Wonderland Trail Day 1: This Feels Impossible.

Wonderland Trail, Day 1: THIS FEELS IMPOSSIBLE. // jessconnell.com

{NOTE: For those readers who don’t know our family, we’re the Connells. Doug’s my husband and I’m Jess. At the time of this trip, we had 7 kids (Ethan-14, Baxter-12, MeiMei-10, Silas-8, Moses-6, Theo-3.5, Luke-18 months), and I was 6 months pregnant with our 8th child. Over the next 3 weeks, I’m publishing journal entries, pictures, & memories from our 12-day family adventure on the Wonderland Trail, one day at a time.}

 

Morning #1-- headed into the park!

Morning #1– headed into the park!

Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier, DAY 1

Sunday, 8/14/2016: (Home) to Mowich Lake to Cataract Valley (6.7 miles)
(There are two options for the northwestern corner of the Wonderland Trail: the traditional Ipsut Pass, or the Spray Park trail. We opted for the Spray Park alternate-route)
Elevation changes: -500, +2000, -2000

JOURNAL ENTRY:

“Last night was Kevin & Laura’s wedding. We had most everything packed and done, so we basically put the packs in the van and went to bed.

At 4am– we drove away from Woodland to Mowich Lake– and started on the Spray Park trail at 8:15– we probably took too much time there (at Spray Park falls), because this was a LONG day.

Theo fell in a pond at the end of it– but midway through the day, Ethan saved the day by running down a snowfield when Theo had fallen… he hurried back up the snow to carry Theo back down on his back. I’m so proud of these kids and so amazed at their hard work. I’ve cried over how wonderful they are, and cried over how tired and sore I am.

I cried when I saw the sign to our campground. That’s how tired I was.

This is hard. I feel like quitting. Like, NOW. But– there’s something I remember far back my far reaches of my mind–

we WANTED this. We’ve worked for this.

I see ugly things coming out of me (and them)– but I see beautiful things happening, too.

I don’t want to walk a single step tomorrow.

My back, hips, and shoulders are tired. I’m sore and already sick of the sound of my voice coaching & correcting all day.

But I suppose we’ll still go tomorrow. I don’t know how. This feels impossible.”

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The pond where Theo fell on day 1

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MEMORIES:

  1. We set off with such excitement. Within our first 5 minutes on the trail, we did a little video-interview of each person in the family, asking what they were expecting. The one person’s answer I clearly remember is 6-year-old Moses who said “I will be stronger and get more healthy.” (Except he said “hell-see” cause he still says words like that with an adorable lisp.) 
  2. I was so proud of our 14-year-old, Ethan, who carried Theo on his back down a snowfield.
  3. We heard reports of a bear, and saw some hikers looking off to our left at a cliff with binoculars, but we never saw anything.
  4. The way down to Cataract Valley was steep and arduous.
  5. Theo fell in a pond because of a loose board– I was standing on one side; there was no nail on his part, so his part went straight up, and he wobbled and fell completely into the pond to our right. Thankfully, it was relatively shallow (up to his shoulders, sitting). Naturally, he was freaked out and crying… but after we got him changed into his dry clothes, he started laughing and said “dat was silly!” :) Cute boy. He really rolled with the punches of this first day on the trail.
  6. The end of the day felt like it would never come. I remember (at the very end) telling Silas (our 8-year-old) to please not say anything else with a super-excited voice unless the words were “I SEE THE SIGN TO OUR CAMPGROUND!”
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the sign that made me cry for joy

 

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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21 Responses

  1. emily kelly says:

    I feel so much better about our own camping and hiking adventures because I have felt the exact way you describe (sick of the sound of my own voice coaching and correcting LOL). I have often thought that adventuring is really homemaking and mothering on steroids! Thank you so much for being real. And thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us.

    • Jess Connell says:

      “adventuring is really homemaking and mothering on steroids! ”

      Haha! You’re right. Last year I got home from our 1-week camping trip with our church family (the first time I’d ever gone camping) and I started to write out an article (that I never published) that’s something like “10 or 25 ways Camping is just like Everyday Life with Littles.”

      It really is… it’s just doing all the same things we always do, except with less stuff to mask bad attitudes/relationships, and more work on our parts as mamas. :)

  2. Karla says:

    What an adventure! Can’t wait to read day two ♡

  3. Kami Crawford says:

    I love reading this because it brings so many memories back to my mind and so much I can relate to. My favorite part is you telling the kids no more exciting voices unless you see the sign and you crying when you saw the sign. Yes, I can relate to that.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Haha, yeah, all through the day, it’s great to hear,

      “WHOA, look at that huge mushroom!”
      “Awesome; I’ve never seen a tree grow in a U-shape before!”
      “Oh man that water is going so fast!”
      “I think I just heard a pika squeak!”

      but to hear those excited tones at the end of the day, without it meaning RELIEF for my tired feet and knees, was just too much. Especially that first day :)

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