Much of what we do here is analogous to what a child does in terms of learning new skills. We are learning a language, learning a culture, learning a new place. And one of those skills is learning to walk…on a mountain.
I remember our second hike that we took here in Papua New Guinea — a nine day hike through the jungle that brought us through the very village we now live in (described here and here). At some points on that hike, the path was near vertical, at other points we crossed bamboo bridges, or walked in rivers, or across slippery stones. I remember seeing several kids early on in that hike running down the trail at one of the steep parts. They all passed us–and they were all holding machetes. Basically, these kids know how to get around on a mountain!
Our kids…as well as ourselves…have to learn how to do that. My goal is to take them out once or twice a week (usually on our day off) and just walk up and down the mountains nearest to our house.
Here are a couple of the trips we’ve taken so far.
The big waterfall nearest to our house is probably the closest walk. When we first moved in, it was difficult for everyone (even me) to get there, but now…we’ve learned to walk to the waterfall! Sometimes, the kids even run…but not with machetes.
Another of our first hikes was hiking to a friend’s house. My favorite part of this trip was the part where one of the village kids held Mary and she was practically the same size as her.
Okay, so this actually happened a few times…
We also hiked past the waterfall one time and got to a place where we could look back and see our house! To the left of our house you can see a garden being prepared (step 1 of preparing a garden here: light it on fire).
We radioed Cameron from this point with our walkie-talkie and had her come out of the house and try and find us. She never could find us, but we could see her…can you find her?
Mary on the way back…this time not being carried.
Our favorite hike recently is just straight up the mountain. The views are great and on the way down, everyone just kind of slides. Towards the top, we found some bamboo. We tried to hike above the bamboo, but just couldn’t!
Maybe next time!
Here’s us on the way down with the village in the background:
Another nice part about going on hikes is that sometime, on our way back into the village, some of our friends give us bananas!