|A facebook meme a friend posted just after we returned from our trip.|
Even before our launch day we found great learning experience! While spotting the trailer backing down the boat ramp, my attention was distracted just like I was a curious Kindergartener, by a small hopping motion out of the corner of my eye. Immediately leaving my post as trailer spotter I squatted down to pick up the tiniest little toad I have ever seen! I showed it to Charlotte and we talked about amphibians & how tadpoles turn into frogs & toads. She continued to play with her new little friend, hopping along the shore while the trailer got parked & unloaded.
|Charlotte playing with her tiny amphibian friend.|
|Kayak lessons with Daddy.|
|Sand castle erosion & geology lessons!|
|Leaping into Life!|
Day two was a big rapid day, with a class IV in it... I'm comfortable with Charlotte running class III, she has done allot of it, and a "very" little bit of "very" low water class IV. But the idea of "Hells Half Mile" made me nervous, even though I was assured by a friend who guides there and is a Mom herself that it is fine at low water (our trip was indeed low water,) and that they take 6 year old's commercially. The scout seemed relatively straight forward, though I knew that all the water was pushing where I didn't want to go... I implored my friend Michelle to ride on my boat just so she could grab Charlotte if need be. Running the rapid I was so gripped! More gripped than usual... something about having my little one on my boat in a big rapid that I don't know like the back of my hand (much of the whitewater Charlotte runs are rapids that I DO know like the back of my hand.) Tempering my overly amped heart in throat- was Charlotte; giggling, squealing and saying"Weeeeeeee!" Of course we made it just fine, and honestly, I think Mommy was the one learning this time.
|The crux move in "Hells Half Mile"|
Charlotte spent a good portion of day three in her kayak again. This time tackling some class I and easy class II wave trains, still practicing catching eddies and exploring all of the fun little coves and crevices where rafts can not go. She was Rocking it! She seemed so comfortable in her boat, getting it exactly where she wanted it when she wanted it. Wave trains became an object of delight instead of fear, I could hear her shouting "Weeeeeee!" while paddling through them. All in all Charlotte paddled a full 5 miles of the trip, and loved every minute of it.
Charlotte also spent a good bit of time on the oars. She has always loved sitting on Mommy's lap and rowing, even as a baby. As she has gotten older she has started actually affecting the boat with the oars, moving it, and even maneuvering it. She now sits on the captains seat as well, as opposed to mommy lap. It's all her, no mommy hands on the oars. Night two Charlotte actually pulled the raft into camp (essentially) all by herself. I was impressed! She had to angle the boat through a wave train and *PUSH* into the eddy. She had been rowing for quite some time at that point as well, so I was surprised that she had the energy, let alone the strength to get that big heavy 14' raft into that eddy! WOW!
Another big thing that happened on this trip was a moment that I had been waiting for for years, a moment that I blogged about two seasons ago in the post Inevitability and Fear. Well, the inevitable finally happened... Charlotte took her first swim! It was just flat water, my friend Michelle was rowing. Charlotte & I were both sitting up on the bow with our feet hanging over the side. We bumped a small rock and Charlotte did a very slow motion slide/plop! At first she looked wide eyed and surprised, then immediately began laughing! She swam right back to the boat and grabbed onto the spare oar. I pulled her in & we both tumbled down in giggling fits. I congratulated her on becoming a member of the elite "Green River swim team," and we talked all about her experience; how it felt, what she thought, how she reacted, what made it scary, what made it fun, etc... All in all that first swim was a perfectly glorious and beautiful experience, and I am so very grateful!
|About to jump off the bow for a swim!|
|Swimming back after visiting another raft.|
|Cartography lessons! Where are we on the map?|
We walked into Kindergarten the next week, still her magical "first day." So what if it wasn't everyone's first day, it was hers. My only trepidation was immediately quelled. I knew that Charlotte would catch on to the rules & catch up with the class quickly, but I was slightly concerned about her having that "awkward new kid" social syndrome coming into class a week late. As it turned out though, she instead pulled a "fashionably late rock star" maneuver. Some of the kids in her class she already new from daycare and other various places. They had apparently been asking about her all week, anxious for Charlotte to show up, so when Charlotte did show up, there was a chorus of "Yay Charlotte! Charlotte's here!" Whew, no awkward new kid social syndrome! I think most of my Mommy fears are completely unfounded... at lest that's what the universe generally shows me to be true anyways.
We are about to take another leave of absence from Kindergarten. In fact tomorrow Mommy & Daddy set out for a 23 day Grand Canyon trip and Charlotte, equipped with the months curriculum from her teacher, will be spending the time at Grandmas house. I am a firm believer that the "school of life" can be just as much of an education as any class room. I am sure that Charlotte will learn just as much during her visit with Grandma as I will in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and more than she would have learned in our daily routine of school & home. I think I'm a believer... "Adventure IS the best way to learn!" Oh, and the Gates of Lodore wins Hand's Down to the first day of Kindergarten!