A Cross-Country Skiing Adventure
10:18 pm: We had quite an adventure to end the year. We drove west into the mountains and found a cross-country ski park. John and Walt had packed the skis and boots last night. We packed everything else in the morning, bringing all the things we thought we might need for Jet. Jet even ate both off of me and a solids breakfast before we left. He did go to sleep on the way up into the mountains and had a good hour-long nap on the way up.
When we reached the park we just got everything out of the car, tucked Jet into his snow suit, with some protests on his part. We put his fur mittens on him and put fleece booties on his feet over his socks. He got the fur hat on his head and the snow suit had a bit of a hood as well. We then strapped him securely into the kid pack.
Once he was securely in the pack and put up on John's back, Jet got quiet and started looking around. Kind of. He didn't seem to believe that he could move his arms, head, or legs all that much.. His head pretty much stayed turned so that he could look over John's right shoulder and he wouldn't turn his head the look the other way at all. He was able to lean his forehead against the pack frame, and he did that.
We thought he might have a bit of a cold, as one nostril was running a bit, but it wasn't that bad. He also didn't seem to be terribly unhappy up there. We all put our cross country skies on, and started up a trail that was near where we parked. The trail headed gradually up, up and more up, but it was a pretty gentle slope and there were big bumps every now and then that would stop us on the way down. We found quite a few people stopped at those, spacing themselves apart so that they didn't run into each other. Some of them looked kind of scarily steep, but I figured that if I could make it up then I could probably make it back down.
Jet did wonderfully. He just settled into the pack and watched things as they went by and would occasionally give a yip or a squawk that was pretty happy sounding, despite the cold. It was probably in the single digits out there, and in the wind it was even colder. In the trees we weren't getting bit by the wind, so it was far more comfortable. There was even some sunshine that we all soaked up happily.
The snow was dry and powdery. It was so cold that even in the sunshine it was hard and crisp and clear. There wasn't that much of it. Rocks were showing through the cover, and it was only about six to eight inches thick where it hadn't been disturbed yet. We were mildly disappointed, though it wasn't quite as bad as when we were driving up. On the way up, it looked like there was no snow at all under the trees. There was a bit to the sides of the road, but nearly nothing under the trees. The park had, at least, enough snow to ski over and when we took to the trees to skip a section that was only rock, it was thick enough to support our weight easily and give pretty easy passage.
There were some sections of the trail that were harder than others. I wasn't too out of breath, which surprised me because we were up at 9000+ feet and doing one of the more strenuous exercises known to man. I didn't go all that fast, but I did go steadily. I had fun just working away at it, pushing down on the ski to make sure the scales got a good grip before I trusted my weight to it. I did stop here and there, to breath, but it wasn't quite the distress I had the first time I went cross-country skiing.
That was good.
The bad things were when my lack of experience had me sliding in unexpected directions. This is why I'll never be any good at downhill skiing. I hate sliding about. A lot of the flat path skiing for cross country is sliding, but it's mostly sliding under control and in the direction I'm moving things. Downhill isn't under my own power, at the least. I'm too much of a control freak. Some of it was because I was afraid of injuring my fixed knee, but most of it is just that I'm afraid of things that are out of my control.
At the very end of the trail, there was an uphill that was very steep. I had to go sideways simply to get up it, and then we found out that the snow petered out and there was just rock for a while. The wind also picked up just with the rock, as we were near the top of the ridge. Rather than brave all that, we decided to turn around. Then I had to face going down that steep incline. I couldn't do it. I finally ended up taking my skis off and walking down, to the side of the trail.
One really, really cool thing was that Walt and Cathie didn't make me feel like an idiot for doing that. I think, also, that I decided I wasn't going to feel like an idiot for doing it, either. It's just where my threshold was. I didn't want to hurt my knee again, and Walt was very sympathic about the situation and applauded my caution, and ability to sit on my pride and do what I needed to do. I was very glad of them and of that.
It was much easier going. We went down another path, that turned out to be very twisty and steep. John fell, with Jet, twice, but he was really good and fell backwards onto his butt, so Jet wasn't shaken up by that too much. Still, it was warning enough that John also took his skis off and used his poles for balance and made his way down the hill. I carried all the skies and my poles and we hiked our way through the forest. It was really pretty being out there, with the snow, the quiet woods, and the well-packed, clearly marked path. Jet got upset after John's second fall, but he calmed with the steady rhythm of the walk out.
