Posts Tagged With: Pyrenees
I think it’s a case of all-of-the-above, actually.
We have been having a few “this time last year” conversations at home lately, so that brings about many reminiscences, and it’s interesting how each person’s perception of the memory differs from the others’, or how romanticized some memories have become already…
One year ago today, we were in Sauto. I wonder what we were doing? Darragh would have been playing with the dogs, no doubt, and we would probably be heading out for a hike somewhere in the afternoon, perhaps visiting our favourite mountain river if it was a sunny day, enjoying the deep jangling sound of the cow bells as the kids try to cross jumping from stone to stone. Or perhaps Dev was “challenging” us with a more strenuous afternoon at Carancas Gorge! Maybe we stopped at Casino or Super U on the way home to pick up some pasta, or even visited our favourite bakery in Font Romeu for a box of special surprises – tarte citron, pain chocolat…mmmm. Sounds so idyllic! And it was. Except for when it wasn’t.
And then there’s the “roadschooling” – frustrating at times, and quite stressful. Wondering if we were doing enough, and if the girls would be able to manage well back in the classroom.
Of course, now I see it in that idealized way we often see things when enough time has passed to erase the anxiety. Going back to Sauto, we would have eaten our supper and our tasty bakery treats, and then settled in for a couple of chapters of Danny Champion of the World – all five of us reading and talking together, worrying together about Danny and his Dad – would they get caught or not, wondering what was really the best way to catch a pheasant. What could be a better, more authentic way to teach and learn?
Funny, isn’t it, what the passage of time does? Back in the throes of our daily life, trying to finish the house, get everyone to their dance classes, band practices, and swim meets, going to work…it all seems so hectic. We never seem to have time, and then when we indulge in a little flashback to last year, it feels like we had so much of it then. And we did. But I do remember spending much of it doing, doing, doing, or if not, planning the next thing. I also remember feeling guilty for sitting doing nothing (on the rare occasions that actually happened). I remember thinking we really needed to cram every possible experience in to every available moment.
I don’t think we value “doing nothing” enough. As a society, even. Now I sometimes wish I had spent more of last year doing just that. Because how often do you get that opportunity!? I wonder what it would have been like to just pick a place and stay put for a few months. Live life quietly together.
Nah, we would probably have been bored!
So, back to the missing…and the blogging. I miss that, too. And I know I said I would go back and write about the places I didn’t the first time around. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. It’s not immediate enough. That’s the thing about blogging, I guess. It’s now. Present. It never felt the same going back to blog something we did a few weeks ago, so to go back to a year ago or even several months seems artificial. Unless…
Unless then becomes now somehow. Like Sauto did this week as we spent time re-reading Darragh’s memoir. Or when we got all our unused postcards out over the weekend to find something for a collage someone was making for school, or when Mairi wrote about the Lake District a couple of weeks ago because Nana is going there at the end of the month, and she was reminded how much she loved it. There are so many of these opportunities – I just need to pay more attention to them!
So, I can blog.
Roadschooling Claytons is not over.
Here is Darragh’s memoir of her time in The French Pyrenees – she is a superstar.
Chapter 1 Settling In
It is our first evening in the mountains; the golden sun is glittering on one side of the the peaks. This feels like a good place. It has been a hard couple of days for us since Rome. I am especially missing Cal, my stuffed dog I have had since I was born. I don’t know how I will ever manage without him. What would a robber want with him? Nothing.
I pull on my sneakers, and set out for a walk with my family to explore our surroundings. We have been walking just two minutes, when an old border collie, white with patches of grey, appears. She is beautiful, and I love her at first sight. Her big brown eyes stare at me. She follows us for our whole walk, dropping a stick at my heels. I throw the stick, she runs and gets it, and then drops it at my heels again.
I name her Callie, after Cal. She belongs up here in the meadows, her shaggy fur blowing in the wind. When our lovely walk finally comes to an end, Callie turns and goes.
I don’t see her for a while after that, and I almost forget about her as we settle in to our mountain life.
Our little village is called Sauto. There are many towns and villages in the Pyrenees mountains, France. This is where we are staying for one month. Sauto is my favourite village. It contains only a few houses, and a little church, and it seems far away from any of the other villages. There is never any traffic, and not many people.
