Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Them Thar Hills are Mountains

So in a couple of weeks Donnie and I are off to South Dakota (Bug is staying at home with Donnie's sister for the weekend). We're meeting up with some family in the Black Hills to climb the back of Mt. Rushmore. Here's a photo my brother took when he did the hike last year:

I remember very few things from the time we studied SD history in grade school but I do recall that the Black Hills are called "hills" because in the Sioux/Lakota language there's no word for mountain.

Now might be a good time to mention I have a problem with heights. I'm trying to be brave and visualize myself on the top of George Washington's head and take in the view that must be truly magnificent but it's a little taxing on my poor brain. However, I've got some history here:

1. Years ago a friend was visiting me in NY and wanted to go to the Statue of Liberty. At that time you could climb into the crown and he felt we HAD to do it because we were already at the statue. I would have been happy getting french fries and watching tourists. Instead I forged ahead to impress him, cursing and shaking most of the way, and once I was up there I could barely look at the view. I just stumbled as quickly as possible to those teeny tiny winding steps that would lead me back to the ground.

2. Donnie and I took a trip to Paris and went to Notre Dame. Of course we climbed to the top. The only thing that kept me going was a little boy a few steps ahead of me. I focused on him (well, focused on his feet moving one step at at time and his cute Tin Tin jacket) and said plenty of Hail Marys. When we got to the top, little Paolo was looking at the city below. He turned and called to me to come and look with him. It seemed he somehow knew we were in it together. I don't think Paolo's family will be in the Black Hills later this month but I could probably use him there.

3. If I'm at a friend's apartment with a balcony and the apartment is higher than the 5th floor, chances are I'll be inside with my glass of wine rather than with the group on the balcony. (Oh, I'm a fun one!)

4. I tend to break out in a sweat if I have to get on one of the BIG escalators at a DC Metro stop. More than once I've avoided the Dupont Circle Metro stop because of the monster escalator. I usually decide it's a nice day for a walk.

5. And there was that really embarrassing time as a five-year-old when a few of us were playing in a garage loft/playroom and I refused to come down. Not because I was having so much fun but that the floor looked too far from me and I was scared to go down the ladder. My mother had to be called over (probably taken away from making dinner) to my friend's garage and get me down. Sigh...

I finally decided I'm not going to beat myself up over this. We'll be spending the weekend with family and friends and that will be fun. The hike is a great opportunity and if I can do it, TERRIFIC! And if not, I'll have a book and snacks with me, plop down on a rock and wait for the others to return. I recently chatted with one of my sisters-in-law who said she's a bit nervous for the hike as well so it's possible I'll have company. Maybe we should start thinking like the Sioux and call that mountain a hill.

Off topic and totally unrelated:

Is anyone else happy there's now cantaloupe yogurt?!

Bug told me that when he wakes up in the morning he sings the ABCs before he comes into our room to wake us up. Somehow that just warms my heart and makes me want to listen at his door early in the morning.


  1. Oh, I bet that would be a SERIOUSLY beautiful hike, though... But you've got the right attitude - prepare for any eventuality!

    Have fun in them hill mountains!

  2. How cool to climb up there! But I too have serious height issues. Good luck!

    Cantaloupe yogurt? Really? I haven't seen it. I'll have to look!

  3. I cannot handle heights either. I would probably refuse to do the hike.

    I do, however, want to travel to SD, the land of the Lakota. They are my son's people, afterall.

  4. Oh I am so jealous! I've always wanted to see Mount Rushmore. "hills." ha! YOu'll be fine - just don't look down!

    have NOT seen cantaloupe yogurt, no. hmmmm.

    The best conversations toddlers have are the ones with themselves in their cribs in the mornings.... enjoy!

  5. I would love to do that hike! Well, I'd love to see the view, but I wouldn't like to hike it. Cuz I'm lazy. And driving or walking thru the mountains scares me. And cantaloupe yogurt? Weird. I'll have to try it.
    Also, I hear my 3 yr old singing the abc's to himself all the time. It's so sweeet!

  6. "Do one thing a day that scares you." (The advice on my lululemon bag.) Good luck!