Last week was "ski week". (Don't ask.) The kids were off of school.
On Wednesday, the younger two and I went to Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz. After walking down to check on the butterflies -- who left early this year, unfortunately -- they decided to head out to the tide pools. Normally I would send J with them, but he had opted to spend the day with friends rather than go with us.
So I went to the tide pools. It was low tide. To get to the best tide pool area, one has to clamber over rocks and small cliffs. (For those familiar with the area, we went from the base of the rocks at the edge of beach until just past the end of the point where the wooden house stands.) It's a distance of maybe a half mile (less as the crow flies) although it seems much longer, due to all the climbing up and down.
One place involved climbing up a vertical rock face of about six to six and a half feet, or a little over my head. I know this doesn't sound like much, but it really is vertical.
I am a very large woman. I have bad knees and ankles. And I made it all the way out to the tide pools.
I was rewarded by seeing sea anemones the size of small dinner plates, and beautiful jewel-like Pacific starfish, and a dozen purple sea urchins, all in their natural habitat. Not to mention untold mussels and barnacles.
On the way back, I was climbing down the vertical rock face (which is harder than climbing up: because of my knees, I couldn't jump, and it's hard to work your way down rocks when you can't see where your footholds are). K said, "You know, Mom, you could go around and wade back, the tide is low enough." I replied through clenched teeth "NO. I climbed all the way out there and I AM going to climb all the way back."
At which point K said "You are one extreme Mom."
Best compliment I've gotten all year.