When a Hike Doesn’t Go as Planned
It’s Valentine’s Day and I planned for us to go to Mt. Diablo today and hike the Donner Falls Loop to see the infamous waterfall that they’ve heard me talk about all week. Well, that did not happen. We packed all our gear the night before, snacks were in a bag, water bladder/bottles filled, and boots and socks in the truck. We picked one of our big kids up from a sleepover and it turned out she didn’t have socks. We made a trip to get her socks. By the time we made it out to Walnut Creek, the sun was shining and it was getting close to nap time so of course Poppy was growing impatient being in the vehicle over 40 minutes now. My anxiety was creeping up and I started getting the short, abrupt tone in my voice when moms gets irritated. No tincture or breathing exercise would have calmed me.
We parked and made our way to the start of the trail–tons of people were starting to make their way there and passed us because we had a toddler in tow who wanted to pick up every rock in sight and a dog who decided to pee right on the sidewalk. We get to the entrance and before my husband could tell me that dogs aren’t allowed, I see the sign of the dog with a line across it.
I went from irritated to angry to crying like a baby in a matter of 2 minutes. I just wanted waterfall bliss with my family and here I was cursing the waterfall and all its glory. I sulk my way to a nearby bench and stream. I’m sitting there crying and looking away, feeling disappointed in myself for not checking on dog policies and second, now we can’t see the waterfall.
Before I could break down and give into the horrible, no good, very bad day, my husband takes my hand and says it’s ok–Poppy and Maeve were already at the creek splashing around and it was alright. He was right: everything was ok, but not before it was horrible, no good, and very bad. From the start of the day, I thought to myself what a challenge getting out of the door was, let alone to a hike with 2 kids and a dog in tow. How do we even do this every time with all 7 of us??
As I watched my kids play in the water and Gus, run about, happy as a clam, I realized that this moment was my waterfall. No matter how hard I tried to make the day go as I planned, the universe took over and gave me this. We hiked a leisurely walk down a nearby trail filled with new wildflowers. Gus got to run free, swim, and meet other friends. Maeve said to me during the walk that it was the best day ever being able to go out with us on Valentines Day.
Some days are like this. It was Valentine’s Day. I usually check every park I go to and their dog rules, but today I didn’t do that. I try to do my very best to always be ready for anything, and today it didn’t happen and that is ok. It’s hard as moms to settle with “the day may go astray”. What I thought was the best part of the day, was really a mirage. I was able to spend time with people I love in a beautiful setting–the here and now and not what could have been. I took a deep breath and let go. There’s always tomorrow.
Glad everything worked out in the end!! We had a similarly taxing Valentines Day hike. I severely underestimated the heat and water needs, and we had some tense moments on the long hike back to civilization!! Luckily CZ napped most of the way back.
Erin, I remember the naps…tense is an understatement when all 7 of us are out! Thanks for commiserating and for sharing your moment with me. It is awesome when you come full circle after a challenging day.