Monthly Archives: July 2013

Mount Massive

Mount Massive is huge! Well the landmass under it that is. Mt. Massive is the third highest mountain in the lower 48 (behind nearby Elbert and Mt. Whitney in California), though it is the second largest mountain in North America behind only Denali, in Alaska, nearly 6,000’ higher. We rolled into Leadville and needed to decide our plan of attack. We only had one day and it came down to Massive or Elbert. Although Elbert is higher (by a couple feet) Massive seemed to be calling. As we looked at our possible routes, the trailheads were only about 2 ½ miles apart, I wanted to go up one side, down the other, and have Seth run and grab the van when we were done so we would get to see both sides of the mountain. Perfect!

We decided to take the shorter route up, just four miles but all the climbing in it, sounds like a good plan right? The drive from the lower trailhead was a little crazy but luckily we drive a super van. We got up to the trailhead in the afternoon, made dinner while the little people played in the creek, and went to bed in the van.

 

Sometimes you cook for 7 people on a JetBoil, no big deal.

Sometimes you cook for 7 people on a JetBoil, no big deal.

 

For some reason we usually are late starting up the mountain. This is aside from once when I made banana bread the night before Redcloud. I believe we started up around 9, Tenny on my back, Tru on Seth’s, and a pack on both of our fronts. The beginning of the hike was super pretty in the trees but quickly we were exposed on a boulder field, and for me things became interesting. The big three were far out in front and Seth and I kept having to ask them to wait for us to keep up. Here’s the secret: THEY WERE PLAYING! They had just spent a ton of time with an awesome new family/ little friend in Silverton. She loves horses and she really sparked our kids’ interest in them. They all began reading and learning as much as they could about horses, to the point that the entire way up and down Massive they were “riding” their horses. Let me tell you, this was the best motivator ever for Tay. Usually he bonks 1-1 ½ hours in. That was not the case this time! They were all in front the entire way, and although that was amazing, it was also frustrating for me.

IMG_1158

A ride on Momma's back! She ended up loosing that Buff... my favorite one.. book!

A ride on Momma’s back! She ended up loosing that Buff… my favorite one.. book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This intense climb with a pack and a 30lb toddler on my back, plus the added pressure of my oldest three killing me on the climb, was stressful for me. About half way up Tenny was in my ear asking repeatedly when she could walk. I finally said “now” and put her on the ground. I secretly thought she would be tired in 10 minutes and back on my back for a nap and I would have won. I mean, we are climbing over rocks, what three year old can last?! Apparently mine when she wants to spite me! She marched on and we lost Seth and the big three… ummm… where are we?

Fast people!

Fast people!

The "Slow Ladies"

The “Slow Ladies”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used my poles to help direct her to the next boulder and to help make sure she didn’t fall, but at a couple of points I lost the trail. With no Seth in sight we ladies were on our own. To be honest, I didn’t trust myself to find the way. At one point a marmot sat in our way on the trail refusing to move. We stood back staring at it hoping it would scurry away but it wasn’t willing! I threw a rock in its direction and it stayed. Tenny asked “does it want to bite us Mommy?” I think it did! I threw another rock and off it went. Thank goodness! They also have white marmots up there which Tenny thought was pretty amazing.

A friend!

A friend!

Not a friend...

Not a friend…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a while Tenny and I turned a corner to see all the big ones plus Tru sitting on the trail, alone. Ummm??? Apparently Seth had headed up to try and see if the weather was going to turn. The weather on 14’ers can change quickly and be really dangerous. It was starting to look a little gloomy but being that we were on the west side we could not see the weather coming from the east. We all sat and had a little snack until Seth came down and informed up he thought we could make it. Perfect! Onward and upward!

The crazy gang!

The crazy gang!

 

 

Along the way we saw a mountain goat, which was pretty awesome for everyone. We all happily trudged along eventually hitting the summit for some awesome views! Little Tenny had just hiked almost 2,000 vertical feet and as she said “Mommy this is real rock climbing!” This little girl is amazing! We only spend a few minutes on the summit since the weather far to the North of us was looking a little crazy and the lightning off in the distance did not make me feel too stellar. Hiking down was harder for Tenny, but we made it down to the trail to the lower summit with her tripping the entire way. I could tell she was tired so I put her back on my back (with her pleading to stay on the ground) and within minutes she was asleep. Rough life.