I am playing outside in our back yard one day, when I hear a bark. I creep over to the gate and open it. I walk to the little church around the corner. It is Callie! I fast-walk over to her and give her a pat. But she is not alone. Standing behind her is a little black dog with two white front paws, white toes on her back paws, and a red collar. I assume she is a girl and immediately name her Emily. But there’s more; behind her is a stubby brown dog. I have a bag of Chuppa Chup suckers in my hand, so I name him Chuppa! I pat Callie again. She is my favourite.
Chapter 2 Fetch
It is a misty morning in the Pyrenees. Clouds surround the huge, proud mountains. I pull on my gym-pants and walk downstairs. My little sister is pouring maple syrup on a waffle. I sit down at the table and help myself to a one. As I am pouring the syrup, Liah says, “I hope we see Callie again soon”.
“Yeah, me too,” I reply.
And we do see her soon. When I go out to the yard that morning, I hear a bark. I kneel beside the wire fence at the back of the yard, and on the road below us, I see a few houses, and in front of the houses are two dogs – it is Emily and Callie! To get to the lower road, there are stone steps. I slowly creep down them until the dogs are right in front of me. I whistle and start walking back up the steps. I hear a sound, and turn around. They are following me! I stop at the top of the dozen or so steps up to La Fougere, our house. Callie comes forward and drops a pinecone at my feet. I throw it, and Callie and Emily take turns retrieving it. After about 45 minutes of this, it is time to go in. As I reluctantly shut the gate, I can see two bright-eyed, eager faces looking back at me. It is so powerful, I can’t resist! I run out, and their faces become happy and excited. We play the game again and again until I hear a voice calling me. I HAVE to close the gate. I squeeze my eyes shut and don’t look bac
Chapter 3 The Shepherdess
The next four days are the same as the last. I go half way down the cobble steps, and Callie and Emily trot over to me. We play for as long as we can, and then I have to leave. One evening is a bit different, though.
The evening I find out everything, a rainy mountain storm has just passed. My family step outside together to have a little walk now that the weather is calmer. Everything is wet, wet, wet and the mountain peaks are topped with snow like sundaes topped with cherries. We are half way down the road when a little old woman comes up to us. She is wearing a knitted brown jacket with orange patterns, and old, dirty pants. She tries to explain to us (in a mixture of French and Spanish) that she has animals at her house, including “petits lapins”. She leads us to the house where I always find Callie and Emily. Just past it, there is a small shed and a pen full of chickens. She takes us to a hutch-type shed at the back of the little yard, and in one of the cages are four tiny baby rabbits! She puts one in each of our hands; they are so soft! She shows us the mom, dad, and three other rabbits. As we try to understand her, we finally figure out that she is telling us she is the shepherdess, and she owns Callie, Emily and Chuppa! She explains that none of them are working dogs – she says they are “gentil” (nice), but useless! I pat Chuppa on the head and we pick some vegetables from the lady’s garden. She has a kind, friendly voice, and there and then I know I will be seeing her again.
It is very misty one evening as I step outside and I can’t see the majestic mountains in front of me. It is silent except for a few quiet chirps of birds. It is a little bit scary.
SPLASH! I jump back and look down. I have only stepped in a big puddle.
I walk over to the stone steps; they glisten with water. It must have rained, I think. I make my way down the steps, and peek around the corner. No sign of any dogs. I take another few steps and notice the shepherdess sitting on her front step. I run back up the steps. Why is she there? Where are her dogs? Is she sad? I am starting to walk back up to my house when a shape emerges from the mist. I stop and watch. First I see her face. Then her tail wagging as she comes toward me. It is Callie! She comes up to me with the familiar pinecone in her mouth. I squat down to give her a pat and she drops the pinecone in my lap. I throw it. She runs to get it and waits until I give her a pat to drop it in my lap again. After a while, it is getting dark, so I have to go in. I wonder where Callie had been before; she wasn’t working, so was she just wandering, or could she be up to something? Probably just wandering, I think. Although, I have always thought she can be a bit suspicious at times…I wonder…
Chapter 4 Laces
I am going down the stone steps again. The sun is creating a mid-fall heat, but I still have my sweater on. I start playing fetch with Callie as usual, when I hear a little padding on the pavement. Is it Emily? I turn around and look, and I see not Emily, but the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life moving towards me. His tiny legs are trembly, and his body is wriggling like a caterpillar. He is a funny little border collie puppy! He is black with a white tummy and paws, and he looks like he has dipped the tip of his tail into a bucket of white paint. He sniffs me and nips at my leg. Then he wriggles his way to Callie, who gives him a lick. She has got to be the mum! After all, she is a border collie too. I play with the puppy and Callie for a long time.
