It was a two for one deal with Naomi. We were going to take her ten-month-old son, Lando, with us. Previously, Naomi and Lando had come and visited us at our house. And, we had hit it off right away. No, no: not Naomi and I; I mean Lando and I. Lando just seemed to like me. He is just a real sweet kid and a delight to be with.
We started from Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve in warm, sunny weather. Naomi pushed the stroller for the first mile, which was mostly a gentle downhill. As we approached steep Indian Creek Trail, I suggested that we take turns pushing the stroller. The stroller with Lando weighed about 40 pounds, and I was surprised at the effort required to push it uphill. Earlier in the year, I had purchased a jogging stroller -- don't ask me why -- with 24-inch rear wheels, and I didn't have much trouble pushing it uphill for an extended period of time. In contrast, Naomi and I were switching every five minutes. The smaller, 16-inch wheels on this stroller appeared to make the task of pushing it up the 1,000 foot slope a lot harder.
As I crested with the stroller to a small rise on the trail, still a couple of hundred feet below the summit, I stopped and turned around to hand the stroller to Naomi. I was concentrating so much on pushing the stroller that I hadn't noticed that Naomi wasn't with me. She was a few hundred feet behind me and barely moving.
"Naomi, are you all right?"
"My legs just seemed to have turned to Jell-O."
"Can you make it where I am?"
"Yes, just give me a few minutes."
She is a rock climber, and quite strong, and as such, I suspected mild heat exhaustion. Maybe 75 degrees was too hot for someone who has lived most of her life in the cool and cloudy climate of England. I checked her forehead but it was cool. The problem may have been that she hadn't been drinking enough water. The fact that she had no chance to exercise the previous three weeks, due to her being back in England, didn't help matters either.
Once I realized that she just needed some recovery time, I decided to keep pushing the stroller. The adrenaline flow energized me so much that I had no trouble pushing it another 15 minutes to the summit. We had a nice rest under a big oak tree, and the food and some hot tea -- you just have to provide an Englishwoman with her tea no matter where you are -- seemed to bring her energy back. All this time, Lando was just enjoying himself; there were no complaining sounds from this little angel.
As we started our journey back, Naomi noticed that one of the stroller tires had gone flat. I suggested carrying Lando in our arms but that would have been very awkward. Naomi just kept pushing the stroller and we made it all the way back to the car without damaging the tire rim or, heaven forbid, tipping the stroller over.