Home growing up memories “you can eat an elephant…just one bite at a time”

“you can eat an elephant…just one bite at a time”

by Shawni

“You can eat an elephant” is one of the seven “life lessons” my dad taught us when we, as a family, camped out in Oregon for a summer in order to build a log cabin.

Yep, you heard that right, my parents lugged us all up to this spot in the middle of the Oregon wilderness (two hours away from the closest tiny town), and for real, we built a log cabin.

Oh, it wasn’t an inhabitable cabin.

Heavens no.

Two parents and a gaggle of kids couldn’t do that in a month (at least not us). But I guess my parents thought the “cabin ploy” was a way for our family to work and grow and learn together, slow down life, sit around a campfire reading at night, making our own food in an old cast iron stove someone had helped lug into camp. Be part of the great outdoors.

And they were right.

When I write this down it sure sounds crazier than it felt back then, but boy howdy, I bet it felt a little crazy for those parents of mine in the process. How in the world did they even come up with that idea??

But they did. And I think we all couldn’t be more glad for this one among many pretty unique ideas they had while raising us.

Anyway, I SO digress.

I was just reminded of that phrase “You can eat an elephant” recently as I was trudging up what seemed like the tenth mountain peak on a stretching hike a couple weeks ago.

The phrase means, of course, as my dad so wisely taught us, you really can do anything you put your mind to.

As long as you take it bit by bit.

And I needed to take that hike that day just little by little!

You see, when you have really good hiking friends sometimes they have grand ideas about bigger mountains to climb.

A couple of them had done the Superstition Ridgeline that had been calling to me for a while, and when they set a date to go, I was all in.

They warned it was hard, but I love hard. I mean, after all that hiking with my sisters along with the other hikes I’ve done lately, I figured I was ready for this.

It’s eleven miles long and would take all day? No problem.

But I realized mid-hike that maybe I just like the idea of a hard hike.

Maybe it’s not so fun right smack-dab in the middle of it.

Phew!

Hiking Superstition Ridgeline

Desert hiking is one of my favorite things to do and despite how tough this hike was,
I don’t want to keep it to myself. Because it is a good one. Hard is good, right?

I figured “ridge line” would be hiking along a ridge and I envisioned it to be a sort of flat ridge. Sure, there was probably an incline to get there, but little did I know that trail would lead up and down mountains upon never-ending mountains.

One of my friend’s husbands dropped us off at the starting part, clear out in the middle of nowhere (this is a “point-to-point” hike so you can’t come back to your car when you’re done).

Our first climb:

Looking back (we were dropped off clear back in a little dirt parking lot way down below).

I had to will myself to keep trudging through all those mountains I tell you!

And I’m not kidding when I say mountains…

We were at the tippy top of peak after peak.

We got lost like four times too…once with maybe our steepest uphill battle only to find out we went the wrong way.

But still smiling.

Because when you’re with company like this it’s a pretty good thing no matter where you are. (Especially if it’s in my desert beauty…I mean, check out those hoodoo rock formations! Incredible.)

(That picture up there on the right is one lost point when we were scoping out how to get back on track…right before Rebecca fell into a cactus that left all kinds of quills blossoming from her knee.)

Ouch!

I bemused myself along the way not only with conversation, but with nature. I mean, these are all dried up, the end of their season (I don’t know what they’re called), but isn’t it just so fascinating how nature works?

I have to say I was SO happy when we finally climbed through some deep rock crevasses and came out at the top of Flat Iron: the sight I’d been waiting for all day! Ha!

As we hiked down those boulders again for the second time in a week (I had just done Flat Iron with my sisters), despite my tiredness and my knees seizing up, I contemplated how glad I am for opportunities to stretch myself physically and mentally in something like that, and with women I love.

And that my body works to carry me through things like that.

I turned on boho beautiful yoga there in the campground area waiting for Dave to pick us up and I loved laying together, the four of us on the cement in the ”happy baby” pose under the sinking slanty sun. Done with something hard.

Yes, you can sure “eat and elephant” if you put your mind to it.

Thanks, Dad.

Lots more information about this hike in All Trails over HERE.

If you like hiking, here are some other posts to check out:

Birthday weekend sisters hiking

Hiking in Arches National Park

Hiking in the Dolomites (Italian Alps)

Hiking in Switzerland (attached by a harness to a cliff!)

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1 comment

Maria February 23, 2022 - 10:13 am

Not Maria. Interesting LOL.

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