The next day, when we go to the supermarket, we buy dog treats and ask the shepherdess if we can give some to the dogs. She says, “Oui, merci”, and gives us a handful of toffees for ourselves! She is a lovely lady, and I LOVE her dogs. We name the puppy Laces because he is always chewing my laces!
For the next few days, this is my agenda:
Wake up and go down for breakfast. Get dressed, brush teeth. Run downstairs, get shoes on, shout “Bye!” to Mum. Grab a few dog biscuits and run out the door.
I play with Callie and Emily with Laces on my lap, chewing my shoe laces. I play until lunch. Sometimes my sisters come. My older sister knows some French, so she and the shepherdess chat.
In the afternoon, we go on a hike, and when we come home in the evening, I run to to the dogs. I love those dogs. I love Callie’s gracefulness, and Lace’s fuzzy playfulness. Even Emily’s slobber. I know I will cry when we leave.
I find out that Callie and Emily are not related to Laces, but that when Laces is a bit older, he will go up onto the mountain to watch his real mum and dad for two months and then he will become a herding dog, working with the sheep.
Chapter 5 The Gift
The weather is changing drastically here in the Pyrenees – it is almost November. It is getting very cold and frosty. Some of the leaves are already falling off the trees.It is a chilly Saturday morning, and I walk over to the window in my room and open the wooden shutters. I gasp! The ground has at least an inch of glittering white snow. The rooftops are covered too! The sun is up, and I know it will probably melt soon, so I get dressed, get my big coat, my sneakers, and run out the front door. My body slowly chills all over, as if 100 ice cubes are sinking down my back. The snow crunches under my feet as I step down the stone stairs. Callie is curled in a ball, and Chuppa barks as I approach. I kneel down and pat Chuppa’s head. Callie gets up and drops a pinecone in my lap and I throw it. It lands with a soft plop. After a few minutes, Emily trots out too. We play, then the dogs lay down for a rest while I scratch their bellies. I am really going to miss them when we leave, but for now, I just have to enjoy them.
The next day, my sister and I are sitting at the bottom of the old stone steps. Most of the snow is gone, but it is still on the mountains in front of us. Suddenly, Marie-Jo, the shepherdess, comes out of her house with something in her hands. She gives my sister a little dog figurine, and me a really beautiful bracelet. We say, “Merci Boucoup,” and leave. I know I will keep that bracelet forever. I have already been collecting bracelets, too. I put that bracelet on straight away.
The next morning, the mountains are powdered with snow again. Callie trots up to me with a pinecone in her mouth, Emily eagerly behind her. As I sit with Laces in my lap, I know I will come back here one day. I make a promise to the dogs that I will be back as soon as I can.
The day we leave, it is very sunny. We get our picture taken with Marie-Jo. We say our goodbyes and I slip on my bracelet. A tear trickles down my cheek. I will never forget Callie, Emily, Laces, or Chuppa. They helped me feel safe and comfortable again, even without Cal. I know I will come back to Sauto, and I hope my dogs will be there waiting with pinecones in their mouths.
If it wasn’t already obvious that we’ve all been using our little mountain house as a bit of a crutch, it is glaringly so now. The kids are sad – they don’t want to leave. We are all pretty grumpy, in fact. And the long and the short of it is, we had a bad experience, and this place has been the embodiment of security since we arrived. It is tiny, safe, and we were here long enough for it to become home, and therefore, comfort. It was just what we all needed to recover and regroup.
And now it’s over and we’re going back on the road tomorrow. The little one is scared of things going wrong, the big one doesn’t want to go to any big cities, and the middle one doesn’t want to leave her dog friends, who have been the real life replacement for the ones she lost in Rome. This tranquil village has reminded them of their own home, so that makes it harder for them to leave too. You know when you go on vacation, and you have a great time, but when it’s over, you’re just ready to be home again? It’s like that, only they aren’t going home, and sometimes they get kind of mad about that. And sometimes I do too.
