Friday, February 1, 2013

Uncertain Bargains (or, it's all fun until it just isn't)

One the Bubbles' favorite outdoor activities is hiking down to the creek and then along it up past the waterfall until the fence that borders the highway halts our progress.  But with 4 feet of snowfall between Dec 21 and sometime mid-January, limited days of thaw, and the crazy steep slope that leads down to the creek, we hadn't taken our hike in some time.  (Gregg and Alex did try it once in snowshoes but it was pretty tough going.)  The last two days have brought sun and highs close to 60 so we figured we'd give it a try this afternoon.

Here are the Bubbles before we headed down.

Don't they look excited???  They did not want to pose.

 I didn't attempt to take the camera with me, despite suspicions that there would be lots of beauty to capture -- I figured that between the steep, the deep (snow), and the slick (mud), the camera would be happier here.  I did, however take a Lagunitas Sucks -- prudence does have her limits.

My first observation as we started out was that my children are mountain goats.  They navigated the rocky hillside adeptly despite the snow and mud conditions -- crisscrossing to scrub their speed as they basically dashed down.  But me?  Well, I was about a dozen steps into the descent when I scrubbed all my speed, as my boots slid in the mud and I landed on my butt.  Falling on my booty was not part of my plan for sure.  Two weeks ago I took a wicked spill at Northstar, waiting for Alex to snowboard to me, on the hardpacked bunny slope, right on my tailbone.  OUCH!   Still OUCH!  Somehow this slip managed to land me on an ample cheek and spared the bone, the only damage to my confidence and my cords (not a drop of beer was spilled - I know you're relieved). 

By the time I got to my feet, Gregorie was at the creek.  The creek I can hear rushing like a freight train at night.  With snow and mud and uncertain banks and how deep is that creek?????  I yelled to her to wait.  Alex yelled to her, "You don't want to fall in there again.  I'm not there to help you out!" (When did this happen?)  I quickly determined that the best way down was to follow the tracks of the 6-year old.  She is mountain wise.  Except she weighs 45 pounds.  And me, well, about 100 more.  So, when the snow got deep she floated over the top.  And every second or third step I sank to my knee, or higher.  Made for slow going.  Finally Alex (who was so concerned about her poor old mother and waited for me, offering to hold my hand -- wasn't it just yesterday I had to help you?  Oh, no, wait, that will come again...) and I reached the creek bank, where Gregorie gave us the "What?  Why am I waiting for you slow pokes" look, before she ran off along the water's edge, up and down the bank as needed (the creek has carved a pretty steep ravine).

And instantly I knew I should have brought the camera.  The creek is ever changing and always beautiful.  I love the play of sun and shadows in the girls' hair as they run along, shouting, "Look at this!  How cool is this ice!  Hey, here's a neat pine cone!  Mama, can you carry this moss back up for us.  OOOH!  Look at the waterfall!"  The dogs ran along by our side, until Echo had to go chase the poor cat who only wanted to come too.

Eventually I got tired of navigating the banks and put my waterproof boots to the test, walking up the creek itself.  I caught up to the girls just down from the waterfall and seeing me in the water, they joined me.

Remember what I said about prudence?  Check the first picture.  Those are NOT waterproof boots. 

Echo was only too happy to jump in and splash her way toward home.  Stella, with the benefit of years and the disadvantage of a shorter coat, stuck to the banks.   We found the cat, safely, and dryly,  and I suppose, prudently, up a tree about halfway back.  By the time we reached the Easiest Way Up, Alex was whimpering.  Gregorie was dashing ahead, sensing that it was only a matter of time before her feet felt as bad as her sister's.  "Mama!  Hold my hand!  Help me up!  I can't feel my feet!"  Ah, so now you need me, eh?  Of course, that did not stop her from pausing to restack some rocks on the fallen tree.  Certain things just have to be.

It hurts!

Gregorie almost sat on this log, next to Alex above.  Alex yelled, "Don't sit there!  Sap!"  Prudence has her moments.

So does prudish.

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