 

All those fast people ahead of us!

All those fast people ahead of us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boys on the summit!

Boys on the summit!

 

Girls on the summit!

Girls on the summit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The way down the children continued to play happily and Seth and I tried to keep the pace up, afraid of it becoming dark and of the weather turning on us.  Tenny woke up and got back off my back to “run 50 miles”. The trail on this side is pretty tame so I didn’t mind too much but we had to encourage her to keep up. Eventually we ran into my +1 (stalker!) and he joined us for the rest of the way down. At some point +1, Tenny, and I were pretty far behind and I had a mommy intuition to throw her on my back, which she again did not agree with. We picked up the pace and right as we hit the trailhead it began to hail, hard. My +1 drives a truck so there was no way to send everyone with him. I told Seth to take the babies and he, the babies, and my +1 went flying up the crazy road to the van.

IMG_1172 photo-44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heading down

Heading down

The big three and I were in pain. They hail was unrelenting and we ended up taking shelter under a short tree which didn’t help much (there was no lightning and the tree was the smallest in the forest, don’t judge!). Somehow Tay’s The North Face shell did not make it into his Camelbak before we started, so he was wearing my not-so-amazing jacket and I was wearing fleece. It was cold! Eventually the hail stopped and it was just rain so we stood in the middle of the parking lot waiting huddled together. This is where our talk about marriage came up (      ).

 

My +1 literally came flying down the road and I stripped the kids of jackets and threw them in his truck. It took Seth longer since he had to put the babies in their seats, so they waited for him somewhere a little warmer. Once he came, we got them all down to their underwear and in their seats in the van. No hypothermia here! Of course a short drive down the road the rain stopped and the sky was blue again. Got to keep it interesting for us!

Suckers for an awesome view! Somewhere near the top, always worth it!

Suckers for an awesome view! Somewhere near the top, always worth it!

 

What we learned:

-To be thankful for +1 showing up and the hailing waiting for us to get off the mountain

-Double check the kids’ shell is always in their Camelbak

-The babies do not like hail, at all

-Mount Massive has beautiful views!

-We eat a lot of nutrition/snacks when climbing 14’ers

 

Why we hike 14ers.

Why we hike 14ers.

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Categories: Our Homeless Summer | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

If you want to be a real Bully

Say it to my face.

I’m pretty sure that old Mommy mantra “If you don’t have anything nice to say” should be brought back. Why do people get so up in arms about the choices others make? The only real conclusion I can come to is jealously. It’s like little Timmy pulling Jenny’s pigtails, he likes her. Or when all the “cool girls” make fun of the girl that happily plays by herself, they are insecure and need each other to feel “OK”.  There is a great children’s book called “Have You Filled a Bucket Today” It talks about how everyone has an invisible bucket that they themselves fill and others fill when they are kind to them. It also talks about bucket dippers, those sad people who are mean to others thinking they will fill their own buckets, but it never work. So all you bucket dippers, take a step back and figure out why you are so unhappy. Shoot, I’ll help you!

First and foremost, making fun of my son’s long hair is not OK. He is a child. Yes he is a little boy with long hair, is that wrong? He loves his hair and is happy, that is all I ask. Let’s think back to the 70’s when all the bands had long hair, did we call them girls? How about native American men who choose to stick with their culture and keep their hair long, is that wrong? Bullying a 10 year old (even though is cyber bullying and he does not see it) is just wrong. Does it make you feel better about yourself to put him down? Are you jealous because society tells you how to live and you wish you could be free and live how you want? He is smart, kind, loving, fun, an avid reader, and a happy kid. He happens to enjoy his hair long. If you genuinely can not tell he is a boy, please take a look at other context clues. He wears “boy” clothing while both my girls are dressed very “girl”. So please remember when making fun of him for having long hair that he is a child, you are an adult, behave like one.

Yes we call our son the “drunk frat boy”, it’s funny.  He behaves in the same way any 2 year old does, like a drunk frat boy. Seriously, lets all calm down here. Toddlers are funny as they are learning their place in the world around them, remember the terrible two’s? I have learned in my 10 years and parenting 15 children, you have to laugh. You have to find someway to deal with the crazy things your kids throw at you. Tru is very much learning the way of the world and his place as the youngest of 5. He is learning to use his words instead of screaming for what he wants, he is learning patience and that things don’t always happen as fast as he wants. He is learning that things don’t always go his way. There are funny things he does, and if you really think about it he is like a drunk frat boy. The amazing thing about this blog is, if you don’t like it you don’t have to read it.

