It started off harmless enough; for some inexplicable reason, Lindsay and I decided that we were not lazy, loaf-about parents and thought we'd take our two year old and our 3 month old on a two mile hike straight up the side of a mountain...and then go deep within it. There was no good reason; perhaps only to garner this post.
So here we are, so optimistic and full of promise. It was Kim at my work that gave us the kid backpack, so really this whole endeavor could be blamed on her...thanks a heap, Kim. So, again, here we are:
Starting from the top: Daisy is the in the blue backpack--I don't know why she smiles like that, I think we must be too agressive when we smile at her so that what she does when someone, in this case a park ranger, yells, "Smile!" That's me in the orange. Glasses? Check. Super cool shorts? Check plus! Lindsay is the woman in this photo who thought this would be a sort of linen pant kind of hike and Milo is the baby hiding my gut but not my right boob.
Alright! You got everyone?! So we decide to hike to Timp Cave. Timpanogos Cave is this cave in a mountain called Timpanogos (Timp-A-No-Gus). I guess in High School Lindsay would hike it, like in 6 minutes or something and so she thought it would be a great idea...it was not.
So, we set off and at first everything was nice and fine and we stopped to read the informational signs along the paved trail up to the cave. Before long Lindsay and I started to exchange looks of panic followed by playing-it-cool laughing, there was no way that we could be this out of shape so soon in the hike,
"I'm just gonna have a bit of a rest here for a moment."
"Oh yeah? Sure. Okay. Yeah let's just take a little breather."
Literally 4 minutes later.
"I am going to die! I am going to lay down right here and die and I can't wait!"
"I can't hear you, blood is filling my ears and pouring out, I hope I slip in my ear blood and die!"
Literally 1 minute later.
(Sobbing) "I love you so much. You are such a great woman, please take the kids over to that bush and raise them to be as strong as you are. You can live off my carcass for months, someone will find you."
Well it turns out that people would find us. Several elderly women, each carrying water bottles as big as our babies would pass us and check in with us to make sure we were okay. Each one with a witty quip.
"It's a beautiful cave, but those angels of yours will get heavier before it's through!"
"Remember those days, Gladys? Such an adorable family, you look like you're having fun!"
"Coming down will be a breeze, sweetie, don't slip in that ear blood."
Never before in my life has the filthy swearing voice in my head had such imaginative and terrifying things to say than when she was head-screaming at these ladies. (Yes, she.)
So, somehow, by the grace of our Heavenly Creator, we make it to the cave. The best part was they don't allow big stupid torture devices like my new blue backpack into the cave...Daisy was quickly dumped out and I was 30 pounds lighter! Lindsay, however, had to keep Milo strapped to her...sucker.
So we are inside the cave. Turns out caves, even this one, are dark, cold, and wet. So you know, super worth it! Here's Daisy stopping dead in her tracks as we came upon a Smeagle like creature in a yellow jacket. Turns out is was just some girl.
So the cave is sort of amazing and while some of my pictures came out like this:
Most of them came out like this...
Because it's real dark and even my camera was wondering what I was doing in there.
Here is what "Hiking" in a cave is like. 20 people walking in a single file line with a 90 year old woman telling you that water dripping over millions and millions of years will make an Ice Cream Sundae...but out of rock.
After Lindsay and I have started to regain our composure, which is not until about a quarter way into the cave, the youngest Livingston decides he's done digesting sour milk and stomach acid and expels the toxic waist into his pants.
Here's what "Hiking" in a cave is like. 10 people at the front of the line enjoying the miracles of nature while 10 people at the back of the line eyes are bleeding from the stench they, for some reason, continue to walk single file into. Here was some of their feedback to Milo's contribution,
"This cave smells like ass."
"Dude, someone up there farted."
"What is that funk and is it ever going to end?!"
Not until you pass the lady with backwards back pack, sir. It turns out it only takes Milo a few seconds to make is own Ice Cream Sundae...but out of poop.
Lindsay graciously does keep moving farther and farther back, but our 90 year old tour guide keeps waiting for us to catch up, I guess she doesn't like to leave people behind in the cave, and having us all stop and look at some amazing formation. The rest of the group soon caught on that it was probably the adorable dipping bundle strapped to my wife's chest that was causing the stench and gave her plenty of space.
So there we are, in the heart of the cave...no really, there is this big staircase that the guide makes all of us sit down at and look back at this big old big rock that they have hooked to a red light and the light shines through the rock and creates a fantastically underwhelming beating heart. Well, Daisy can't quite figure out what's happening but she does know she needs a closer look. So there, right there in the deepest darkest (made even darker so we don't miss the magic of the beating heart) part of the cave, while sitting on steep cement steps, Daisy takes one step into the darkness and falls...onto...her face. Yes. Well, more aptly, her upper lip, as it is the most protruding surface of her face...also her most beautiful.
Well, as it turns out, once you begin the tour of death you can't get off it until the tour is done. So there we were, if you could have Google Mapped us we would have been 500 feet deep inside a mountain with a screaming/bleeding two year old, a 3 month old whose bum had turned inside out and 16 strangers all with tickets in their pockets they purchased for this experience. It was a nightmare. But luckily we only had twenty more minutes in the cave and a two mile hike straight down before it could be over...but first our 90 year old guide (who kept calling Daisy a boy, "Does he want a band-aid?") had show us all "Rocky", the rock that if you stop and look closely enough resembles a Basset Hound. Curiously, our group did not linger looking at him.
We finally get outside and I strap Daisy back into Kim's blue deathtrap and it becomes clear she wants to go to sleep. Sure she's probably concussed, but at least she's quiet. So, we swap the kids out. Lindsay straps Daisy to her back in the Ergo and I take Milo...who's not quite old enough to hold his head up, so it takes some sweatshirt jamming to get him upright. But don't let that fool you, that boy was happy as a clam! And smelled like hot car milk.
Daisy did not fare so well...
Now when we talk about the cave, three of the four of us shudder. It will be a while before we try that type of parenting again. We are more the, "Look it's raining, here's the Minnie Umbrella go outside and run around!" No really, here are the pictures:
As you can see, the lip is healing nicely and isn't this is what parenting is all about? Trying new things and thinking, "What have I done?! I am never ever trying something new again!"
Next week: a walk without the umbrella...unless it's raining, then we'll stay inside.