I got up for work, just like every other normal week day, and checked on my kids to be sure they were getting ready for school. I stirred Kyle, our oldest son, and checked on our youngest son, Kory, who’s bed was empty and unmade. I assumed that he was downstairs eating breakfast and I finished getting ready for work. Later I would regret this assumption. Once finished, I scrambled downstairs and hollered “Have a great day everyone”. I then ran out the door and went about my rainy work day. The school called me a few hours later and claimed they were very concerned about Kory. That day as he arrived at school wet, disheveled, and tired. To make a long story short, Kory got up at 4am and walked 3 miles to school in the rain on one of the busiest roads of Manheim Township. Did I mention he was in 6th grade? It was at that time I knew I had an adventurist on my hands.
After that crazy day concluded and with extensive talks about the dangers of walking to school alone in the dark, we quickly went to work on how to channel his wandering spirit. It was in a few months that we found the Appalachian Trail.
That year we decided that our next family vacation was going to be hiking the AT for 5 days. We gathered and planned. Purchased and packed. Dropped off our Jeep at a bed and breakfast in Harpers Ferry WV and drove our Wrangler to Pen Mar Park to start our Kory-inspired adventure. We hiked between 9 and 12 miles per day over rocks, boulders, and over bridges. The family put in serious hard work day after day. We learned how to read maps, how set up tents, endure heat, forage for berries, and after those 5 days, we completely hiked through the state of Maryland. Yes, it was hard. Yes, we ran out of food on the third day. No, we didn’t get caught in any wild thunderstorms. Yes, I got stung by a hornet and we laugh about it all now. Ending this hike at a bed and breakfast was perfect. Especially since it started dumping buckets of rain and we were safe inside looking out the window. That was a God thing! 😀
Through this whole experience I believe that Kory learned to channel his adventure energies and was encouraged to explore the AT. He says, “Mom, it’s all about overlooks, the gear, and meeting hikers”. Since our family hike, Kory and I have been on many adventures since. In fact our most recent hike was with his nature-loving wife who went on her very first backpacking trip with us this Spring.
The next generation has been inspired. CHECK.