Do you know your family? While I was growing up I feel like I never knew my sister, Anne. I knew the simple stuff. She was taller than me. She received better grades than me. She rubbed my back until I fell asleep. She protected me from thunderstorms. She loved me. I still tell her she’s my favorite sister and she still answers back, I’m your only sister!
Anne is a few years older than me so we didn’t have a lot in common. When I was playing with Barbies, she was dating boys. When I was hiking with my dog, she was – well, I never knew what she was doing! She was mysterious.
The mystery is over. We are years older now and we have gotten to know each other in a deeper way than I thought possible. It helps that we live down the street from each other. We recently started to walk together in the evenings. Anne always acts interested when I tell her about my recent hiking adventures. I thought she was just being polite. Until one day she said she wanted to hike to the Eternal Flame in Chestnut Ridge Park. WHAT? My sister walking on an uneven, dirt path? It’s madness! She’ll kill herself! I’ll be responsible! How would I tell her children?
Now, my sister has done some things that surprised me. She attended an outdoor all day rock concert, standing in the front row, on a hot summer day, surrounded by sweaty concert goers. I won’t even do that! She’s traveled with her husband overseas to many countries, visiting places I doubt I’ll ever see in my lifetime. I’m always impressed how she overcomes being in uncomfortable and new situations.
So, I guided her on a hike to the Eternal Flame. This is a path I know well so I was confident. It’s less than a mile long, and I knew she could hike that far. However, we hiked this trail immediately after a rain storm which made the creek higher than usual. Oh, and most of the hike is in the creek. Welcome to hiking, Anne!
As I watched my sister navigate through the downed trees, stepping from rock to rock to avoid the deepest parts of the creek, I really began to appreciate her stubborness, er, I mean, strength. I looked over my shoulder watching her pick her next step and I kept waiting for her to tell me it was too hard; she didn’t want to finish; she wanted to go back. If the thought was in her head, she never let it escape her mouth! She got dirty, REALLY wet and she didn’t stop until we got to the flame!
One thing I have learned the last few years about my sister is that she has a wicked sense of humor! Anne says that she tries too hard to be funny and then isn’t funny. But that makes it funnier. Growing up we both learned how to crochete. Anne has taken it to an expert level. She even sells her crocheted items in a local gift shop. Why am I telling you this? Well, Anne decided she wanted to crochete on the Eternal Flame Trail. She brought out a crochete hook, took a long weed and started making single crochetes. Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to see on a trail, you see a woman crocheting a scarf from a vine. Survivalist to the core!
As we returned down the trail she told me that her good friend had walked this trail in flip flops and if she could do it, so could she. She kept that thought in her head the whole way to encourage herself to keep going. I’m so glad that helped her!
By the time we got to the end of the trail a group of ladies were just beginning the trek and they asked us about the trail. My favorite sister (aka – my only sister) answered their questions and provided advice like a professional hiker.
10 out of 10 would hike with my sister again! Maybe I can convince her to hike the Appalachian Trail with me!