Thursday, July 16, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 120 - Masks Mandated and The Great Outdoors

The world is turning quickly these days. A lot has happened in just the past week. Masks are now a mandatory thing in Washington to enter businesses, and in Seattle, they are mandatory all the time. (A brief stop on a drive today went further in to prove that.) 

But this past week, my brother and I made good on our first 'vacation' together - while sanitizing like crazy, wearing our masks, and doing lots of social distancing. Now, I'll admit - hanging out with my big brother has always been an awesome thing for me. He's on a bit of a pedastool, even though we're both in our 40's now. I see him through realistic glasses, but he's turned into kind of an amazing guy. Since our dad passed away, I see a lot of little quirks of Dad's personality in him. Like I've always said, blood may be thicker than water, but love is what binds us all together. We're a choosen family - not a biological one, but however we came to be - I won the family lottery.

This weekend, we put our bodies to the test and did some socially distant amazing hiking through the Cascade Mountains - with The Impossible Girl en tow, of course.

The trip started with a visit to FinnRiver Cidery and Fort Worden on the Penninsula. Both were easy to stay socially distanced. I wasn't sure how things would go once we got to our home base for the trip - the tiny town of Leavenworth - but it turned out they have also made adjustments. 
They shut down the main street to cars and put picnic tables in the streets to help assist with social distancing, and to help keep the businesses (which rely almost entirely on tourism) to stay attractively open. 
The Impossible girl doesn't love masks or the sun, but she's great at understanding that it keeps her germs to herself. She is also a pro at sanitizing and understanding the purpose behind all of this without letting it really get to her. It's just a change. We miss play grounds and sporting events and movie theaters, but this vacation taught me something I plan to carry forward into my life in all my future parenting. 
If you've known me for more than a couple hours - you know I am team 'TAKE THE TRIP'. Don't wait until a small child will (might) remember it clearly. Don't wait until they are perfectly behaving or potty trained, or weaned. TAKE THE TRIP. (I mean, by all means, do what's right for your family. This is just the advice you'll get from me if you ask.) It's EXHAUSTING traveling with a small kid. There is a lot of gear to lug around and things you may not need to worry about at home. It's easier to stay home - or is it?

When we travel, even if it's somewhere like Leavenworth, we try to learn something. Sometimes it's just seeing people that don't look like us, or talk like us. Sometimes it's just to walk a different street and experience a different way of life. Sometimes - like this time - it was to discover that nature has built some wonders that even Disney hasn't been able to replicate. 

In Deception Falls (a fairly easy 1 mile hike), we all learned that the water is SO cold and the rocks and sand do such a good job of filtering the water that NOTHING will live in it. It's fresh and frigid and breath taking.

(We also learned that her legs are magically too tired when she's at the bottom of a hill or a staircase..)
I am always grateful that I can carry her, even now at 40 pounds and nearly 5 years old, around without much of a second thought.  

The hike a Deception Falls was one she did almost all of herself. She was afraid of the roar of the waterfalls for a while, but by the end, she was screaming, "THIS IS SO COOL!" I was also astounded. I've seen waterfalls before, but something about being so close to that one, that was rushing so fast, was just amazing. 

The hike we did the day before she wasn't really up for. She tried, but tired quickly (and the asthma flare up didn't help). I carried her nearly the entire way. 4 miles, about 2.5 hours - and some sights I'll not soon forget. 
My brother snapped this photo as The Impossible Girl and I walked on a bridge crossing a raging river. Summary of the trip is all right there in that photo.

We saw some amazing things - although no animals. It was hot and the middle of the day.

I would never have really considered taking a hiking vacation with The Impossible Girl at this age. Honestly, at this age, if it isn't Disneyland or a Disney related adventure, I don't think I would have bothered with taking her hiking. Camping with a 4 year old sounds like a special form of torture - trying to keep track of her while trying to set up camp.

But this was a great trip. She was a great traveler and was very excited about the whole adventure (and equally as excited to play with all of her toys at home when we returned).  I would never really had considered it, if it was just her and me - because being 'on' as mom doesn't end or really even change just because we change the scenery. But it did recharge my heart a bit. And maybe that's exactly what I didn't realize I needed. 

It was a much needed reminder that we can safely travel and marvel in the things out in it. ...
And follow it up with quite possibly the world's best ice cream...

This kind of trip may be a new summer time favorite. 

 It's not the kind of vacation where all the worries go away. (In fact, you're looking for things like bears constantly.) But it is the kind of trip that deepens our understanding of each other as well as the world around us. 

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