Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Mountain Yak, Part II

Continued from Part I:

(Special thanks to my wifey wife for letting me cheat off her notes.  Straight up, I didn't remember doing half this stuff.)
Okay, to review:  We started out nice and bumpy, with chilrun covered in dried yakkity-yak and nauseous pregnant girls picking assorted er, stuff out of hair in the bathtub at 5:45 am.  We burned the two hours before the rescheduled flights by watching The Little Mermaid.

Majesty was good enough to point out that Jack pretended to be a puppy dog for the entire two hours of wait time (his "Jack the DAHWG" alter ego).   It was like we'd released a psyched shih tzu loose in a movie theater.  The kid did great on the flights and passed clean out in mid-takeoff during our second leg flight.  H.M. says The New Kid apparently loved flying, and that she was dancing and doing flips the whole trip.  Maybe we've got another good traveler on our hands.

On the first official family hike since circa 2009, Jack did very well.  We hiked methodically about 4 1/2 miles and he was a real pro.  Keep in  mind, 4 1/2 miles in 3 year old mileage is like hiking from L.A. to New York.  Roughly.  Uncle Jesse, NaFANiel and Elijah saw a BEAWH!  He was booking it through the forest and across our trail so fast that none of the rest of us oblivious tourists saw it.  Good thing, too; would've been my 3rd sighting in about 2 years.  I don't want to fool around with math that will eventually go against me, bigtime.  Oh, and Jack really bonded with his big boy cousins.  Had a blast hanging out with them on the trail and otherwise.

We hit a little snag on the the 2nd family hike.  Jack yanked his own card and said he was done virtually the moment we stepped onto the trail.  Snacks didn't work.  The allure of chocolate didn't faze him.  He cried and fussed and issued typewritten threats via his attorney (he couldn't get cell service to CPS).  As a last resort, I let him ride the elephant until the elephant's neck and shoulders were screaming.  Then, in a stroke of pure, Wile E. Coyote genius, I emptied the venerable blue backpack and we strapped him in there like a 36.5 lb iron dumbbell (the luggage scale at the check-in desk isn't just for looks).


Lessons:  You'll allow your wife to convince you convince yourself that child carrier backpack thingy from years past needs to stay down in storage after your sprog hits 3.  Because y'know, they're too big to ride in there.  They'll get bored.  They won't like it.  You.  Are.  Mistaken.  GRAVELY mistaken.  Take that sucker.  Pay the airline the extra 827 clams to check it.  Do whatever you have to do, but get it on the silly plane. Personally, I'm taking that pack along until the chilrun are about 19.  Because let's face it dads, you never really know who'll need to be carried up the mountain.  And down it.  And back to the car.  And over to the potty.  And back to the cabin.

I'm expecting to strap Majestad into that thing someday.  Heck, if things go my way, a hulking, 6'6" Jack will carry me up trails in it.  That's where this whole thing is headed.

Anyway, even if I wasn't, H.M. was pleased Jack was up in the makeshift carrier.  There were ahem, allegedly some pretty steep drop offs that perked up her motherly Spidey-sense.  The hike itself was worth it, and ended with a really neat waterfall.  Poppa egged Jack on to get in the water... accompanied by guess who.  I'm usually not a squish about cold water, but let me just say, about 2.9 seconds in that water and it felt like several ice picks were being driven through my feet.  Jack made absolutely no indication of pain.  Showoff.

He clambered up the big boulders at the falls while we gave him as much supervision as was possible.  And H.M., at 5 1/2 months pregnant, didn't hike fast, but kept up really well.  The hike back, and the interminable hill I carted Jack up on the way back just about ended me.  You wanna induce a heart attack get in instant shape?  Strap your kid to your back and hit the stair climber.  Sheeshkabob.

We stayed in and played in the cabin the next few days as it rained and some cooler weather pushed through the area.  Jack collected neon colored leaves, and threw rocks in the pond.

I'm told he thoroughly enjoyed playing in the hot tub with Poppa, reading with Bebe and spinning quarters (?) with Aunt Gena.  I think I was out one of these days trying to kill myself on a hike.

We went to Cade's Cove one day, which is very touristy, but still a must-see.  Most of the original white settlers to the region lived in the Cove.  Jack loved this and didn't mind temps in the low 40s in the slightest.  We had a picnic out in one of the deserted meadows down the hill and behind the old white Primitive Baptist church building.  Afterward, Jack got in there and lead our group (and some passing strangers) in singing, prayer and he even preached a brief sermon.  Majesty says she used to go there in the summers with Bebe and Poppa so its sort of fun to see Jack there now.  Continuity is an amazing thing.

We visited quite a few old home-places with (very old) original log cabins and barns.  Jack had a supreme blast going in them and climbing the old handmade ladders.  He especially liked the corn cribs, probably because we couldn't easily get him out of those.  Wildlife was everywhere, with lots of deer and turkeys and even a couple of bear cubs.  Some idiots were about 30 feet from the cubs getting pictures.  They seemed not to worry about where mama bear might be lurking.  It's one thing to ignore danger, but these folks acted as if they were at the zoo.  We skipped the Darwin Award(s) waiting to happen and got outta there.
The morning we left for home, it was 35 degrees near the GSM.  The moment I got out of the car in Houston, three mosquitoes swarmed me and bit the fire out of my forearms.  It was 82 and sunny.

It's a weird way to say welcome back.


Jennifer said...

Despite the "chunky" start to your vacation, it looks like you had a great time, and I am very impressed with M. being able to handle all of the hiking.

El Comodoro said...

She's an animal.