Obviously, I’m not looking for any sympathy here, and I haven’t forgotten how unbelievably lucky we are to be doing this. It is the experience of a lifetime, and even if it doesn’t feel like that every single day, especially for the kids, it is. As a friend and travel-with-kids veteran told our girls, “you may not appreciate this trip right now, but when you’re older you’ll realize how cool it was of your parents to do it!”. And I guess that there are days when we all need to hang onto that one. Because sometimes we are homesick, sometimes we are tired of our own company, sometimes we are scared, sometimes we really miss our family and friends, and sometimes we really just want someone else to figure it all out for us.
Because, you know, as great as it is, it can be pretty exhausting. And I’m sure if you’re reading this after getting in from an eight hour work day, you’re scoffing contemptuously right now, but I’m all about the honesty of this experience, and I’m telling you, it’s not all raindrops and roses. Most of it is, but not all of it.
I have never really understood the fascination with caves. Dev used to go “caving” when we lived in England, which always involved helmets, flashlights, and lots of dirty clothes. And in my imagination at least, lots of sheer drops, ladders, and narrow, dark tunnels. As inviting as that may sound to some people, it wouldn’t really float my boat. And maybe the caves he went in were like that, and maybe they weren’t; I don’t know. But after yesterday’s trip to Les Grottes de Grande Canalettes, my views on caves have changed quite dramatically.
There were no sheer drops, or at least, I didn’t have to go down any. There were no narrow, dark tunnels. Or again, none that required me to duck. And no ladders of any sort. (I researched extensively beforehand to ensure that this would be the case). In fact, there was nothing even remotely claustrophobic about this enormous, cavernous even, system of caves. Surprisingly, there was nothing scary at all. Except for the oddly deformed cat that was hobbling drunkenly around the gift shop after us at the end of our visit. Now that was scary.
Anyway, back to the caves. Saying they were amazing is so inadequate. I can’t think of anything that has filled me with such awe. And we’ve been to some awe inspiring places over the last couple of months. The beginning of the caves is a pathway of tunnels that were hollowed out by underground rivers millions of years ago. You can see the rushing water in your mind and imagine it carving away at the rock, millimeter by millimeter over the years. There are some stalagmites and stalactites here, and it’s really cool to see the water dripping onto the stalagmite, building it up even more. The kids held their fingers under the water and swore they grew!
But it’s when you get through these tunnels and come into the first of the chambers that it becomes suddenly mind-blowing. I can’t really describe it – in this case, the pictures will have to speak 1000 words. But the sheer vastness of the chambers, the columns of calcification that you can’t even wrap your arms around, the 30 foot high stalagmite towers, and the thousands of icicle-like stalactites hanging from the ceilings are just so unbelievably impressive. And they just keep getting more impressive as you move along. The chambers get bigger and bigger, you come across a lake full of cauliflower shaped calcifications, there are draperies of mineral deposit like lasagne noodles stretched across the ceilings, and the colours of the columns change depending on the prevalent mineral, from the pure white of lime, to iron red, and manganese black.
And finally, as you climb up to the most enormous chamber of all, it’s just everything. Everything combined and more. Accompanied by coloured lighting and classical music, we sit on benches here and just take it in. Weirdly, this is one of the most spiritual experiences I think I have ever had. Maybe it’s just the realization that you are sitting under a mountain in a cavern that has been shaped by Mother Nature over millions of years. Or you feel the presence of an omniscient being in such stunning, yet completely natural phenomenon. I don’t know, but it makes you feel very small and insignificant. Such a minute part of this vast, incredible world.
In any case, I’m a cave convert. Obviously.
Oh, and the educational implications….just an afterthought really, but still. Our oldest said it was one of the most amazing things she has ever seen. She wouldn’t let any of us speak as we went through! The middle one said, “Did you take a picture of this?” approximately every 4 seconds, so we’ll assume she concurs. And pearls of wisdom from the youngest? “This place would be so much better if it had burgers and fries you could eat on the way around”, and “This opera is giving me a headache”. Oh, well, you know what they say – two out of three ain’t bad.
So today, with the assistance of the new walking shoes, we went on a real hike. Now I think I have a better understanding of what hiking in the Pyrenees is all about. These mountains are huge, and pretty spectacular. Even for someone who has spent a fair bit of time in mountains (not me, obviously), they are stunning. It’s hard to appreciate their grandeur from a distance, but today we went to Les Gorges Caranca and started at the bottom at a pretty little river, and as we wound our way up the side of the gorge, the scenery just got more and more impressive.
