Monday, August 17, 2009

Who's the Psycho?

One day when we were in Ruidoso, we had spent most of the day at the condo, and we were all getting a little cabin fever. So we set out to find a hiking trail. We had been hiking the day before on a trail we had been on before that was really pretty and ran into a little waterfall.

It was a nice easy trail, and Levi and Sam hiked a little further up the river while we stayed behind with the little ones.

Which left us plenty of time to throw sticks and rocks in the water, which for a 3 year old, is pretty much the greatest activity in the world.

And also plenty of time to pose for pictures, which for certain little girls is pretty much the greatest activity in the world.

And we even had time at the end for happy group shots.

So, since that hike had been such a success, we decided to try a different one. We went by the Ranger Station and picked up a map of all the hiking trails, and found one labeled "Moderate" but it was only a mile long, so we figured that would be no problem.
It took us a while to find it - plenty of winding up deserted roads, and when we finally found it, it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but right beside a tent campground, and one guy was camping there. I was pretty sure I saw him cringe when we all unloaded and the kids started running around. I'm sure he was happy to hear us disappear into the woods.

So, since it took us longer than we thought to find the trail, it was a little later than we had anticipated when we started, about 6:30. But we start out happily, taking time to snap a few pictures on the way.
Cool trees:

It's important to always flash your gang signs in every picture. Levi belongs to the little-known Mork & Mindy Gang, they are small in numbers, but very fierce.

Anyway, we are hiking along, and Steve decides to use this as a learning opportunity. "What would you guys do if Mom & I were both knocked out?"

Thankfully, Lily-Grace was up ahead out of earshot or that one comment might have given her nightmares for a month. So we discuss different options, and here is where I realize I may be watching too many of those real-life crime stories, because my main thought is, "What would you do if that guy back at the campground turns out to be a psycho, and he starts to shoot us all?" Thankfully, I did not actually voice that because that would guarantee nightmares for everybody, including me!
Well, it is not too long before the trail starts to get really steep, but it doesn't last long, and pretty soon we start the descent. Did you know that the descent is actually much harder than the ascent? Well, at least it is with 4 kids. Mercy! I didn't know if we were all going to get through that without starting a major collision that would carry us all down the hill in one giant snowball. Joey was still walking on his own at one point, with him & Steve bringing up the rear, when Steve cries out in an alarmed voice, "Honey! Catch him!" And Joey is barrelling uncontrollably down the hill right toward me. Luckily, I caught him and we escaped with no broken limbs. However, in the next 30 seconds, Levi comes barrelling down the hill at me, hollering, "Catch me!" There is a huge difference between a 30 pound child coming at you, and a 100 pound child! I didn't know what to do! At the last second I let go of Lily-Grace's hand and braced my feet and put up my hands like I was playing football! It worked and we didn't all go tumbling down the hill together! I did decide after that, that I didn't want to be in the "catching" position anymore! I also began to be thankful that we had had that conversation about both of us being knocked out as it was starting to look more likely!

It finally levelled out, and I realize we have already been at least a mile, and we really don't know much about this trail. On the map it looked like it could either loop around and bring you back to where you started or join on with another trail that went on for 7 miles. It was getting darker, and I think Steve was getting delirious because he started saying things like, "Wouldn't it be cool if we saw a bear?"

"Um, sure! Better a bear than a psycho with a gun, I always say."

We really didn't know what to do. Should we keep going and hope the trail looped back around or turn back and climb back up that awful incline that we had just come down? Steve thought we should just keep walking for 15 more minutes, so that's what we did, but ultimately we had to turn around and come back the way we came.

Can I just say this girl is a hoss?

She may look like a scrawny primadonna, and that would be true, but she did not complain one bit! She sat down one time, saying she was too tired, and we just said, "Okay, you just sit down and rest, and catch up to us when you can!" And she just hopped right back up and never complained again! (We would have been fine with waiting, but it really was getting dark, plus the whole psycho guy thing was weighing heavily on my mind!)

Let me just say, that was hard! And I was so thankful she was a hoss, because that meant that I didn't have to carry anyone on my back in a baby backpack. Steve carried Joey for a lot of the hike, and I know that was just a leetle difficult.

We finally made it back to the car right before it was completely dark, and I am happy to say we saw neither a bear nor a crazy psycho with a gun. He was peacefully sitting in front of a campfire when we left, probably relieved to see us go so he didn't have to worry about sending out a search party for the psychos who went hiking on a trail when it was almost dark with 4 kids!

We took a picture when we got back so we can remember exactly which trail it was, so we can make sure to never go back again!


  1. oh my, you are one brave mamma! We took the boys on a 2 hour horse back trail ride in Red River one year. Ryder cried for ....lets see...1 1/2 hours and then finally fell asleep. Me, well I had a saddle sore from rocking back and forth on a trail horse with a kid in my lap....yikes. PS no it wouldn't be cool about the bear :)

  2. I just caught up on your blog! Sounds like you had a good time in ruidoso, minus the Mexican food night! I loved the post about Sam wearing levi's clothes. So funny!
    Love y'all!

  3. You have such a gift for making even the worst situations funny. I love reading all your stories and miss you guys still! Hope the kids had a great first day of school.
    Tell Steve 'Hi".
    Marje Williams/DC