In general saying mean things about others is wrong. Feel free to read my blog to judge me, but just think for a minute about where your judgement comes from. I have done all my research, been a parent to 15 children throughout the years, and I believe in my choices. Tajh and Tea both attend an amazing private school that they tested into. They are smart, well read, social, and a joy to be around. The moral of this is, judge me if that makes you feel better, but attacking my children is cruel and unkind.

Categories: Parenting | Tags: , , , , | 16 Comments

Super Van Down

Like the bad kind…Poor Supervan…

So I know I have a lot to recap, some fun things having been going on prior to the demise of Supervan. For now though I’m going to fill you in on the chaos. Priorities!

Saturday after the race (that the kids wrecked!) we left the beautiful Ashland, Oregon and headed toward Redwood Forest National Park. From the get go the van was feeling a little funky, but in true “we are homeless lets just go for it/live dangerously fashion” I told Seth to keep rolling. Around 9pm we were in the middle of the forest and things seemed a little funkier, plus we needed to sleep, so we pulled off at an information center. Upon opening the hood we were greeted with black liquid, everywhere… Awesome…

Before we left for our summer homeless adventure I made a point of getting premier membership AAA. I thought “Hey, if shit hits the fan we will be covered. 200 miles free towing is perfect no mater where we are!” Ha… I think I jinxed us! So silly me assumed that would also mean all my people could get to where the van was headed. Alas, as in any good chaos story, I was wrong. The tow truck would only take two people and they wouldn’t cover transportation for any of the rest of us. So, Seth and Tea headed with the tow truck for a two hour drive (sounds a little Gilligan’s Island-ish to me) and Tajh, Tay, Tru, Ten, and I sat at the information center and waited.

Bye bye Super Van

Bye bye Super Van

 

My phone was almost fully charged when they left but between it being an iPhone that doesn’t hold a charge, and my +1 texting me to find out what was going in, it ended up dying a little over three hours in. At this point I knew: 1) Sitting around with four kids and no caffeine sucks 2) My previous/present injury hurts so hiking anywhere was not an option 3) This two hour trip turned into three and Seth was just now in Eureka with no ETA on return, and 4) I needed a nap!

 

I took this time to teach the little 2 to play baseball... clearly they still need some work...

I took this time to teach the little 2 to play baseball… clearly they still need some work…

Funny thing is, the information center closed at 5:00pm. So basically it was just people stopping to us the restroom and then this random lady off to the side with four children. Only one person questioned this and asked if we needed help. This Mom, Dad, and teenager daughter sat at a picnic table nearby and ate dinner as we did the same. They packed everything up and drove over to the bathroom in the 1980’s beat up Suburban. As I’m cleaning a kid I see the Mom walking back over to me. When she gets closer I hear “Excuse me Ma’am, you aren’t stranded here with your children are you”? I explained my situation and thanked her greatly. Just one of those random moments you remember there are good people in the world.

 

Back to this waiting thing. Eventually, who knows what time, I get Tru to sleep in my arms. It’s really getting cold at this point and as I sit in the grass holding him the mosquito’s are swarming around us. Almost seven hours later I see the glow of a stark white rental minivan. Never have I been so happy! We got everyone in the rental van and headed back toward Eureka. We were all able to sleep in the van so we spent the night in a pull-off by the ocean, a great place to wake up to!

We all fit! Kinda...

We all fit! Kinda…

 

Our poor Supervan needs a new transmission. Of course it would be something serious, gotta keep things crazy, right? So now we sit in Eureka waiting. Hopefully it will be done tomorrow night and we can get on with our adventures. We have places to go Supervan!

Sad sad Lady she is. See you soon Super Van!

Sad sad Lady she is. See you soon Super Van!

Categories: Our Homeless Summer | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Because things must always stay “interesting”

So we left Silverton (with many tears shed by me), and moved on to Leadville. Oh wait, scratch that, headed to Denver to get me some new shoes. I have been hiking in super old New Balance 730’s (since I haven’t been running, I convinced myself I didn’t need knew shoes) and decided the lack of tread needed to be addressed before another crazy mountain and I met. So Denver it is with some delicious food mixed in for sure.