And for me, unfortunately, more and more frightening. It’s such a weird feeling. A dichotomy. I want to go up. But somehow I can’t.
I know it’s hard for people who have no fear of heights to understand, but those of you who do will be able to relate. How I ended up marrying the man I married becomes more of a mystery to me as we explore more of this rugged and beautiful area. Opposites attract? I don’t know. He literally vibrates with excitement and enthusiasm when he gets near a mountain, and the higher up we get, and the more “airy” it gets on the path, the more excited he gets.
I vibrate too, but it’s not from excitement. I’m scared up there, and at the risk of sounding completely pathetic, I just don’t get how edging your way along the side of a cliff 1000 meters up in the air is fun. I try to understand. I really do. Some people might think I’m being negative, but I’m not. I enjoyed the hike. The views were amazing, and it’s such a great family thing to do, but when it got to the point where you needed to hold a wire “hand-rail” so you didn’t fall into the gorge, I was done. I tried to go further. I wanted to rise to the challenge. My middle daughter wanted me to as well. She really takes after her father, and it goes without saying he was itching to go further. In fact, he’ll be off up there again on his own in no time, I’m sure. But I couldn’t do it. In some ways, I feel like a bit of a failure, but we still had a great couple of hours on the mountain which we all really enjoyed. It was beautiful, and I’m so glad to be able to experience somewhere so different from where we live. And I loved that as we walked, we met some people who greeted us with Bonjour, and others with Hola. There’s just something so exotic about being so close to three different borders, and sharing the mountains with so many different cultures.
And as an added bonus, on the way home, we saw a guy dragging a dead wild boar up the road, and that’s not something you see every day!
As I sit here applying a little lipliner from the stub of my MAC spice liner that happened to be in my purse, not in the broken-into car, I feel cranky again. This is the only cosmetic I have left. So, I’m applying a little and putting vaseline over the top. Why? Not sure…that’s a whole other blog post I imagine. Or maybe some sort of self help book…
Anyway, the robbery happened a week ago today, so we have been here at La Fougere in the beautiful Pyrenees for almost that long. And have we done much hiking? Have we enjoyed long rambling walks around the lakes and along the rivers? Have we taken advantage of the fact that we finally don’t have to drive every day? Have we been to the numerous amazing thermal baths we keep reading about?
No. We have not.
Why? Because it has taken us almost a week of driving around to any town big enough to stock walking shoes to actually get a pair of shoes. I have big feet, and apparently either all women in France have big feet and so they’re sold out (which is not the scenario I expect is true), or more likely, no women in France have big feet. Merrell lady’s shoes come in sizes up to European 44, but no store here has any over 41. I take a 42. So, every store I went in had maybe one or two pairs of shoes in that size, but all of them were men’s. Which is fine as long as they’re not really wide, and big and black and clunky and manly. Which they all have been. I did finally get a pair yesterday afternoon. They are big and manly and not something I would really want, but they were on sale, and so my thought process is that I can wear them now and buy something I really want when I get back to England.
This is only one of the inconveniences that has resulted in us not being able to fully enjoy our beautiful surroundings. It takes a really long time to find a place where we can buy underwear for the whole family. And don’t even get me started on bathing suits. I have a big body too, and buying a bathing suit generally takes me longer than buying shoes. Or any other item, really. Even for the kids, it is not the right time of year to be buying bathing suits. None of us has found any yet, and so no mountain hotsprings.
The thing is, we did not come here to shop. It is not a shopping sort of a place. Half the stores don’t even open unless they feel like it. In France, they close from 12-2, and then reopen. Maybe. And in Spain they open 10-2 and then close from 2-4:30 or 5. Depends. Some of them only open at the weekends. Some close on the weekends. Some close on Mondays. Some on Wednesdays and Fridays. In short, it is almost impossible to go anywhere with the intention of shopping without a written schedule of opening and closing times. Which, naturally, does not exist.
What I need is a mall, a really big one that opens from 10-10 and has stores I recognize. We could go to Barcelona, but with the car window still out, we can’t really go too far. Oh, and that’s the other thing; we have now driven to Spain twice where the closest Citroen dealer supposedly was, and it was closed both times. Yesterday we finally found one open in Bourg Madame, on the border, but they need to order the glass so it will be Wednesday or Thursday by the time we get the car fixed.
