And I don’t mean gingerly creeping up the slope of the driveway after taking out the garbage in the middle of January.
Here is a little disclaimer: I never had ice climbing on my bucket list to begin with. My actual bucket list is chock full of things like petting a dolphin, eating escargot and visiting every Disney park on the planet. But, being married to a mountain man means that some things rub off on ya.
When we started rock climbing at Nathan’s behest a decade ago, I never would have thought we would ever go ICE climbing. It is expensive, dangerous, and we lived in Chicago. Where were we going to go ice climbing??
You really can never tell where life will take you.
We have been fortunate enough that Nathan’s job requires him to know how to do cool shit. Like climbing a 100 foot frozen waterfall. And being in touch with otherwise normal individuals who have a giant lapse in judgement when it comes to finding things to do for fun.
Fun. Hanging on to a sheet of ice by two ice axes and crampons is apparently supposed to be FUN.
I’ll tell you what it really is: E’FFING INSANE. Scary. Hard. Oh, and yes… FUNNER THAN HELL.
We headed up to Ouray, Colorado to ice climb, which is apparently the place to ice climb. I never made it farther than the forty foot kid wall (which actually has six-year-olds dangling off the side), seeing as how I have charge of my own two lillyputs, neither of which have a set of crampons and so we can’t actually visit the Ouray Ice Park without pairs for everyone. Oh, and it isn’t safe. So there’s that.
We spent the New Years weekend back in Ouray with a few friends and their friends who love to climb. The reason no one is heard of this trip is because it was so terrible that I haven’t even wanted to reflect on it until now. The kids and I were holed up in a hotel room for most of it. When Nathan suggested we go, I was all for it. We spent a weekend in Ouray in the fall and I loved it.
“Sure! Let’s go! The kids and I can tool around town, grab a late breakfast, go shopping, take a dip in the hot springs, visit the AWESOME toy store, get ice cream instead of lunch, take a nap… And then we can all go out for dinner!”
Well, we went to the toy store. Three times.
The kids and I were not in our very best form; all three of us were in a funk. We were the only ones with kids, and while our whole group was super great with them and never gave us one reason to doubt they were anything less than charmed with Alice and Finn (they put on a great face), we realized AGAIN that being a double income household with no kids is a club we do not belong to any longer…
Like, we wouldn’t even be let in with a loaner sport coat at the door.
While the kids each had a few epic tantrums, my funk culminated in a fantastical display of hormones at the local ice cream shop on New Year’s Eve. In front of EVERYONE. Tears, heaving bosom, the whole bit. And that was the end of that. No champagne toast, no countdown, no trip to the hot springs, nothing else. I picked a helluva battle with Nae, got my period, and cried myself to sleep. We left the next morning after breakfast.
But the ice climbing part of the trip? Best six minutes of the whole weekend. It reminded me why I loved rock climbing… All of a sudden, I didn’t have time to think of how cold I was, or whether I was working on phonics enough with Finn or arguing with the insurance company over our rate increase. I just had one thing to worry about: Don’t fall.
It also reminded me of how out of shape I am since my climbing heyday. Yikes. I need to work on that.
But, for a few minutes, everything was just… Me. And my quivering knees.
I learned a few things on that trip to Ouray. ONE; it isn’t a child-friendly town. TWO; the merchants or Ouray are not very nice or understanding to moms alone with their (obnoxious) kids (with the major exception of the staff at O’Toys – I cannot say enough of how great they are). THREE: A two-hour dinner at the nicest place in town in no place for my kids, and FOUR: Never go on vacation with people you have never met when you are the only couple with kids and your uterus is due for a visit from Mother Nature.
I’m sure there is a good joke about crampons and getting your period in there somewhere.
As we drove out of town, past the hot springs that we didn’t visit, I vowed NEVER to go back. Which I am not sure is petty and childish or simply pragmatic.
But I will miss the ice climbing.