No, school has not started. The backpacking I mean is of a much more physically gruelling sort. Apparently Dad had been planning to do a family backpacking trip with us at this age for years now, but I wasn't informed until 3 days before it happened. It was quite a shock. We went on the Mother Mountain Loop, inside the Mount Ranier National Park, which has a total distance of 17. something miles. After checking in with the Park Rangers, we began our journey at 10 in the morning on August 25. Dad, being the enthusiastically crazy guy he is, planned it out so that we had to go 10 miles the first day, then 5, then 2, as it was meant to be a 3 day 2 night trip. The first 10 miles wouldn't have been bad at all, if it weren't for the fact that they sucked. We had a bit of flat ground at the beginning, and then things got bad. Steep downhill rocky switchbacks ensued for a much longer distance than there was flat, taking us a total of at least 3 hours to get down them. Ups and downs for a long while, and then the miles ended with the last 2 being incredibly difficult for all, as they were like the uphill version of the switchbacks mentioned before. Mom, Luke, and Emma were reduced to tears. Mom mentioned earlier that she was kept from saying some naughty things and verbally expressing her hatred of the hike and of Dad (At the moment) only by the presence of her children. The whole day was 9+ hours of hiking alone. Keep in mind that this whole thing was made many times more difficult by the carrying of heavy packs and that we couldn't enjoy the views because the fog. The next day it was much the same (Minus the fog), except we decided to go the extra mile (or two) than planned, and do it in 2 days, as Mom got no sleep in the tent and she wanted Dunn and I to be able to go to our open houses, which were today. Keep in mind that Luke did this too, but I carried his pack for him. Let me tell you, that loop was meant for 3 days. Every group we passed by (None with kids, I might add) was doing it in 3. The coolest thing for day 1 was this awesome suspension bridge we got to cross, and for day 2 it was walking across the snow fields. I never would have guessed I would be walking across snow in the summer, but I was, and I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and I was hot. It was beautiful, though. Very beautiful. Dunn posted some pics on Facebook, I believe. When we were driving home afterwards Mom puked multiple times because of the exertion and lack of hydration (There was water, she just didn't drink).