i want to walk up the side of a mountain, i wanna walk down the other side of the mountain....

i wanna swim in the river and lie in the sun, i want to try to be nice to everyone...

if you ever want to fall bigtime in love with everyone you know, go backpacking with them.
for some reason, being out there together makes their beaming faces extra endearing and brave and beautiful.
Eleven of us (11!) went backpacking together: my dad, my three brothers, amy my sister-in-law and the three children, my hub, me and our friend jamie. that's six men, two women, and three kids.
a tight knit group; we love each other mucho.

look at jarom's deep concentration crossing a log over a rushing stream of snowmelt. the kid's got heart.
bella is a champion hiker - limber and lively and spunky.
orion loves to eat! besides his own noodle bowl, he had tastes of everyone else's and did his happy dance accordingly.

so much beauty it swells up and flows through you and you know you are more alive than ever.
joey in front of a grove of his favorite trees, hemlocks.
wildflowers JUST beginning to poke up, usually by july they're abundant. i think it was extra special to see them at this stage. (my brothers are rad because they are obsessed with identifying flora and fauna; in turn i learn a lot)
beautiful happy earth mama:
even pops did a great job hiking!
we crossed many an alpine snowfield. i was not quite prepared for this, but took it in stride if i may say so myself. (on the way down two lady hikers commented that i was a "natural-born alpinist" which i was very excited about but laughed at the utter irony of it!)
the boys (darin, mikie, matt, jamie, joey) are champion hikers...i'm always looking at them from a distance behind, providing a grandly dramatic perspective...
especially here -
jarom resting.
the little nature fam.
i had to cross in barefeet for better grip.

arriving at our remote camp, darin sets up our tent.
...and i get cozy!

and everyone gathers round to fix a hard-earned dinner that of course tastes ridiculously good up in the mountains.
the food gathering circle is jarom's favorite thing about backpacking, he says.
he's my buddy. crazy jack-o-lantern grin and all.
amy gets cold fastest. still gleaming with the light of it all....
a staggering sunset...
and then we did the unthinkable and built a backcountry fire. i know, i know. we were VERY careful and we cleaned it up with no trace.
i mean, look at those cold tootsies...
you all know how much i adore my family...how ridiculously much we love each other. so imagine how happy it makes me that my husband not only fits right in, but loves them all as friends and family too.
later we had fun in our tent with books and headlamps...there were at least twenty pics of this silliness:

okay, next day we hiked the summit. i already told you a little about that. i will say this: it wasn't easy for me. your head spins a bit and you are scrambling up loose shale and cliffsides. and yet i did it and my heart soared and we were all together at the tippy top on the fourth of july feeling positively....FREE.
my brother matt (the one who is father to three darlings) dances along the edges of precipices with nary a care. i do have to scold him back to solid ground a teensy bit.
matt, mikie and joey on the summit of Round Top Mountain.

thank you glorious world for giving this experience to my family and me.

and thanks to the real freedom, the kind you give yourself, the kind that flows through nature and knowledge and love.


Courtney said…
Oh that looks heavenly! It is blowing my mind that you still have snow on your mountains. I guess our "mountains" are little ant hills in comparison. I bet you could start your own Placerville wilderness tour company. You definitely know all of the beautiful places to visit!
Missa said…
Amazing Heather! What a huge accomplishment to have made it all the way to the summit, through snow in open shoes no less! It must have been such a rush to be up there surveying the beauty all around. Man, you seem to be having the best summer ever!!!
Runic Rhyme said…
Ah!! Thank you for that lift. To be with people you care about so much, in a raw setting such as you were...what a gift. I am glad that you do not take these things for granted.

Teenysparkles said…
Oh, so lovely! btw, I sent off your giveaway prize just yesterday...let me know when you get it sweets!
Cel said…
Some friends and I went hiking in a nearby provincial park to a special protected lake a few weekends ago. It's nowhere near as fantastic as this mountain hiking trip of yours but I definitely know what you mean about the feeling of camradery and love for those with which those you're hiking, for sure.

I'm impressed with those kids and being able to make that hike, good on them! And it's always nice to know that there are still parents and families out there who love each other and spend time out in nature together.

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