling me.

I said:
"I can't go on any further!"
Mama: "Yes you can, I know you can do this."

I said:
"I'll just stay here"
Mama: "Ella, you can't stay here."
Then I said: "Ground me from everything, just please don't make me do it!"

Mama was being very scary. I started crying when mom told me I couldn't stay, and my mom felt badly for me because I tried everything to stay.

She showed me that my little sister Annelise was hiking up and down the trail ahead of us. It made me feel kind of sad because she was younger than me and she was going up without holding onto anybody. And I can understand that because she's a very small person with small feet.

Mom reminded me that she had done a scouting mission ahead of us to check out the trail. I was kind of glad that she checked out the trail, and I trusted her a little bit that it would be okay.

She asked me if I would hold onto her with my hands around her arm, and that we could go a little ways.

We took baby steps, but we made some progress past the railing point. I was still kinda scared, and shaking, but we started down the path.

I started to relax a little, and hold onto just my mom's hand. I started to enjoy it a little bit, but I wouldn't tell anybody.

We started on our return trip about 20 minutes later, and mom suggested that we each take a small quartz-looking stone from the path to remind us of our journey. I found one I liked that was small and shiny.

Annelise was hiking ahead of us, and chirped "We hiking in the magic rainbow forest!"

I said: "Magic Rainbow Forest? More like a plummet to certain death!"

Before the end of the hike, Maddie and I came out with Mama into the middle of the waterfall. I felt happy that we were on top of a waterfall, and because we were done!

Afterward, I said I was glad that I had hiked, that it was really pretty, and it was really cool to be on top of a waterfall and kinda cool to go on a hiking trip.

Have you had a family hiking experience? What was the first one like? I would love to hear about it!