Yesterday my friend and I thought it would be fun to hike to the bottom of a fairly sizeable canyon and back with the little kids. We packed a picnic lunch, loaded up on water and sunscreen, and I placed all 30 pounds of Jack on my back.
There's this whole element to hiking that I am still fairly new to, and that would be the downhill/uphill thing. If you spend the first half of your hike enjoying the scenery as you traverse downhill, it is inevitable that you will spend the last part of your hike walking uphill. As enjoyable as this all sounds, the pleasure dynamic does shift somewhat when you are lugging a toddler on your back. In my case, a toddler who thoroughly enjoys smashing remnants of cheese into the hairs on the back of my neck or grabbing my hair and steering me with it.
So as we made our way back to the top, somewhere between when my legs began to feel as if they were made of rubber and where I realized you can't make cell phone calls in a canyon, two delightful things happened. First, Jack proceeded to shriek in such a manner that the blood, if and when it finally decided to pour from my shattered eardrums, would trickle in a thin rivulet and land in a blot on my shoulder to resemble almost exactly the profile of Dinah Shore. He sustained this piercing screaming until we got back to the car, in fact. I suppose it was toddler-speak for get me off of your back, woman. There is no more cheese to smash and I am becoming annoyed by your ripe odor. I have a nap that needs to happen and a diaper to fill.
Meanwhile, my friend's daughter, who had been very happy for the most part chasing lizards with Jacob, decided she was not. going. to. walk. back. with. us. NO MATTER WHAT. So she had her own less piercing tantrum while her mom kept her cool and only threatened to strap her to the top of the car once.
As things developed, a young couple passed us on the trail. They tried to get past us as quickly as possibly, the fear evident on their faces. Even their large dog wouldn't look at us and kept his head low. I saw his tail tuck between his legs as Jack let out a particularly high-decibel wail.
There was nothing to do of course but smile at the couple and say, "We're part of a public service announcement for the forest service encouraging young couples not to breed. Now go! Refill your birth control as soon as you get back to town."
They actually ran past us.