While Huck and I have gone on countless adventures together, my realization about WHY it’s so important for me to share this lifestyle with him broadened just before his first birthday, on a hut trip near Donner Pass, CA. When we were filming Raising a Wild Child, I wanted one of the main focuses of my content to be about the community and kindness that results from spending time in the outdoors.
Some friends invited Huck and I to hike along the Pacific Crest Trail and to spend the weekend in a hut outside of Truckee. It sounded like a grand adventure. While Huck and I headed out on the snowy trail above Donner Pass, I felt grateful that I could share the beauty with him. “Soak it in, kid”. We hiked, we stopped for a picnic in the snow, and we laughed/ joked/ shared deeper conversations on the trail. I loved sharing all of it with Huck. After reaching the hut, I was EXHAUSTED. Everything about me was frozen from the 10 mile hike through knee deep snow.
The floor of the hut was wet, and since Huck wasn’t walking, setting him down was not an option. After I fed Huck (who stayed toasty and dry inside the pack), my friend Jill scooped him out of my arms. Jill and Greg cuddled and played with Huck while I wolfed down some apple pie and hung my socks by the fire. Throughout the course of the evening, Huck got passed around from friend to friend. He laughed and smiled and was perfectly happy inside the hut, tucked away in the snowy mountain range. As daylight faded, a blizzard moved in. We stayed warm and hovered near the only light source from the wood burning stove inside the hut. I nursed Huck to sleep near the fire while we shared stories.
The snow piled up against the window panes, and the corners of the hut filled with darkness. As it started to quiet down, I began to replay the day in my mind. I thought about all of the beautiful vistas Huck and I had seen. I felt a little bummed that Huck wouldn’t remember any of it.
And then it hit me.
Tears welled into my eyes as I thought about all the hands that had been loving, supporting, holding, soothing, playing, and feeding Huck. Huck won’t remember the mountains or the apple pie, he probably won’t even remember Jill’s warm smile. Huck won’t remember sharing a sleeping bag with his mama in the loft during a blizzard. He won’t remember the silly games of peek a boo, or the picnic in the snow. But the support from many pairs of loving hands will be woven into his perspective of how he sees the world.
Being outside seems to make us all value simplicity. It makes us all more kind. When we spend time outside, we seem to care more about protecting the planet, and about acting with compassion and generosity towards others. Huck and I are the recipients of generosity, kindness, compassion, and help. We couldn’t go on nearly as many adventures together without the help we get from friends and the community.
The next morning as we headed out into the new snow, our friends high-fived Huck, and helped me bundle him up. On our Donner Pass hut trip I realized that a big reason I take Huck outside because I want to help shape his character to be compassionate, generous, kind. We have been the recipients of kindness and support, and I want him to give that kindness and support back to others along his journey through life.