Here’s my beautiful baby! Naomi and took 3 days while in Stewart Island and hiked the Rakiura track with two other girls in our group. Naomi did great in the huts, was a champion all-night sleeper, and generally charmed the world with her chubby cheeks and rolly-polly good nature.
Here’s our posse of three women, one 3-month-old, and one to-be-born-in-2-months. Our slower walking pace suited us all just fine, as Steph (the only childless one) was still fighting off the stomach bug.
The Rakiura Track is a New Zealand Greatwalk, meaning it passes through iconic NZ terrain and equipped with well-maintained huts and generally improved trails. That giant tree on the right is a Rimu, a podocarp (that’s a gymnosperm like a pine but with a fruit-like seed), a type of plant well-represented in NZ but not in North America.
This tree is probably a Rimu too, but it’s so covered with epiphytes that it’s hard to tell. Stewart Island forest is temperate rain forest, mossy and green like west coast USA.
In the woods, what’s not covered in moss and vines is swathed in ferns.
On Stewart Island even the sandy beaches had greenery, if you looked closely enough.
Naomi helps to cook dinner in the first hut of the Rakiura Track. It’s not that common for babies to do the tramp, and everywhere she went in the hut about a dozen pairs of eyes followed her. Everyone was friendly though, no complaints.
Look at that stoic gaze. She’s eying up the weather to determine how her nap will be on the rest of the walk.
We didn’t actually walk that far each day, but it still felt good to shuck the boots at the hut door and make a cup of tea.
I’m not sure it would have been so swell bringing Milo to sleep in a bunk room when he was 3 months old and still waking up every few hours to eat, but Naomi slept like the proverbial baby in her home-made sleeping bag, and everyone had a good rest.
Here she is back with the rest of the group in town at the end of the walk. We were the only couple in the group with kids, and I’m sure the others watched us hopping up and down to meet the kids’ needs with the same quizzical glance I’d have given parents 3 years ago, thinking “hum, that kid stuff doesn’t look like a whole lot of fun to me.” I was surprised to see Mark pick up Naomi voluntarily at the end of the week, just curious I guess. He seemed to like her.
Milo did score a friend in Carrie, engaging her in various games and enlisting her skills to read him books. Carrie’s baby will be born in two months, so she must be imagining her life with children in the future. I asked her how a week with the kids made her feel about her upcoming motherhood, and she quite carefully said that it made it all seem a bit more “real.” Ah well, I do think it’s easier when they’re your own.