It didn't take nearly as much time going out as going in. The uphill climb had taken a while. When we reached the car, Jet started crying when he could see me, but couldn't reach me because he was so restricted by the snow suit. I peeled off a bunch of layers, got into the car, took him from Cathie, and then peeled him out of his suit, hat, mittens, boots, and helped him blow his nose. I then took a blanket that Walt handed me, and wrapped Jet in it and then tucked him close against my body and let him nurse. His hands and feet were really cold, and he tucked his cold little paws against my skin. Brrr... but that warned him up pretty quickly, along with getting to eat and getting all that human milk sugar into his system.
By the time he was done and tucked back into his car seat and everyone was back in the truck and the heat was on, Jet had warmed up so that even his extremities were warmed through. I think some of it was just not getting to move all that much in the back pack. Some might have been because the overlap between the coverings for his extremities and the snow suit had a few gaps. We're not entirely sure. We might have to just use wool socks next time to protect his hands. We'll see.
Once warmed through, he went back to sleep and we headed through Nederland to Boulder along Boulder Creek Canyon. It was gorgeous in the canyon, with the sheer rock faces, the frozen water that would leap to life in black holes along the way. It was really fun to go down that way. We ended up in Boulder, tried one restaurant that was closed and ended up at the Irish pub.
Jet was in great spirits there. The rest of us were pretty happy as well. It was nice to have good food, good drink, and a very happy baby who was cooing, laughing, eating, dancing to the music, bouncing, and flirting with everyone that got near. Jet ate all kinds of things, crackers from his box, lemons off everyone's glasses, bits of mandarin orange from Cathie's salad, crusts from people's sandwiches, and fries from John's plate. Jet was actually stealing fries off of John's plate when John wasn't looking.
Jet got all of us to play with him now and again. He also got the couple from the table next to us to play with him and smile at him. The waitress liked him, and he was just pretty joyous throughout the meal. We don't really know exactly how much he actually got into himself, but he had a lot of fun getting it all over.
From there we headed out to various fabric stores, and even went to McGuckins to try and find replacement snaps. Walt found some things he really needed, but not the snaps we wanted. We ended up at Jo-Ann's fabrics, and found what was needed. From there we headed to Safeway to pick up stuff to make pizza and some more milk for breakfast, and then to Blockbuster for a movie. I changed Jet while in Safeway, as they had the changing table in the bathroom, which was nice and warm.
I am now very appreciative of warmth.
Jet was mildly fussy all the way back and about two miles from home he burst out into full-blown crying. Poor kid. Not enough eats. I just nursed him the moment we got into the house, and that calmed him down considerably. He then played while I made pizza dough and we all went downstairs and Walt got to see Snatch while the rest of us watched and played with Jet.
It was cool to see it again, and better yet to be able to walk away for a little while and empty the dishwasher, make some hot chocolate, and get a few things done by myself while everyone else watched.
We made pizzas rather late, but we were so full from our lunch that it didn't make a difference. Jet was lagging by the time it was time to eat, so I ate a couple slices and then took Jet upstairs to nurse him to sleep.
12:01 am Hee. Happy 2002.
It's snowing outside, just a dusting in the cold, night air. John and I only had half an hour to go after Jet had gone back to sleep after his first waking of the night. So we thought we'd stay up.
It's been a while since we actually have seen the new year in. Fresh and cold and clean and new.
Turns out CeLena can take me tomorrow. I had to cancel my appointment with her today because of the outing, and I had kind of resented that. Now, though, I'll have the chance to do it without stealing time from Walt and Cathie and it should be much more useful after trying to cross-country ski again for the first time in a very long time.
That should be a good start for the new year, along with everything else.
Kathy gave me a book called Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl. Ruth is a food critic, actually more of a 'food writer' and she writes about her life and about food and I'm enjoying it hugely. Incidents of her life and the roles that food played in it and how they tie with how her life develops. It's like a journal but more focussed, and it's studded with interesting recipes and real emotions. I like it a lot and I could see doing something like this. Wow.
Well, good night. It's time to sleep. My dreams, last night, after The Fellowship of the Ring were really bad ones. I don't know why. I hope they're better tonight.