Today we went up into the mountains. It could be argued that we are already up and into the mountains. But I mean we really went INTO the mountains. We rode a gondola to some really great outdoor sporting trails. The trails are all part of a resort, so I can't say they are out of civilization, but they are definitely at the point where rugged wilderness meets civilization. The hiking and biking trails go into the forest, and while they are very well carved out and defined, you really get the sense that you are just engulfed in nature. Where the trails start and end, there is a restaurant complete with shade and bottled water. This was a great comprimise for me and Daryl. See, I'm an outdoorsy girl. I would have very happily packed a tent and camped out there. Daryl, not so much. He'd rather sit in air conditioning and enjoy the views from the comforts of modern civilization. This surprised me when I first learned of it, because while we were dating his mother bragged often about his achieving of the Eagle Scout status. It's definitely becoming evident to me that this was something Daryl did only because his parents wanted him to. I hope that Jonah, and any other children we may have, will feel comfortable with himself to tell Daryl and I when he doesn't really enjoy something that we are pushing him to do.
I did convince him to go on a very mild nature hike with me. I also convinced him to try the carrier out with Jonah. All it took was a little peer pressure from a fellow hiking family. I saw them approaching as we got off the gondola. The father had a little girl, just a bit older than Jonah, on his back in a metal hiking frame. "See!!!" I poked Daryl's arm. "See, he doesn't complain about getting sweaty or anything! Look how much fun he's having!" The family smiled at us, said hello, and within moments Daryl was strapping on the mei tei. Jonah thought it was hillarious that he was getting to ride on Daddy's back. He has been very much into his father lately, often leaping out of my arms and into Daryl. It stings only a little to be pushed aside for Daryl, but my heart leaps at seeing them bond so well. He loves his father so much. Daryl agreed after the hike that wearing Jonah was a breeze, but getting the carrier secured still confuses him. That does take some practice, I'll admit. I am glad that he at least tried, and now maybe he can jump in when I'm having the "stroller debate" with well-meaning relatives, concerned over the weight of Jonah on my 'delicate frame' (shya... nothin delicate about this pleasantly plump body!!)
We started out on the trail, which was only .7 miles and fairly flat. There were breathtaking scenes everywhere that I looked. I just don't see beauty like this in Ohio. The quivering aspens, the mountain streams as clear as crystal, bright yellow and flaming red flowers. I kept my eyes peeled for a moose, but we never saw any animals besides the biting flies. Those were a nuscence, but worth putting up with. Jonah was covered, and did not get bit.
Jonah loved touching the flowers and the trees. I'm always amazed at how much he loves nature. He always wants to touch it and explore it, and whenever something catches his eye he gets this big grin on his face. I am hoping that this is something that cultivates as he gets older. I would love to take him for camping trips, and to share with him the joys of the great outdoors. I want to share with him how special our world really is.