“Don't judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.”
Hiking ten miles up a steep mountain trail with two extreme anemics doesn't really sound like a good idea, does it.
Two of my daughters were just diagnosed with severe iron deficiencies. Hmm. That explains why they have been so exhausted lately, sleeping endless hours and lacking energy to do much more than the bare-bone necessities of life. I won't lie; it's been a little frustrating for a whirlwind like me to accept their slow and measured pace.
Yet despite their fatigue, the girls were game for this hike to Spray Park, heralded for its sweet wildflower meadows and in-your-face views of Mount Rainier.
Now I am no extreme hiker. More tortoise than hare, I'm a firm believer in taking lots of breaks and enjoying the journey, rather than bolting to my destination.
But as I tromped along with my oxygen-starved companions, I realized that even my slow pace was too much for them. We stopped a lot. We ate extra snacks. We drank lots of water.
And when we got to the top, majestic views of the reach-out-and-touch-it mountain all around, one of my daughters laid her flannel shirt down on the closest rock, closed her eyes, and promptly fell fast asleep.
Spurred on by her love of capturing a moment, the other daughter forsook this resting opportunity to scurry around our vantage point, snapping pics right and left.
But during our two-hour descent, she gave us a running status update about just how tired she felt - aching legs, sore feet, emerging blisters.
As we drove back home, me at the wheel with my two exhausted daughters fast asleep beside me, I realized what the hike had taught me.
I may not have literally trekked that trail in the moccasins of my anemic daughters, but by hiking next to them, I had gained a valuable appreciation for how it feels to walk in their shoes.