 

First stop was the super amazingly fancy REI. Seriously I think I’m going to live in this place. My plan is to sleep during the day in one of the kayaks and come out at night. Play dress up for hours on end while no one is there and eat some delicious food until the wee hours of the morning when I go back to my kayak home. Don’t tell so someone else steals my plan! Anyway… Awesome time there. Love me some REI and put a rock wall in the middle and I’m a super happy lady. No shoes for me here, on the next place.

 

Found a running store called Runners Roost and just grabbed some New balance 110’s. Not super stoked on them but guess they will work. We then headed to this little Thai place to grab dinner. I love me some Happy Cow (awesome website dedicated to helping you find Vegan grub) and especially love little hole in the wall restaurants they bring us to.

 

So we hit up this super cute little place and ate vegetables, yes VEGETABLES! Being in Silverton for over a month where everything straight from a plant is super expensive it was so nice to gorge ourselves again. On to the point, as we ate we noticed Tru was not using his left arm. His water was in the fairly large Styrofoam cup and he needed help moving it to his mouth. No amount of prompting or bribing could get him to use it. Damn… after finishing dinner (where we were of course praised many times for how well behaved our kids are) Seth and I tried playing with him outside. Poor little boy cried because he couldn’t use his arm to get up from a sitting position. Hospital time it is.

 

Luckily we live in the awesome ultra running community. We had two great ladies willing to come to a random hotel and watch our bigger four so Seth and I could take our sad little man to the hospital.  We chose the awesome Lady closest to us (thanks Shawna!) bid and hasty goodbye to the other four, and headed out after 9pm to the children’s hospital in Aurora. Apparently it’s a popular place at that time.. ugh…

 

A digression- We lovingly refer to Tru at home as “Drunk Frat boy” because:

-His speech is slurred, if you can understand him at all.

-He often wanders around with only one shoe on

-He falls, balance is not his thing

-He wakes up in the gutter, well not really but often he throws tantrums that appear like he has

-He has random bouts with violent aggression

-He throws stuff, anything really

-He is a hot mess

 

See, Drunk Frat Boy. I mean, he is just making sure he is well prepared for his future as one. Luckily for him his drunk Frat Boyness will be at an Ivy League school, gotta make his Momma proud!

 

His first hospital bracelet for an injury!

His first hospital bracelet for an injury!

So alas, Seth stayed with us at the hospital until Midnight then headed back to the hotel to let Shawna go home. Tru and I continued to wait as his serious hoodlum behaviors came out. Really kid? It’s MIDNIGHT!!! Even without the use of his arm he managed to be a crazy little guy. Eventually we got called back. The doctor diagnosed it at Nursemaids elbow (which we had assumed), and moved his arm around putting all those silly ligaments back into place. Nurses came in to check vitals again and Tru was not having it. Apparently at 1am after a doctor has just caused you great pain in is acceptable to kick nurses… sigh… I honestly just couldn’t be mad, poor little guy. So nurses left and it took FOREVER for the doctor to come back. Someone please explain to my why a CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL does not have everything child-proofed? I was exhausted and could not close my eyes since this little guy was running in circles opening every drawer.

Mom this is serious!

Mom this is serious!

Just kidding!

Just kidding!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hind sight-

Isn’t it funny how you question things as they are happening but they don’t make sense until after?

 

At REI I had put Tru on a bear statue with the other kids. Normally this would be a fun activity, but he kept crying whenever Tay would put his arms around him. This Mommy thought “goodness why is he being such a punk right now?”

Tru not having fun.

Tru not having fun.

 

As we got out of the car at REI Seth pulled Tru out of his car seat and set him on the step of the van, like normal. I remember Tru crying and grabbing his arm. Again I remember thinking “Why is he being such a punk?”

 

So as Seth pulled him out something was funky and his ligaments in his elbow got all pulled out of whack. Nothing crazy happened, just another normal moment that for some reason went awry.

 

The best part of the evening was when the male doctor came in, Tru happily gave him a high five with both hands, and we were sent home. With the promise that this will probably happen again… I guess kid number 5 just wants some extra attention so we will find ourselves in a hospital room getting it popped back into place probably again and again with this daredevil. Yup, My Drunk Frat Boy had his first dislocated joint. Such a proud Momma!

