Sunday, August 2, 2009
So, it turns out it's actually really difficult (and expensive) to have fireworks go off outside your house at the exact moment you open this page. I may have overestimated my ability to provide hoopla. My apologies. Instead I will say that I really appreciate you reading 100 of my offerings and I really hope you'll stay for the next 100.
As you know, I was on vacation. I like vacation. Sleeping late, lounging by the pool, sipping cocktails, eating luxuriously long and delicious dinners. I however, was on a family vacation. Getting up even earlier with over excited kids, playing Marco Polo for hours in the pool, having my drink knocked over by the toddler and inhaling over priced food in under 10 minutes before the kids destroy the restaurant.
We did have lots of golden moments too. The kids LOVED having the husband to climb on for a whole week. Their joy at being able to go to the pool everyday, sometimes twice a day was infectious. Being allowed to eat ice cream everyday has parental benefits too!
We were in the mountains, at a ski resort. In the summer you can ride the gondola and chair lifts to either mountain bike or hike. We decided to go up for the ride and have some tree hugging time out in nature. Riding a chairlift to 8,600 feet with a squirming toddler was entertaining to say the least. I had her secured in a sling but she was was very determined to get out and sit on the seat next to her sister. Each chair we passed found our endless chorus of distraction with Pat-a-cake and Old MacDonald very amusing.
Finally we alighted at the top of the mountain - I felt more than a little bit relieved.
If only I had known that things would get much more dramatic, I might just have jumped right back on that chairlift with enthusiasm.
It was a hot day. In the high 80's. I am usually so over prepared the husband finds it maddening. For the first time (maybe in my life) I had decided not to carry a big bag of extra clothes, snacks, hats etc. We set off on a little hike. It was glorious. The views were endless - miles of mountains and distant lakes. We collected interesting rocks and twigs and tried to feed chipmunks (chickmunks to the six year old.) We were having a lovely time.
Literally within minutes the sky went from azure blue to black and it started to rain.
We weren't overly concerned, it was still really warm and we could shelter under the trees. Then the boom of thunder started. It was thrilling until the lightening started flashing.
"We better head back" the husband said wisely.
As we walked it started to hail. Cute teeny hail that was fun to suck.
The cute little hail got bigger and it started to sting our skin. We started to run.
We made it back to the lift just as the hail became gumball sized.
As we sheltered under a small awning, people poured out of the woods. In the end about 70 of us were squeezed under the roof for some shelter.
The temperature plummeted. We were in shorts and short sleeved t-shirts, including the baby.
I will let you imagine the conversation we had about why I like to carry extra stuff....
"It'll blow through" the staff re-assured us.
One hour later, the ground around us was completely white with hail and we were all very cold.
"Bad news" said the lift operator, "The lifts will not be running again today because of the lightening, state law, sorry."
"What do we do now?" asked the husband.
"You can hike down" says the ever smiling lift operator.
Hmmmm - hike down several thousand feet in hail with thunder and lightening crashing around us. I was delighted when not one person in the group thought this was doable.
An hour passed, we got colder.
I had just begun to get concerned. My concern very quickly turned to guilt. What the hell was I thinking bringing a fourteen month old up here in shorts and a t-shirt. What if we have to stay the night, what if the bears realize we are here, what if.....
"Good news!" says the lift operator, "They're sending trucks for you."
"The trucks can take 6 people at a time and we have three that can make it up here."
I did the math - it was going to take a long time to get us all down.
When the first truck rolled in nearly an hour later - I will freely admit that when it was suggested 'the baby' should go first - I bolted for that truck. You couldn't see me for dust. I had the six year old, husband and baby tucked inside before anyone could say otherwise. We did share the truck with the two little old ladies who were also there.
It was a scary ride, down a slick mountain track with drop offs. I was VERY glad to set my feet on solid, flat ground.
After hot baths and hot drinks we were all feeling it was a great adventure.