Thursday, March 19, 2009

ski adventure to scottish lakes...

We survived our back-country ski adventure to Scottish Lakes, and I have to say, it was really fun. That said, I think that the managed expectations helped a bit, since how I pictured this trip was really me huddling in a lean-to with my three shivering kids and then every few hours hiking through the snow to a smelly outhouse.

So, it was much, much better than that.
Friday was a beautiful day to cross-country ski and it was warm enough to ski in our t-shirts. The kids managed wonderfully for the first two miles up the trail. Samuel scooted on ahead with his friend, Micah, and Tali trudged on up in her skiis, despite the fact that she's never cross-country skiied in her life. And Naomi promptly just fell asleep the moment she got zipped up in the pulk.

But then the kids remembered that we didn't have time to stop for lunch before getting to the trailhead, that I'd somehow neglected to realize that we needed a packed lunch, and we quickly ate through the snacks I'd bought at the last gas station stop. The hike got long and after a couple of hours, Tali was finished. Boaz added her to the pulk and pulled her along for a little longer and then we were rescued when more friends on snowmobiles took her up the rest of the way with them.

Much to my surprise, the cabins were very, very warm with the wood burning stoves and we even had to open our windows at night when the ten of us went to bed in our lofts. (Yes, ten.) Our hosts were lovely and we all ate dinner in a shared lodge.
But skiing the next day, I realized what it was that makes people ski uphill for miles to a place where you get no privacy, tromp in snow to your knees to pee in an outhouse, and hot tub in the snow. With a lot of kids. Oh right, and hang out in unseasonally blizzardy conditions.

It was amazing to ski in a place where even though there were trail markers, there were no tracks. The kids called the woods, "The Spooky Forest" but really only because they'd hardly experienced anyplace that was so untouched by marketing and consumerism. You could tell they were thrilled and terrified at the same time. And free. They could run outside and sled for hours, or go from cabin to cabin by themselves and we knew they were safe. And they loved the independence.

Plus, we saw real nature animals--not just the racoons and squirrels you see digging in the garbage in Seattle. Our friend Shai spotted a bird he named the Fatso 3000. You can see why.

I do have to note that the item that saved my sanity on this trip, aside from discovering a new love for Evan Walker, was the accidental discovery of the Travel John Jr. disposable urinal. For reals. I'd found it at the Right Start while shopping for a baby shower gift and when I saw it, I thought it'd be great for Naomi because it'd be so hard to drag a small child out in the middle of the night to an outhouse to pee when it's ten degrees and snowing and I'd save her the trauma.

The women in our cabin divvied up those pee bags (ironically, Naomi was the only one who refused to pee in them). I know I sound like an unrelenting advertisement, but I can seriously say that I stand behind (or on top of?) this product. And they didn't spill or smell. They just gelled up immediately!

Okay, enough potty talk.

The biggest bummer of the weekend is that a good handful of us came down with the flu and it's still dragging on. But that won't keep me from going back next year--with pee bags for everyone!

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