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After E was born, my good friend and former roommate joined us regularly for hikes and other adventures throughout the Central Coast. In fact, she was with us for a fair amount of research on that first book, and has provided her editorial services on those projects (not to mention a healthy balance of shopping assistance, girls nights out, and critical sounding-board services). When V came along, the treks were tougher, but she took my older child's hand while I carried the baby. We still made it happen, albeit with less regularity.
My friend is beautiful, strong, intelligent and wonderful in every way I know, but she isn't me. That is to say, she's not nuts enough to strap a baby to her chest and continue hiking or climbing, to drive thousands of miles with small children in the car only to camp, night after night, in the rain. So when she had her first child, these regular romps came to an end. Instead, we met in safe spots, like our living rooms and play rooms, the parks.
So what a wonderful surprise it was, then, to receive an invitation to join her and her nearly-four-year-old daughter on a hike. How fantastic it was to watch the three girls tromp up the trail to Nojoqui Falls, certainly the shortest, easiest and, for kids, most rewarding hikes on the Central Coast. There's water involved, and rocks, and dirt. But best of all, there was great company.
Thank you, Dear Friend, for the invitation and your ongoing gift of friendship.