It’s been an outdoor adventure day, which is always the best kind.

Rob and Isaac went mountain biking at Fisher River for the first time.  Fisher River is pretty technical for a first mountain biking trip, but Isaac was a trooper and did really well, especially since he was riding his big sister’s bike and had never had to change gears before.  Isaac has a BMX bike, which is not ideal for mountain biking.  Apparently, he took a fairly big spill when he hit a drainage ditch and flew over the handle bars. 

It scared him pretty badly, but once the adrenaline subsided, he seemed to find the whole thing—flight trajectory and mud caked in his helmet—pretty doggone exhilarating.  I imagine this is only the beginning.

 Happiness looks like this—giving it all you got, crashing, and then getting back up again and shouting, “Yes!  Let’s do it again!” (Notice the wad of grass and mud in the helmet.)

While the boys were biking, Harper Lee and I met up with our friend Jason and some kids from the cross-country team to run an “unofficial” trail race near Pilot Mountain.  Rob calls them outlaw races.  Basically, there is no entry fee because there is no group insurance, food, or printed t-shirts, but the guy that runs these particular events is super cool (and a little bit crazy) and makes his finisher awards, overall winner awards and a few random awards by hand.  Those are my favorite.  He also assigns each runner their own personalized bib with a meaningful nickname.  A lot of time and effort goes into this, and I appreciate the creativity and dedication to the absolute fun of trail running.

Harper Lee is Eel- ectric and I am Schooner or Later.

The Trout Tattoo, a trail run that may or may not be 3.5 miles and that happens to cross the Yadkin River (waist deep) 8 different times, is our kind of event.  Runners made their way through creeks, sand, and narrow single track to the first river crossing, which was pretty long and the current fairly swift.  Eventually, we came to an island with its own trail, which led back out to the river, another crossing, a sandbar, another crossing, an island trail, and across again to a final island where we found a string of paper trout.  We were instructed to take one off the hook, pin it to our clothes (just to prove we’d been there), and run back. 

I was 3rd woman overall and won a groovy wooden trout, and Harper Lee came in 18th, which, for some weird reason, earned her the “official” tribal fish necklace.  (I told you there were a few random awards.)  She had said at the beginning of the race that she wanted the fish necklace.  As she was climbing the final hill to the finish, right behind two other women, the race director shouted, “Whoever gets to the top first wins the fish necklace.”  She was gone in an instant.  She’s highly motivated by prizes.  And she just seems to have the golden touch.  She whispers a wish to the universe, and voila, it becomes hers—after 3.5 miles through rivers of course.

There was a moment during the race when I became concerned and thought, “This is going to be one of those really awesome, confidence and character building life experiences for her, OR I’m going to win the bad mother of the year award.”  The current was pretty strong, so it was a little scary, but as I was coming back along the trail, I saw her fall in the river, get up and start fighting her way across (teeth and fists clenched).  I yelled at her that she was awesome, and when we finally passed each other, we high-fived, and she assured me that she was OK.  After I finished, I ran back down to meet her and watched her finish strong. 

That girl makes me so proud.  I picture myself at age 11 doing what she did today. 

It never would have happened. 

I’m proud of both of us actually.  I’m proud of her for doing it, and I’m proud of me for finally coming to this place myself, even if it took me until adulthood to find it, and for giving her the gift of doing it now while she’s young and discovering that she can do it.