Now, this all sounds very negative, and I don’t want it to appear that we are not appreciating our time here. Most of the time, everyone is very positive, and we are just getting on with it. We are learning to live with less, which is never a bad thing. For example, when I get up in the morning, I don’t have to decide what to wear. If it’s cold and cloudy, I wear my long pants and my long sleeved top, and if it’s sunny and warm, I wear my t-shirt and my short pants. And up to today, I always wear my flipflops, regardless of the weather. Today, though, I will wear my men’s walking shoes.
Another positive, I asked one of the kids to go upstairs and get dressed this morning, and she said, “I have no clothes”. Right. Much easier. Pajamas are clothes and clothes are pajamas. Good.
Also, our kids have always been pretty good at entertaining themselves without much, but this brings new meaning to it. They have been playing very intricate and detailed games with a wooden chess set and board they found in a cupboard. I believe one kid controls the white guys and the other the brown guys who live in the “castle” which is the box. The pawns are villagers who also live in the castle, the bishops and knights are servants, and the coloured pieces from the Ludo game are the evil interlopers trying to take over the castle. Fabulous.
It’s all good. But I still get cranky over the fact that all our belongings are probably in a dumpster somewhere in Rome.
Before I begin this post, I want to point out that I am aware there may be children viewing it; therefore, there will be no swear words in it. I am going to leave it up to my readers’ own judgement to insert appropriate swear words where they deem it necessary.
So, let’s start at the beginning. Due to the Roman Robbers (directly before “Roman” would be a great place to insert expletive of your choice – just so you get the hang of it), the only footwear I currently have is flipflops. We have been in the mountains, 1600 meters up (where, interestingly, mosquitos cannot survive) for 72 hours and my mountaineering husband is chomping at the bit to get us out hiking. We have had a couple of little walks, but nothing you would need a map for, so they don’t count really.
Anyway, we have spent the first couple of days settling in, recovering from our long and traumatic journey here, and just getting the lay of the land. But today, we must hike.
So, we set off to the ski town of Font Romeu, where there are a smattering of outdoorsy shops, so I can buy some walking shoes (on the way to Lac de Bouillouse where we will hike).The fact that it took me 3 weeks to find a pair of sneakers before we began this trip should have been an indication that this would not be an easy task, but to be fair, we had briefly checked the stores out yesterday, and I knew there were lots I liked, so I thought it would be fine.
Until I realized it was 11:36, and all the stores in France close from 12-2.
Needless to say, I did not get any shoes. But today was a hiking day, so hike we must. We drove up to the Lake where “we” decided on a shorter route than was originally planned, and headed out. After the first ten minutes (which was more of a steep scramble than a walk), I knew this was not going to be a hike for my flipflop-clad feet, but onward we pressed. Our “guide” was sure this was the steepest part. And it was. But the rest was rough rocky terrain, very little of which I would actually refer to as a path. The girls thought it was great. The two younger ones pretended to be on horses the whole time, and Misty and Sky were often racing ahead of us searching out the little yellow route markers to blaze the trail. The oldest walked along checking the map with her dad, commenting often how beautiful the hike was.
I wouldn’t know. I was busy with my eyes on the ground, painstakingly picking out every step to insure I didn’t lose a toe on a particularly sharp rock or break an ankle as my feet slid around my flipflops. Both eyes on the ground also served the purpose of enabling me to avoid eye contact with other hikers as they passed by with their mountain boots and walking sticks. I can just imagine what they were saying in Spanish or French (I don’t even know for sure what country we were in) about the crazy lady in the flipflops.
After an hour or so, we decided we’d better turn back. It wasn’t quite as sunny as it had been when we started. It was, in fact, 11 degrees and starting to rain.
For those of you who have ever tried to walk in flipflops in the rain, even on a flat surface, I don’t really have to explain to you what it would be like trying to get back down the steep scramble as your feet attempt to find some way to grip the bottom of the sopping wet flipflop so they don’t slide out entirely. I probably would have been better off trying to do it barefoot. Lucky my gallant “guide” was there to support me on the really treacherous parts. Even Misty and Sky struggled with those!
Despite the trials, we made it back in one piece. Toes and ankles intact. I don’t think we’ll be doing anymore hiking until I get some new shoes though.