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When Things Don’t Go As Planned

Bruce and I planned a weekend of backpacking to get some miles under our boots. I have been more than a little lazy about training for my section of an AT Relay. I am not worried about being able to complete my miles, I just want it not to be too painful.

Our plans were to leave early Friday morning to have our feet on the trail by 8:00am hoping to get a good 15 miles of hiking in. We would choose a good stealth spot, spend the night. Saturday morning we would hike another seven or eight miles turn around and return to the same spot for a second night. Then Sunday hike back out. Our route was the Appalachian Trail southbound from Abol bridge near Millinocket.

We were in the midst of packing Thursday when Our youngest son, Patch texted us to let is know he wanted to come up for the afternoon with some friends. He had been away all month at UMaine football preseason. I was delighted to hear this and without consulting my hiking partner, aka my hubby, I informed him our plans have changed and we would be leaving later Friday so we could spend time with our son.

I finished packing and went to work doing what every mom has done before me and will continue to do after my existence, prepping for a house full of hungry young men. I spent the rest of that evening and the next getting ready for an impromptu visit. The guys only had so much time off between practice sessions to enjoy some homemade food and the lake.

An hour before they arrived I received another text from Patch requesting they eat on the boat. “Sure” was my reply. Followed by my next text, “Are parents invited?”

I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked by his answer, “Would like it to just be us.” I swallowed the lump in my throat and finished the task I was on to make their stay enjoyable. When they all arrived we grabbed hugs and handsakes, pointed them to where all the food was, and wished them a good season. They headed to the boat and Bruce and I left for our trip, 5 hours later than planned.

We hiked three miles, ONLY 12 short of our initial plan. No worries. We were just glad to be out. We set up our tents near Hurd Stream shelter that was full of northbound AT thru hikers. We tried to be friendly but it was obvious they didn’t want to socialize with others, especially a couple of weekenders who were fresh and chipper. They were 3 miles short of finishing their 100 miles in the Maine Wilderness and 18 miles shy of their 2,200 mile journey. I understood.

Bruce and I found our own space to cook dinner before retiring to our tent. It wasn’t long before I remembered last season I had vowed not to go backpacking with hubby again until we aquired a larger tent. I am sure I am not the best bunk buddy but I don’t seem to bother him as much as his tossing and turning, snoring, and back door odors bother me.

Sleep was a luxury that night and morning couldnt come fast enough. As horrible as the night was it was still awesome to get away with the love of my life. With the lack of sleep and sore feet I decided it was best for me if we hike back out. I was test driving a different pair of shoes. They failed. My trusty Crests hiking boots were in the truck. So we packed up, filtered watered and hiked out the short, easy three miles back to the trail head. So much for getting in the miles.

All was not lost. We were out in the woods, we were not working or running errands, and we were together. We didn't call it quits either. We saw a sign for an ice cave. How intriguing. With a change of gear and a mid morning snack we were off in another direction exploring something new.

We came home a day early. Not a bad thing either. We enjoyed the little piece of heaven we call home. We cooked hamburgers on the grill and sat by the lake making plans for Sunday.

We almost over slept waking up in time to make it to church before the entrance song finished. Phew! Funny how things work out. We were going to skip mass and stay in the woods two nights. Those plans foiled and I am so glad they did. Father Dick’s homily was just what I needed.

Before long we were headed to a new hiking destination. New in the sense neither one of us had been there since we were kids. A hike up Chick Hill was our POD. Hi nce we reached the parking trail head we were soon disappointed to learn it was a road walk up to the summit. Neither one of us remembered that. Always trying to make the best of a situation we decided to hike fast to work on our cardio. The incline prov d to be a very good workout. At the top our disappointment disappeared. The view was splendid accompanied by a breeze to cool us as well as dry our sweaty skin.

Our weekend journey still wasnt over. We hopped back into the truck and drove to meet Bruce’s mom and dad, then carpooled to Trenton for dinner at Smokey’s BBQ where our son, Stephen is a server.

It wasn't the backpacking weekend we had been planning but non the less it was still fantastic. It's so easy to be disappointed when our plans run a muck and don't go as planned. We have several choices. First, we can attempt to force the agenda to go as planned. Done that before, it doesn't usually work. We can make minor adjustments that still might allow the final outcome to be the same. This works most of the time. We can completely throw in the towel and retreat. This is only reserved for the most bleak of situations. But then there are the times when no amount of tweaking or forcing will result in the original trip design but you don't want to concede. It's then when we have to be strong enough to go with the flow and see what happens. I am not too good with this. I like things planned and I like follow through. But this weekend was a blast. We threw out the main agenda and we "wung" it. In doing so, we saw several new sights and areas we had never seen before as well as spent time with family that is always a plus. I still advocate planning. For proper preparation prevents poor performance. But every once in awhile you just have to wing-it!!!

Go Escape.

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