Best part about going to the hospital? You get to play with you sisters baby all night and no one stops you!

Best part about going to the hospital? You get to play with you sisters baby all night and no one stops you!

This is what you look like at 2:30am we you are FINALLY leaving the hospital! Guess he enjoyed his evening!

This is what you look like at 2:30am we you are FINALLY leaving the hospital! Guess he enjoyed his evening!

 

Categories: Our Homeless Summer | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

My kids and My +1

I believe that Seth and I have similar feelings on our children and the relationships and interactions that we have with our +1’s, but for the purpose of not stepping on any toes, I will speak for myself here.

 

The idea that my children don’t have two partners together has been a hard one for me. Despite how it may look like from the outside, I am very conservative in my family values. Now, I don’t believe children are doomed if they do not have the picture-perfect family life, I just had a picture in my head of my children having their parents together. So, now that things must be reevaluated, I had to take a very long look at what example I want to set for them. The conclusion I came to is simple, unless something is a “for sure” i.e. an engagement and wedding planning, my children do not need to know anything.  Many people thought I was crazy (the usual) but so far (knock on wood) its been going well.

 

My +1 and I have been together for over 18 months (with a breather in there somewhere). I remember growing up having many adults around that were not a part of my family, and some of them even were referred to as “aunt” and “uncle”. To me it was never odd or different; they were just extra big people in my life that cared about me. My children, especially in the ultra running world, have the same. Just tons of adult friends who care about the kids and enjoy their company, its pretty awesome to see. So, to my kids, my +1 is just another one of those big people. Granted he is around a lot more than the others, and Mommy does go with him to help when he is racing (which they always giggle about him needing Mommy to “take care of him”), but they don’t have any nefarious thoughts on the subject. Quite honestly, I attribute that to the fact that my kids are fairly innocent. They are not overly sexualized, talking about kissing, boyfriend/girlfriends, and other inappropriate stuff, they are just kids. So to my advantage, this has definitely worked. Also the fact that +1 and I do not touch or kiss in front of them is probably a huge help! I do hug my male friends, but I don’t want one day down the road for my kids to have an AH-HA moment and put the puzzle together if they shouldn’t be. So alas, here we are, +1 is an awesome big person friend.

 

After our Mount Massive summit, shit hit the fan. I’ll save that ridiculous story for our blog about the trip, but just picture the big three and I huddled together for warmth as painful hail pummels us. We chat away trying to distract ourselves from the uncomfortableness and they bring up an adult lady friend of theirs and her boyfriend. I correct them and say her “fiancé” and explain that means they will be getting married soon. After the usual 200 questions about said impending marriage, to which I had no answers, the discussion turned to me and the fact that one day I will be getting married. We have talked before about how I could never love anyone that did not love them and we once again talked about how that would always be the case. At some point Tajh (Tajh of all kids!) giggled a little, looks up at me and says

 

“You should marry +1”

 

I am at this moment completely caught off guard and can only muster “oh really?”

 

“Yeah Mom, it would be cool. Tru would be confused if it was someone else and he would just stare at him, but he likes +1! Plus then he would really be a part of our family, I mean, he already is kinda, but he really would be!”

 

Then they all started talking about how much he likes them and how cool it would be. After a couple minutes the subject changed and we all moved on. Honestly though, how sweet is that? The pureness there is what makes children so special. “He loves us, we love him, you should marry him!” Oh my little people!

 

I truly value marriage and I hope that my children grow up, find who they are suppose to spend the rest of their lives with and are able to. But if that’s not in the cards for them, if they choose a different path, I will support them as well. My dream might not be theirs, and that really is okay. For now I’m going to stick with my rules and see where things head for me. Now that we know what my little people want…

 

Categories: Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homeless life is exhausting

Now don’t get my wrong, I honestly LOVE being homeless. I think being homeless by yourself, or with a partner could be pretty cool. No agenda, no real plans, the fly by the seat of your pants approach to life is great. Having a bunch of kids makes it tiring.

