Tuesday, January 01, 2008

First Day of a Brand New Year

Ken, Ruby, Zane, and I started 2008 with the First Day Hike at the Blue Hills. I've done this hike almost every year since Ruby was a baby in a pouch on my chest. Last year, it was really yucky weather so we didn't go.

When Ken and I went to pick up Ruby and Zane at John's house this morning, the snow was just starting to fall. The kids were bleary eyed and whiny after staying up until 1am. (I don't think I stayed up to ring in the new year until I was at least 12. Apparently that age has decreased to 4 and 8 at John's house. Grrr.) I think no one but me would have been disappointed if we bagged the First Day Hike this year, but I've become a bit superstitious. Last year, we didn't go on the hike and I was diagnosed with MS. Coincidence? Perhaps...perhaps not. I'm not taking any chances. I may have a chronic and progressive brain disease, but it could be worse. I could be struck down with female pattern baldness or a really nasty case of athlete's foot. Could you imagine? I'd have to start a blog about what it's like to accept having no hair and itchy feet and trying to focus on the positive. No thanks!

Back to today. So, we got to the Blue Hills, donned our snow pants, ski gloves, hats, etc. and hung out at with the free chicken noodle soup and the campfire until the hike started. We saw Yoga Teacher Nancy, old classmates from Ruby's first child care center, friends and neighbors, a barn owl, and petted a gazillion dogs.

The Houghton's Pond First Day Hike is actually 3 hikes of different levels of ability. All the hikes are led by rangers and volunteers. We do the family hike around Houghton's Pond. One of our rangers was a woman named Barb with a beard. Not like, "Boy she needs a waxing" beard. Ranger Barb had a little, groomed, grayish beard under her lip. I think this kind of goatee without the mustache beard is called a Van Dyke but I'm not sure. (Swear to God I am not kidding and/or making some homophobic slur!) I'm guessing Barb was transgender but I didn't ask. She was very friendly and seemed to enjoy watching Zane drag his stick until we took our 4th break in the first 1/4 mile and she walked on ahead.

The family hike is only about a mile long. I think it took us about an hour and a half to finish. There was snow, woods, beautiful views of the pond, games of I Spy, much whining, a piggy back ride, several angels in the snow, a bit of crabby snapping on my part (yelling-lite so I didn't COMPLETELY break my resolution on Day 1 of the new year), singing, a half-finished A to Z gratitude list, snowballs, and really, really fast descents down the snow-covered slide on the playground.

After our post-hike chicken noodle soup at the picnic tables, we went back to Ken's house to warm up. (Ken was the only one who didn't have snow pants and a waterproof hat for the hike and he was very cold and very wet.) When we got to Ken's, we put all the clothes in the dryer, turned on PBS Kids, and had a smorgasbord of snacks. Cookies, sorbet and sushi (the grownups' leftover New Year's Eve dinner), salami, juice, cheese, apples, chocolate--you name it, my kids ate it. Matt and his cousin Jimmy were there, too, although they spent most of the time we were there in Matt's room (although they were nice enough to let Zane come in when he repeatedly knocked on the door looking for Matt's light-up Spiderman mask).

All and all it was a fab New Years Day.

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