With the ever-soaring temperatures last week, we left the house every single day in search of cooler air to breathe. By Sunday morning I was exhausted and just wanted a lazy day to stay home and do absolutely nothing. By mid-morning, I realized that wasn’t going to be the best choice. The forecast was predicting another scorcher, which meant hunker down in the air-conditioning and wait it out, or pack up and head back to the coast. Of course we chose the latter! But I made it easier on myself by saying, “NO beach.”
Not that beaches aren’t easy; it’s the aftermath of the beach that negates the restful beach-time. Wiping down sandy kids, hauling sandy bags and buckets back to the van, the piles of sandy laundry once we get home, showering four children and myself… yeah, be warned that beach days are never as peaceful as pictures portray them! To every peaceful beach day, there is some not-so-peaceful behind-the-scenes craziness ; )
BUT we still needed to find cooler weather, and I DO love to be in sight of the ocean, so I asked about potential oceanside walking paths, and off we went to take a walk on the bluffs overlooking the water. Grandpa dropped the kids and I off in the parking lot then drove further to drop Grandma and Auntie M at the beach for a swim while he parked in the parking lot at the trail’s end and walked to meet us. Perfect plan. But we all know what happens to perfect plans, right? ; )
The kids and I walked along breathing in the ocean air and practicing walking in single-file on the super-skinny path.
It was gorgeous as always! You can see for miles down the coast from here.
It’s about time they all learned to walk in a straight line! Now if only grocery stores had a line marked for gaggles of children to restrict themselves to!
Happy spirits all around : ) Not a clue what is around the next bend or how far ahead Grandpa is, but we were content to keep walking slowly along enjoying the view and the cool breeze.
The chance to explore made my kiddo’s day! He loved being able to take a separate path and meet up with us a few yards ahead. Except this particular jaunt was followed by a holler, “I just saw snakes!” Now, I can handle one snake, but snakes plural? That’s not usually a good sign. We slowed down and walked a few steps further with our eyes glued to the ground. At the same time, we came to a change in terrain. The path narrowed (how was that even possible?!), took a steep incline and curved sharply. I halted my troops, and we all stared. Bug had started wimpering at the mention of snakes, and he now started quietly sobbing, “I’m ‘cared.” I backed us up so I could size up that incline and decide if I was brave enough to attempt carrying toddlers down in. It wasn’t far, but what if I slipped on the dusty trail, and we fell off the side? It wasn’t a long drop-off, just a couple feet, but still… Then I noticed the plants growing all over the side of the path. Snakes are a deterrent, steep inclines are a damper, but poison oak seals the deal for me every time. I’ve had my share of poison ivy and have no desire to find out how poison oak compares! Sliding down a steep incline while watching for snakes and trying to avoid touching a toxic plant was a little too adventurous for me.
We retraced our steps to the previous fork in the trail thinking maybe we just took the wrong path. I couldn’t imagine Grandma thinking this section of the path was safe, yet she had assured me that the kids would enjoy it. So we definitely had to be on the wrong one! Off we started up the other trail. It led straight to the highway! Who wants to take a Sunday afternoon walk along the highway?! NOT ME! Retrace steps again. This time I whipped out my phone to text Grandpa:
“Help! Flatlanders lost on Coastal lands!”
He tried to tell me where he was, but our vantage point wasn’t the most advantageous one! We had to backtrack a ways before I could see any of the same landmarks he was seeing. Meanwhile, Bug was still whimpering, “I’m ‘cared.” Only now he had an echo in the form of Bitty Girl’s little voice. I had to keep stopping and show them the ocean, point to the parking lot we’d come from, point down the coast to the landmarks they recognized. “Look, we KNOW where we are! That means we’re NOT lost. We just can’t get to where we want to go! There’s nothing to be scared of.”
I texted Grandpa again to let him him we were heading back to the drop-off point and would wait by the parking lot. He turned around to begin his walk back to the pick-up point where the van was parked, letting me know it would be at least 20 minutes before he made it back. Then he kindly offered up a tidbit of wisdom:
“Conserve water in case I don’t make it. YerLovin Pepe.”
I replied back with, “Got about a quart of water…that should last us a day or two, right?”
Every few minutes my phone chimed with another incoming text as my father-in-law gave me status updates:
“Almost got picked off a Harley. I don’t want to be part of seal sanctuary.”
“Sundown in 6 hours. Seagull guano glows in dark; highly nutritious. Don’t give up!”
“Made it to van. Hope I didn’t lose key on bluff trail” : )
My final text to him: “I have my keys in my survival pack (aka beach tote). Water is running low. Need help!”
Grandpa pulled into the parking lot, and we loaded back up to head into the nearby coastal town where the rest of our party was just finished swimming in the chilly ocean. Obviously we weren’t by any means famished or dehydrated or otherwise in need of recovery, but because our walk had been cut short, we walked to main street and treated ourselves to fresh cookies (I was good this time! Only ate a tiny gluten-free cookie and half of an oatmeal-raisin one!) and one last look at the ocean before heading home. It was still a good day : )