I’ve written before about my love of my “primitive camping” hobby. I like to go in with just a backpack and hike for miles until I find a suitable site, tame it just enough to stay there overnight, and then leave it as I found it and hike home. I also love all sorts of other flavors of camping, from barely-counts-as-camping renting a cabin to pitching a tent at a campsite, but the backpack-only style is my favorite.
So this time, I brought along The Beansprout (age 9) on her first such trip.
She took to it like a fish to water.
She was my trailblazer, navigating with a compass, hiking miles with a ten-pound pack, cutting through thorns, scaling rocky cliffs, literally fording a river at one point! (Okay, more of a decent-sized stream, but adventurous nonetheless!)
Her inherent wilderness skills notwithstanding, she’s definitely still The Beansprout, which means that she also pretty quickly dug up an animal skull, had me affix it to the end of her walking stick, and then declared herself The Forest Witch, in command of all creatures of the woodlands and layer of curses upon the unworthy.
Never a dull moment with this kid, for sure.
But the greater lesson is this: I honestly wasn’t sure, prior to the trip, if she was old enough. For regular camping, sure – but a multi-mile hike into the woods? Heavy pack? No easy out? And then she blew away every expectation. People – kids and adults alike – rise to their challenges. If you don’t challenge, you never rise.
And if you never rise, you can never become The Forest Witch, and is that really the life you want?