Saturday, August 9, 2008

He's Back!

Noah returned home today from his one-week hike on the Appalachian Trail with his Boy Scout troop. I am so thrilled to have him safely home! A few years ago I would have never thought I'd let a child of mine that far from me on that adventurous of a journey. However, I am thankful to find that as he gets older, I am able to release him little-by-little. I'm not the best at it, and never will be, but I'm growing up along with my boy.

Part of that growing up is learning to trust God. I have foolishly believed in my heart that if I kept my kids close enough to me, then I would be in control and could keep them safe. Please don't get me wrong--I believe we are to protect (over-protect by today's standards) our children. However, God is in control whether I am two feet or two hundred miles away from my children. There is nothing that surprises Him. He will never say, "Wow, I didn't see that coming. What are we going to do now?"

But back to Noah for those (grandparents) would who like to hear more about his adventure. They did not meet their 50 mile goal due to unforeseen circumstances, but did hike 42 miles. Due to a very slow hiking speed their first day, they did not meet up with their resupply trailer and ended up having to skip a meal and snacks. This would be tragic for any teenage boy, but for one hiking in rough terrain carrying 30 pounds on his back, this was an event worthy to be given the ominous name "death mountain." They met no bears, but did have to hang all their food up in trees each night just in case. They did meet deer and wild ponies, which ate from their hands! How cool is that?

Noah went on and on about how beautiful the scenery was. He filled three disposable cameras; however, we're not sure yet how well the pictures are going to come out since they got soaking wet. On their last full day of hiking, they survived a thunderstorm, hail, and nearly getting struck by lightning. They had to lay on their backpacks on the ground, covered with rain ponchos. They were scheduled to camp that night and do a short hike the next day before hitting the highway to Tennessee, but after that ordeal, and all of their possessions being drenched, they choose to end the hike and go to a hotel. I don't blame them! He's sore, particularly his knees (one of them is swollen from falling). He says he would do it again, but not for a while!

What is strange for me as his Mom is that this experience is uniquely his own. I will never know it or share it. It's a part of growing up that I hadn't considered until now. It's exciting and scary at the same time. But for now, I'm so glad to have him home!

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