Wednesday, August 23, 2006

In which Miss M plays navigator*

We set off for the Berkshires on a Thursday night, with the goal of getting some outdoor recreation on Friday morning. Friday afternoon we had to shop and cook for Shabbat. If I had been more coordinated, we would have had more food prepared in advance, but Taxman was happy to use a grill. (Grrrr, man make fire!)

On Friday morning, up at our usual crack of dawn, courtesy of Miss M, we zeroed in on Bash Bish Falls, "the tallest waterfall in Massachusetts," as our destination. We were out of the house before 10, but we spent a good while being lost. We asked for directions three times; our AAA map just didn't have enough detail. ("It's our Amazing Race!" Taxman and I giggled to each other.) But the drive was pleasant, the scenery was verdant, and the kids were in good spirits.

After a lot of meandering, we disembarked at the Bash Bish parking lot in Mt. Washington, Massachusetts. It was almost noon, and our original plan--to be at the grocery store, picking up chicken and watermelon and milk by 1 pm--was clearly out of reach. But we were here to get some fresh air, damn it, so that is what we were going to do. Getting the kids ready to go was a whole project, of course. We changed their diapers in the back of the van, loaded them into their carriers (a Kelty backpack, toted by Taxman, for Miss M and a Freehand mei tai for Baby AM), and found the trailhead.

As we studied the bulletin board at the trailhead, which contained dire warnings about swimming in the falls, there was a simple sheet of paper tacked up—a notice from the Mt. Washington State Park Powers that Be. The gist was that the trail to the falls was about a quarter-mile, but (BUT!) over that quarter-mile there was a vertical drop of 300 feet. The kindly-but-stern Powers that Be reminded us innocent hikers that what goes down must come up, but if we didn't think we were up to it there was a parking lot about a mile down the road with a pretty flat, half-mile trail in and out.

Although it would have taken a good 15 minutes to toss the kids, the carriers, the backpack, and ourselves in the van and reconstruct the scene down the road, I was about to suggest that we trade minor inconvenience for peace-of-mind. The beginning of the trail looked very steep. "What do you think?" I asked Taxman. (We tend to do things by consensus.)

"Not sure, but I think we can probably do it. What do you think?"

Before I could respond, a high-pitched, excited voice piped up from behind his head: "Go, go, go! Abba! Go, go, go!!!"

He looked at me and shrugged, "I guess there’s your answer."

And so we went.

It was steep. There were no handholds. There were very few things to brace against. The pitch of trail was scary. The dirt was slippery and loose under my feet. If I'd been by myself I would have just gone with gravity, but my resistance to gravity was the single thing standing between AM’s sweet, soft skull and, well, I didn't want to think about it.

Fifteen minutes later, we were at Bish Bash Falls. I was shaking--my quads in particular, which had basically prevented me from falling down the very steep hill ass over teakettle. After briefly taking in the scenery...

...we had to jet. But I was pretty sure that I could not get up those 300 feet.


In his continuing quest to be the Best.Husband.Ever, Taxman said he was willing to let me take the flat route out. He'd scale the cliff with Miss M and pick us up at the other parking lot.

We parted ways. It felt weird to be without him, plus I didn't have my cell phone. (There hadn't been reception in the parking lot, so I left it in the car.) I had a medium-sized freakout when I realized that I had crossed into New York State. I had known we were close to New York; the locals, in fact, had told us to go via New York to get to Bash Bish. But what if Taxman thought he was on the wrong road and tried to find me elsewhere? Oh crap.

Luckily, we were upstate, where people were friendly and chatty. A pleasant older couple watched the blood drain from my face as we crossed the border. They assured me that Taxman would find us; in the parking lot they offered their cell phone, and when it failed to have reception they offered to drive me to the other lot. When I demurred—I had no carseat for AM—they offered to go meet him at the other parking lot and make sure he got to me. So sweet! But thankfully Taxman had vanquished the mini-mountain in record time, and just then he and Miss M came screeching into the parking lot.

Next time Miss M gets a vote in how we go, she's walking it herself. Or carrying me part of the way.

* as promised

1 comment:

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