Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Acclimation. Or not.

One of us is apparently a natural desert dweller. The other just needs to get used to the strange skin moisture that accumulates after a few minutes of running. The desert lover started complaining less than 2 miles into the run this morning and didn't stop until well after I'd already showered. The other day that same humidity-loather completely refused to acknowledge me until we had stopped in our driveway. I keep warning my garmin that I'll replace him if he keeps up this constant whining-beeping-shutting down routine, but he just shuts his battery off and pretends not to hear. I had forgotten his finicky nature while living in the desert, where sweat appears as an instant salt encrustment, and it never looks as if you've been doused by a hose.

I'm relearning aspects of the southeast, like what clouds do, what mud is, how people talk, and that trees are there to bring shade. Love running under them! I'm wishing I still had some extra hemoglobin from those years of altitude training, but I'm afraid the 6 days completely off from exercise let me detrain enough for it not to be noticeable. After that sabbatical, I ran an 8 mile loop with steep but short hills. My poor legs thought they had retired from running, and complained mightily the next day when they were asked to ride a bike.

It's fun to explore a new place on foot or two wheels, and even after living within view of the Mississippi for many years, I get excited seeing the river here. There's so much water!

Hunter has done really well with all the changes. It was hard having that extra 26lbs velcroed to me for the 6 days that we went without Jeremy, and Hunter seemed just as relieved to see his daddy as I was. He loves his new house, as do his parents; he took off the first night into our bedroom and we found him lying on the floor with his feet up in the air just giggling.

So it's back to unpacking for now; I'm thankful we didn't have to pack any of it ourselves. The next few weeks will probably consist of unpacking, organizing, and getting a little training in for that triathlon Jeremy signed me up for.

Furniture shopping. Hunter gets comfortable.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Countdown

I could count in hours now how much longer we are here. Pretty exciting! I didn't do everything I wanted to do, but it's really ok. My life will be changing for the better with this move. I haven't fully expressed to anybody besides Jeremy just how hard it has been for me here. It was a little lonely at first, but working on base helped that, giving me something to do and people to be with. I was pregnant when my position's funding was taken away, so I spent a few months preparing for baby Hunter. When he came, we had the grandmothers and aunts and cousins out for a little while, and then it was just the three of us (with visitors occasionally spending a week or so). With Jeremy at work, a baby who hated (HATED) the carseat, and no family or friends that feel like family within 1000 miles, I was stuck at home feeling more isolated and lonely than I could've imagined while having a little one always with me. It was so so hard.

It's hard to get the village to help you raise your child when that village is made up of such transient people, which is just the lifestyle of the military. (Ok, ok, except for our nosy, eavesdropping, wears-nothing-but-gold-chains-and-jorts next-door neighbor, and our bird-poisoning neighbor across the street. They're both retired and have been here a while.) It seems nobody gets very attached to this temporary place or the people that go with it, since a move across the country is surely around the next corner. The military wife culture could easily take up its own lengthy post with all the rules and the social structure based on the husband's rank. As if we need more stratification in this world. But I really don't care enough to bother writing a post.

It's not that I just need time alone with Jeremy. We did have that hour bike ride when Hunter was 3 weeks old and his Nana was here. :) But having family around just to hang out with sounds like a dream. And when he is comfortable enough to stay with them, Jeremy and I will probably go for another bike ride as our next date. That's about as far as I've gotten with my dreaming but I know there's so much more excitement to come. Hunter and I will be there in 4 days!

We can't get there fast enough! Hunter's newly realized speed is demonstrated below. He's so proud of himself. But please disregard his destination! :)

video

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Yosemite

Having some vacation days left before his terminal leave, Jeremy was able to take three days off for us to make a long weekend trip to Yosemite National Park, a beautiful and dramatic, and very popular, oasis in the Sierras Nevada mountains. Our travel out there did not go as planned, thanks to US Air having "mechanical issues" on not just one, but both of our flights: to Phoenix and Fresno. We ended up getting to Fresno 7 hours later than planned, and we were well past midnight getting to our cabin in Wawona. Poor Jeremy had to drive very windy, dark, unfamiliar roads for a good hour, way past our bedtimes. He was a champ, as was Hunter. I would have never imagined just 6 months ago that I would enjoy traveling with Hunter so much. I was much worse behaved in the airport than my baby was.

After traveling most of the day Thursday, we spent almost all of Friday in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, after an indulgent breakfast buffet that we ended up having all four mornings at a nearby resort. We got there after our late breakfast, and Hunter was asleep by the time we hopped a quick shuttle to the grove. We recently bought an Ergo carrier, so I packed him up with a hood on, and we walked uphill for a couple of miles, wandering through 2000 year old sequoias. I felt like a miniature person around those giant trees, and I mentioned to Jeremy that visiting giant trees while living in the desert is perfect timing. I am impressed by just the smallest pines -- the ones whose trunks are a mere 5 feet in diameter. One particular branch of a giant sequoia was 7 feet in diameter. It was apparently an exhausting day; Hunter slept 14 hours straight after that, which is just shy of his PR.

 Sleeping in the Ergo


 For some reason, he just wanted to lie on the ground and look up at the trees!

Saturday it was time to venture into Yosemite Valley, after I took a little jog by Chilnaulna Falls and the adjoining Merced river trail. We parked and hopped a shuttle to Yosemite Falls, where we played under the blooming dogwoods and got misted on by the falls.


Next we trekked over to the Happy Isles, lying in the middle of the rushing Merced River. Finding a calm little bay area to get wet in was exactly what Hunter needed. Then he needed a change of clothes!


Sunday, I went for a run in the other direction from our cabin and found a trail going up up up the mountain. It became very remote very quickly, which isn't  hard to do in Wawona. They do scheduled burns there, and the scent in the air was of charred pines. That along with the morning fog and blacked tree stumps gave it an eery quality.



I ran about 3/4 of a mile uphill (later to find it was ~350 feet in that distance-- no wonder I was so slow), then turned around before I could find any wildlife. I know I'm a little obsessed with mountain lions, but there are frequent sightings in Wawona, and I happened upon a nice track on the way back. Can you see it?



Hunter fell asleep in the car on the way to the Valley, so we detoured up to Glacier Point, which was just recently opened for the spring, since most of the snow has melted. Amazing views surrounded us, as did a crazy person who climbed to ridiculously dangerous spots to take pictures (he offered to take one of us while up there, so we of course allowed it -- I later joked with his wife that it might be a famous last picture after  he fell to his death thousands of feet below -- thankfully we saw him later in the park on solid low ground). We loved seeing the vast valley carved by a glacier thousands of feet below. I mostly looked from a distance and let Jeremy take the pictures.

Based on Hunter's hand placement, I believe it was almost snack time.


After stopping near the tunnel on the highway for a lower view, then hiking to and getting soaked at Bridalveil falls,






we drove back down to the valley and spent a while in a beautiful meadow next to El Capitan, the largest unobstructed granite face in the world. People were climbing it, which I realized, with my slight fear of heights, that I have zero desire to do.


Give me a stick or some rocks, and I am happy!


It was a beautiful trip in every way, from the scenery to the happy baby to the cool cabin in the woods. It was just too short, as vacations tend to be.

 A nice place to ponder in Wawona just before we leave.