I Love My Family, But...I love my family. Really, I do. Most days I love being a wife and a mom, complete with all the chauffeuring, spectating, cajoling, and listening that goes along with the job description. But every once in awhile, I crave the single life. The joy of only having to worry about what I want to do, what I want to eat, where I want to go.  So once a year, I escape.

Now the truth is, I’m a luxury type gal. I don’t necessarily have the money for it, but when I think of escapes, I think of luxury—good food, good wine, good book, hot water, and 300 thread-count sheets. Unfortunately for me, the group of friends I escape with think of backpacks, mountain trails, and canned food. And I willingly, even eagerly, sign up each year.

We hike about 7 miles up a mountain to sleep in double bunk beds under scratchy blankets in a rustic cabin with no electricity. Our food selection is equally Spartan, and it turns out that no one makes decent wine that comes in a carton. (Truly a missed business opportunity, if you ask me.)

But oh my, the sights we see along the way: tiny bluets peeking out of their tiny leafed cushions, bold white trilliums looking like they own the trail, masses of dainty wild violets, boulders covered with furry moss that begs you to stroke it to see if it feels as good as it looks, waterfalls of all sizes, stream beds masquerading as trails, and clean green vistas that make your head spin and heart sing. As spectacular as all that is, the best part for me is the talking and sharing and listening. We talk about our lives, the good and the not so good. We read poetry to each other. We laugh a lot. We recharge.

So each year I engage in that wonderful thing called amnesia. I forget about the sore shoulders, sitting on my butt to get down stairs for the following two days, and yucky food. I remember the vistas, the wildflowers, and the fresh smells. Mostly I remember the laughing, the talking, and the friendship. There is nothing like female friendship to sustain the soul.

Image credit: Zanthia