Yesterday was quite possibly one of the happiest days of my life. Annie, now 4 months old, is in love with the outdoors. In the evenings when she gets fussy and preoccupied with teething at home, I have learned that taking her out for a walk or to watch the rain or even just looking at the growing garden soothes her like nothing else. Earlier in the week we decided that if the weather looked good that we would try and take her out to the canyon to see how she would do. Our expectations were that we probably would not get to climb and that she may only last a couple of hours, but it seemed like it was time to start normalizing the wilderness experience. All week I mulled over the details. . . ‘maybe we should buy a little kid tent so we could have a place if the bugs were bad? . . . ‘what if she won’t be able to nap- she has a really hard time sleeping anywhere except her room? . . . ‘will she be hot, bored,scared? Should we bring toys for her? . . . ‘maybe she’s too little- are we being crazy parents for taking a baby in the woods? ‘. I packed and repacked, watched the forecast, tried to plan our travel times with her naptimes, etc.
And so yesterday, exactly a year after we first heard our baby’s heartbeat, we packed up the car and strapped our little girl in her car seat canyon-bound. She tolerated the drive alright for someone who likes to sit still about as much as she likes her immunizations. I rode in the back with her and entertained her with songs and bubbles and books- with my husband more amused than her by my antics to keep her happy. As soon as we got her out of the car and into her carrier for the hike in, she started this sweet cooing/singing that she started doing this past week. She sang happily all the way to the crag and had her happiest day yet.
After hanging out- touching trees and leaves and the rock, she nursed and fell asleep for one of her best naps to the lull of the nearby waterfall. She woke up in time to watch her mommy climb a few pitches and then had her toes dipped in the cool water coming off the falls. It was pretty warm, but she gladly hung out in just a diaper and stayed in the well shaded parts of the crag. She watched the bugs buzzing around and the leaves blowing and wiggled her toes in the dirt. We left around 5 when we ran out of shade.
As I sat at the base of the cliff, I started to realize how my worries were unfounded. Where better to sleep soundly? Watching her find calm and peace in our canyon, hallowed grounds for my husband and I, was beyond words. There is nothing crazy about bringing baby outside. And I savored the canyon like I never had. A year ago I would’ve been frustrated by the conditions (too hot, too muggy, all the hard routes were wet), too concerned about the numbers/the upcoming comp/getting a workout in. I would have missed the new leaves rolling out of their buds and the smell of the cool breeze. I enjoyed my old warm-up routes like they were new. Having been away from climbing for the better part of 6 months, I’m having to rely on technique and experience over strength. Climbing feels so good- and it’s peaceful and calm. No projects, no agenda, no expectations. I know I will get back in shape and get to the point where I’m ready for projecting or comps or pushing my limit, but for now I’m just going to look forward all week to our quiet, laid-back Saturdays at the crag. There’s that familiar cliché that we learn more from our children than the other way around, but I’m actually starting to believe it.