No T.V. to put them in front of so you can “relax”

No couch to “take a break” on

All the elements that cause added stress (e.g. rain, hail, anything causing them to be inside)

Cooking all 3 meals plus snacks (there is no easy way out here)

Dishes being done by hand after every meal (I don’t want to be eaten by a bear)

Clothing being washed in the creek or at a Laundromat

Always being vigilant in order to be sure the children don’t fall off a mountain/eat something that will poison them/get eaten by something

Basically there is no escaping hard work when you are homeless with kids. Breaks don’t come like they do when you live in a house. I am tired all day, every day. I need a nap, I need some down time, I need to watch some terrible television and veg out, and I wouldn’t change any of that for the world! What I am learning about myself, my children, and that weird guy that keeps following us everywhere, Seth, is worth all the exhaustion that can be thrown at me. May I suggest you try homelessness too?

Disclaimer- I am talking about homelessness by choice. Before you get all huffy about how being homeless because you have to be and how “there is nothing fun in that” and how I am “terrible for implying that anyone should be homeless”, I understand homelessness because you have to be is terrible. I understand there is nothing fun about that. So, now you can’t yell at me!

Categories: Our Homeless Summer | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Handies and The Terrible No Good Very Bad Day.

Last summer, when we were visiting Silverton for a few days, we tried, and failed, to hike Handies Peak. Here is how it went from both of our perspectives.

 

We left Silverton right after breakfast. As we were driving out of town, we were relying on my quick look at a map of the area and Sabrina and Paulette’s memory of having driven to Grouse Gulch, the start of our hike up Handies, during Hardrock over a month prior. We ended up taking the wrong road out of Silverton and wasted quite a bit of time before we realized where we should have been. We got to the Grouse Gulch Trail Head around late morning.

KIds and Nature

Kids and Nature

 

As we started up the trail, a series of long switchbacks, the kids quickly started to feel the elevation and the hike. We had made it up the switchbacks and about three quarters of the way up to the American Basin-Grouse Gulch Pass when a break became absolutely necessary. Several kids were bonking hard. We stopped at a small glacial lake that had a rock outcropping to shield us from the building wind and had snacks. Nourished and rested, we headed up the rest of the way to the pass, which tops out above 13,000’, which would end up being our highest elevation for the day.

Seth and Tenny looking amazing!

Seth and Tenny looking amazing!

 

Snack time.

Snack time.

During our hike up, Sabrina’s stress fracture hadn’t seemed to inhibit her greatly. The kids were moving slowly and the lower impact of uphill travel did not seem to be affecting her too much. As we started down into American Basin, things started to turn to shit. The boys took off down into the basin and within minutes were several hundred yards in front of us. I tried to stay back with Sabrina to help, but trying to keep up and the impact of keeping her footing moving downhill produced visible winces of pain in her face. We regrouped at the bottom of the basin and started our climb up Handies, now nearly 2,000’ above us. This quickly proved to be too much. On top of this, it started to hail. Fucking great. Sabrina sat down and we all put on our rain shells. This is the point that the day turned from a poorly executed hike to a total failure.

Sabrina still feeling "OK"

Sabrina still feeling “OK”

 

From the moment I got out of the van it was a disaster. I was my usual self trying to get everything done and in the rush slipped out of the van causing some ridiculous pain in my facture area… oops. Not being willing to admit failure, I strapped Tru on my stomach and threw the pack on my back. I’ve never hiked with poles but thought possibly this could relieve some weight from my leg and gave it a go, not too gracefully. As Seth said the up hill was fine, down I was just hoping to not cause a full fracture. My careful steps still hurt and how slow I was going began to scare me more and more. At some point I knew this was going to get terrible, I just wish I had known how terrible it could get.

 

