Backpacking Isn’t All Fun, Sometimes You Want to Cut Off Your Feet

Backpacking photo by Kim Harms
Bean Lake Overlook

Life is  hitting me pretty hard these days, so I’ve kind of been MIA.

But today I need to share one quick little story from my family’s backpacking trip this summer. And I’m going to break my own rule of NEVER posting a first draft. (I’ll probably regret it tomorrow.) I’m giving you an unedited version of what my brain is telling my fingers, because that is about all I can handle right now.

Around mile 13 of our marathon 14.5 mile day on the Superior Hiking Trail, after hiking for more than 10 hours in sweltering heat, my poor little guy (Lewis is 11) was so done with it all.

“Mom, my feet hurt so bad, I can’t even walk.”

“Mom, I’m sure my feet are bleeding.”

“Mom, can I please just cut my feet off?”

It was a hard hard day of hiking. And I wanted to say “Yes buddy, let’s just stop.” or “Sweetheart, let me carry you.”Backpacking photo by Kim Harms

But you know what? I couldn’t do that. I was carrying a pack of my own, and though I was keeping my discomfort to myself, I kind of wanted to cut my feet off too. The only option was for Lewis to walk himself out on his own tired and sore feet, with his Dad and me cheering him on the best we could.

A lot of hard things in life are like that aren’t they? Cancer included. Cancer gives you no choice but to put one foot in front of the other. And though your momma, or your hubby, or your BFF might want to say “Sweetheart, let me carry you.” They can’t. Some burdens are our very own to carry.

But you know what? Lewis made it.

That sweet little guy hiked for close to 12 hours that day and was rewarded with a McDonalds shake, a shower and a comfy bed at the Holiday Inn.

And you know what else? He’s stronger for it. He now knows in his spirit that he can do more than he thought he was capable of doing.

Sometimes, we need to stand up on our weary feet and not think about the miles we have left, but instead focus on putting one foot in front of the other. When we eventually get to the trailhead (and we will reach that trailhead), and we see that Chevy Truck just waiting to take us to the Holiday Inn, we will realize we are capable of more than we thought we were.

Backpacking photo by Kim Harms


By KimHarms

Kim Harms is an author, speaker, and part-time library assistant with two decades of freelance writing experience. She has a degree in English from Iowa State University. She and her husband Corey have three super-awesome sons and one crazy dog. A two-time breast cancer survivor, her first book, Life Reconstructed: Navigating the World of Mastectomies and Breast Reconstruction (Familius), is a guide for women walking the breast cancer road. She is currently working on her second book, a devotional for women going through breast cancer.


  1. I lost my sister on 9/11/17 to breast cancer. Two months after I was diagnosed with breast cancer and needed a mastectomy. My niece and nephew (my sister’s kids) challenged me to do the pink army 5k road race this October. I have been training since July 1. I can now accomplish 3 miles in about 32 minutes. Walking and jogging of course but I’m proud of it. This has been hard but cancer is so much harder. My motto, everything I do I do it for you!!

    1. Sharon, I apologize that I didn’t see this comment until today. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story with me. I’m so sorry you lost your sister, and then to have to go through breast cancer yourself too. That’s hard stuff. Way to go on the 5K! Sometimes hard things like cancer show us we can do more than we thought we could do.

    1. Thanks Cathy! Somehow I missed seeing this comment until now. I love taking adventures, but they don’t always go as planned 🙂

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