Sunday, March 23, 2008

the longest mile(s)

Last month, we spent a night and day in Keene, New Hampshire, catching up with some dear friends: Amos and Emily, who hosted dinner at their apartment in Keene, and Matt, who was visiting from Anchorage. Amos and Matt were my adventure-buddies when I lived in Burlington, VT, and we have stayed in touch via a regular email forum for the last several years, visiting once or twice a year.
The morning after our dinner was frigid but beautiful: blue skies, billowy clouds, and so much fluffy white snow. We ventured into Pisgah State Park--Amos, my sister Kaytie, and our family--for some much-needed snowshoeing. It was soooooo lovely to feel powder beneath my snowshoes, and to see and smell real, honest-to-goodness winter everywhere. Dylan was a natural on snowshoes, even though it was only his first time out. We were so proud.
That said, snowshoeing is a much different affair with small children. The 3-mile round trip trek took us several hours, and by the end, Kat, Amos, and I had to muster up all the good humor in our reserves to get Dylan up the hill and over the mental hump. Halfway through the hike, Alexa, who hadn't slept the night before because we were in a hotel, had entirely succumbed to her exhaustion. She fell asleep in the backpack for a bit, and then, waking to find that she was still on the damned trail, no closer to bed or warmth, she made us aware of her fury by way of a long, loud wail that slowly transformed into a fit of screams. Poor kid. When she wore herself out, she fell asleep in Bryan's arms (see below). He hightailed it back to the car and warmed her up, while the rest of us finished the trek at a Mt. Everest pace: step. Breathe. Step. Breathe. Dylan, no less garrulous on the trail than he is at home, felt the need to stop every time he began a new story. I was very fortunate in my hiking mates: Amos and Kat are as witty and good-natured as they come! So a few setbacks, but an enjoyable day nonetheless for all but our tired little girl.

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