Sabrina couldn’t get back up. She was either in shock, or early hypothermia from sitting down and having her body temp plummet in the now quickly worsening wind and hail/rain. The decision was made for me to run across Cinnamon Pass to see if the route would be possible in the van. This would prevent Sabrina from having to climb back up and over the pass and down Grouse Gulch. From where we were in the basin, it was only about a mile to the American Basin Trail Head. As I ran over Cinnamon Pass, I realized that this would be a real challenge to get the van back over. I also realized that with the worsening weather, the near impossibility of getting Sabrina back over the pass which we had crossed, and the much longer trip over Cinnamon Pass than I had anticipated, I had no choice but to drive back over. I finally reached the van maybe seven miles from where I had started, and at least an hour longer than I had estimated (I had guessed the pass to be three to four miles). I got in the van, turned the key, and the bane of my existence, the gas light, flicked on with three quick chimes. My heart sank. Not only would I have to make it over Cinnamon Pass, I would have to hope like hell I didn’t run out of gas in the process. The first side of the pass was sketchy, but not too stressful in our 15-passenger van. As a tangent, our van is built on a truck chassis, but at the time, we had some pretty suspect tires for what I was trying to pull off. Since, we have put commercial-grade off-road tires on the van to help ensure we are prepared for our adventures. Anyhow, the second half of the pass is where the day became truly terrifying for me. Our 15-passenger van, though it is built on a truck chassis, and has decent ground clearance, is still a 15-passenger van. It is really long. Trying to navigate the worst hairpin turns I have ever encountered in my life, as the van is making all kinds of noises indicating that it is about to break under the stress that I am putting it through, while trying not to look off the edge of the road that drops a thousand feet to the dabin below only a few inches away from where I am maneuvering six-point turns still sends chills down my spine. Somehow, both the van and I made it down the road to the American Basin Trail Head, passing Jeepers with their jaws on the floor at the sight of what this jackass in a 15-passenger van was trying to pull off.

 

So Paulette, myself, and 6 kids sat. Paulette and I sat very close together huddling for warmth as the hail/rain continued on and off. The kids quite surprisingly and to our benefit played happily most of the time. Tru even stayed  pretty silent maybe sencing the same thing Paulette and I were feeling. The conversation with us was kept to mundane topics. As time drew on it was later discovered that we were thinking the same thing, there was no way it took this long, something terrible happened. I watched the small amount of cars leave the trailhead and the daylight slowly go away, what were we going to do? Could we hitch a ride with someone? Not knowing what the road out looked like I wondered how terrible it would be to take all the kids sans carseats out of here. At what point would we have cell phone reception again and be able to call seth, my +1, anyone for help? The thoughts stayed terrible but neither of us talked about them…

 

I parked the van below the 4WD point for the trail head access road. Both to get my feet back on solid ground and to preserve what little gas we had left. I had been gone hours longer than I had told Sabrina and Paulette that I would be at this point. As I ran the road the rest of the way to where they were waiting, the looks on their face puzzled me, at first. They started to yell “Where is the van??”. It hadn’t occurred to me that approaching on foot would scare them. It was nearly dark. I told them that the van was just down the road. I also suggested that Cinnamon Pass wasn’t the road that I would suggest for us getting back to Silverton. They agreed. At this point, I the gravity of what I had just pulled off sunk in and I almost started to cry. That was the scariest shit I have ever done.

 

Paulette and I basically freaked when he came on foot. After he described his journey we were happy to take the 4 hour drive around and we shared our fear of him being dead all around. Im pretty sure he was not the only one that cried, that day was probably the most emotional day of all of our lives. So today Handies and I have a beef. Although I may be healing from a stress fracture (undiagnosed from before the trip) I am ready to finish what we started last year. Hopefully with no Cinnamon Pass stories this time!

 

Categories: Our Homeless Summer | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silly Judgy People!

So I came to this awesome little place in Silverton to work and the little ones needed a nap (big 2 are running with Seth). So here I sit, little 2 in car seats and Tay in the front playing. 

This is my view:

Image

I left the windows up for 5 minutes or so waiting for them to actually be asleep before I let in a ton of noise, good plan right? Well of course nosey old lady decides to inform me it is hot in my van. Mind you we are in Silverton, Colorado, not Phoenix! My van is huge on the inside so never heats up too terribly, and it’s white! Ugh… She informed me she would not like to be in there, I thanked her and continued to do my work. (I did roll down the windows once Tru was asleep and no one was sweaty or uncomfortable) 

This is just a giant reminder that people always think they know better than you. Not too long ago Tajh and Tea and their running was posted about on Facebook. Plenty of people had kind comments while there were some angry people. Apparently I am living through my kids, forcing them to run, and they are going to end up getting burnt out on running so I am a terrible Mother. ugh… I couldn’t help but laugh as I read these comments. Children are raised in all different ways, who is to say one way is better than another? I might have some crazy hippie ideas on how to handle my children, but I have to say I get tons of compliments. Honestly, to each their own. I try to not get too bent out of shape about the evil comments and bask in the awesome ones. I even say thank you when I get the occasional “God Bless”.

 

Categories: Our Homeless Summer, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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