Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Maryland Chute

The Boy and I headed out to Great Falls today. If you ever doubted that Washington, D.C. is a place of great power, you need only check out the tremendous roar of Great Falls.

We didn't go to the Falls itself, but started hiking up from Old Angler's Inn about 1.5 miles downstream. We stopped along the old Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) canal tow path for a little lunch: quinoa, sweet potato and yellow squash. I was hoping to extend our range a little bit by taking lunch on the road. That way we can get out of the house before 11am, do something fun, and come home before the afternoon nap.

It was really an idyllic picnic spot. I had no idea that the canal was so wide in spots. And although the dogwoods are losing their bloom, the azaleas are raging. I topped him off with a bottle of breastmilk, and off we went.

The hiking got a little scrambly in places. The Ergo carrier we have is pretty good in backpack mode, but it's not really for trail hiking: it's fine for me, but the Boy bounces around and doesn't get a good place to rest if he falls asleep -- which wastes a nap that would be better spent in the carseat on the way home.

We skipped around some rocks and perched above Maryland Chute, a little rapid where kayakers practice their moves. We also saw a Zodiac raft and a fanboat, on a rescue mission or training. I took a little footage with the video camera, but the sun was warm and the hiking uncomfortable (for the Boy) so I turned us around and brought us home in about 15 minutes.

Getting him out of the carrier woke him up -- disgruntled. We played around for a while, but we started the ride home as quick as we could. There were a few tears, but off we went.

He really started howling on Connecticut Avenue. We turned off on Military Ave., and I ducked down Beach Drive into Rock Creek Park. I pulled over in a turnout, and we played around a bit to calm him down. We walked and saw some pretty trees and grass. I thought to feed him the rest of the milk, but it had curdled. Being denied the bottle really set the Boy off again, so we hustled home.

And when we arrived home, I realized I had left the diaper bag at the grassy clearing in Rock Creek Park. It had the camcorder in it, so I had to hustle back -- despite the boy's wailing. I'll tell you what: that's stressful. Especially at some of the rinky-dink traffic lights in Rock Creek Park, that only let a few cars go through while the Boy is gutterally wailing. At least the No Left Turn 4:00-6:30 did not apply...it was 3:58 (by MY clock) when I went through. We flaked out a little at the clearing, but it didn't assuage any wailing for the ride home.

Home for real, 45 minutes later. Breastmilk, the dog, playing with toys, crawling around...restorative. Then a real feeding: broccoli, quinoa, and sweet potato. They weren't getting it done, so I made pear and almond butter for dessert (with some ground flax seed for oils, proteins, and amino acids).

Monkey Mama came home, and things got even easier from there.

So what did I learn from this experiment in extending the Boy's range? (1) He was smiling when we got home...the first time. Don't leave the diaper bag anywhere. (2) Make a pallatable lunch, so that he eats more on the road. (3) Try to make the excursion more pleasant than bouncing up and down a hot, sunny trail.

But who knew?

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