I'm a little scared as I write this article for the obvious reasons. I'm almost inviting criticism from my peers in the mountain community. I'm opening myself up to comments from those that feel they have achieved perfection already. And I'm making myself along with my family very vulnerable. However, I risk all of the above in hopes that I can encourage other families to get out to the mountains without fear of being inadequate. Read my stories below, laugh with me (or at me if you wish), and know that you aren't alone in struggling to be that Mighty Mountain Mama or Man.
Confession one - forgetful Mama:
I am extremely organized and don't usually forget much. I do have to confess however to forgetting our son's sippy cup on at least one occasion in the mountains and to having left almost all of his juice boxes back in the car on a backpacking trip we did this last summer. I've also forgotten diapers, wipes, and a bag for soiled diapers on at least a couple occasions. The worst forgetful day was when I forgot our lunch by the back door at home. We got to the parking lot and I realized that other than a few snacks in the diaper bag, I had nothing.
|Perfect day in the mountains with my son - even without lunch|
Last winter we took Noah cross-country skiing with us in his Chariot (back-country stroller) that was fitted with skis. (see photos below) All good and he was always well bundled against the cold. Our error however was not always buckling him into the Chariot. On at least a few trips, my husband fell while navigating a steep down-hill section and I'm sure you can figure out where the title "baby launch" comes from. To our credit, I'm not sure buckling Noah in would have been much better. The one time he was buckled in and the Chariot tipped, he was trapped in it with his face in the cold snow and there was nothing he could do until my husband got the Chariot turned over again. If you've never tried skiing with a Chariot, what you need to understand is that they are great on groomed terrain but very tippy in soft back-country conditions. Even the greatest and most experienced skier can tip a Chariot if there is too much snow and the trail is uneven. It is also very hard to get the Chariot turned over again once it's fallen over. The skier pulling it is attached by a waste belt and then there's the matter of maneuvering through deep snow in skis. We've bought a pulk for this season and are hoping it gives us more freedom on back-country trails. And we do plan to buckle Noah in.
|Pulling our son in his Chariot|
Confession three - the less than helpful wife:
As implied by the title, I am at times less than helpful on the trail. I've stood by and watched as my son's child carrier has fallen over (yes, really), and I wasn't always right behind when the Chariot tipped while skiing. At least once I was myself also fallen somewhere further back on the same hill but there were times when I was further ahead down the trail oblivious to any drama behind me.
|Usually he's upright.|
Confession four - summit fever:
Yes, I have a toddler and still need to get to the summit. I've left friends and their babies behind (sorry Shannon) and I've left my own son behind either with my husband or other friends on our hike who had no such passion to reach the cold windy summit. (Thanks Kathy and Vanessa for that one) The worst thing I've done is continue on further when cross-country skiing to get views of a lake that we couldn't get the Chariot to due to the deep snow. Noah screamed the whole time I was gone and my husband had to wait for me to get back to turn around for the car.
|Yay for the friends who had lunch with Noah while Mommy AND Daddy tagged the summit of Moose Mountain last spring|
|Me on top of Moose Mountain after leaving Noah with friends behind|
Confession five - mountain princess:
That would be me - the princess. I don't really like camping and my husband knows he's going to be doing a lot of the work himself. What I love is hiking! But then I want to come home for a shower, a nice meal, and a warm comfortable bed. I will spend a whole day packing for a big camping trip and I'll clean everything up when we get home. I just don't want to do most of the work when we are at the campsite. I've never actually set a tent up by myself and I'm kind of scared of back-country stoves. I have a couple girlfriends who could go camping with the kids by themselves and they would rock it! They are my heroes. I have much to learn from strong women like that.
|Mighty Mountain Women|
|Confession 6 should be that I never carry my son when we go hiking. Greta here is a trouper though!|
Now that I've shared some of my dirty secrets with you and let you into the not so perfect world of my family's adventures I'd love to hear your comments. What are your confessions? We all have them.