Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I (finally) did it!

I hiked the Narrows!

Robert took some time off to enjoy his birthday week, so we decided to hike together. Neither of us had hiked the Narrows in the 4+ years we've lived here. We found a babysitter, put on our water shoes and grabbed some trekking poles, and took off.

I've long been intimidated by this hike and thought that the first few steps into the river would be difficult. It wasn't. This was the most fun I think I've ever had on a hike. Walking through the water was hard work ~ you have to watch every step, stay away from the green rocks, and there are times you rely on your walking stick for balance. I'm happy to say that I didn't fall into the water at all, though early on we came to a deep spot and I was in water up to my waist.

The hike was very crowded at first. Lots of people brought their expensive cameras (I didn't bring mine ~ none of the photos here are mine ~ I didn't dare bring anything I didn't want to either get soaked or lost downstream). Several more didn't even carry hiking poles, which is not very bright on this hike. It's slippery. The current moves very fast in places. You WILL fall without some support. Granted, that's not the end of the world, but it must be unpleasant, and of course not good for all that costly equipment.

It's strange to hike in the river. The water was cold, so my feet were nearly numb, and the sun overhead was hot, so my head and torso were quite warm. It doesn't quite balance out.

We stopped in this spot to rest (note: don't eat lunch here):

Both of us had blisters (mine showed up before we were even in the water, but I toughed it out, and I'm so glad I did!) and though I was exhilarated enough to go on, I was starting to worry about how much time we had already spent in the water. It was hot, our feet were weary (hiking through water is difficult work) and we were low on water. We turned back. It was a good decision.

This morning, I checked out a map of the Narrows, and I was pleased to see that we'd ventured a lot farther than I thought!

It's hard to tell when you're in the middle of the hike (little sense of time passing/length traveled), but we got at least to this point:

The crowds had thinned out considerably, and we were mostly alone for the last part of the hike.

There is much more to see in the Narrows. I can hardly wait to do it again, to hike farther in.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Holland Elise Johnson is here!

Yesterday morning, baby Holland was born.

The bare facts:
  • 21 inches long
  • 9 lbs 15.4 ounces
  • Lots of dark hair
  • Born on Friday 7/31/09 at 4:15 am
I was deeply honored to assist Than and Susie throughout labor and to be present when Holland was born. What I witnessed was profound. Susie is amazing, so tough and so kind. I have never seen a woman so concerned with and loving towards her spouse while she was in labor, never seen a husband so willing to give love and encouragement to his laboring wife. I am in awe of the two of them. And they are already amazing parents. What a lucky baby!

What I want them to know:
  • They can call me anytime, day or night, if they need assistance of any kind, after family departs.
  • I am anxious and very willing to help, because I know it can be tough at times. Sleep deprivation is the most difficult part of early parenting. I hope they take advantage of the countless naps I'm offering them.
  • They can knock on the door if they don't want to call.
  • I am more available now than ever before, with two kids starting school.
  • They can also tap on our adjoining wall, if they don't want to leave their place or find a phone.
I am grateful they invited me to witness Holland's birth. I've attended nearly 30 births now, and I've never felt so moved by an experience. This little girl has taken root in my heart; I'm excited to watch her grow.