I'm not complaining because there are a lot of beautiful things about the white season.
The sun, for instance. Never stops shining. Rarely is there a totally cloudy day.
But we have made it through to feel warmth again. To see green leaves. To see yellow, purple, pink, blue in several shades wildflowers painted on the hills of our playground. To see white, green, and orange with strange striped butterflies who cannot contain their excitement for spring flitting from place to place. To see birds dressed in striking red and bold vibrant yellow and to hear as they sing their songs loud and clear 'come out to play!'. To smell the dreamy intoxicating scent of lilac that covers the town like a fog. To feel the power of water (or rather to be made to feel small) as its white tips push into other white tips tumbling clumsily down the rocks with all the ice cold water that has most recently been snow at the top of the mountains.
We enjoyed the snow. We played hard.
But now there is something new.
And no more hatscoatsbootsgloves.
During the white season only a handful of trails are accessible. So we do those trails over and over and over. They are beautiful. We always find something new.
But now-we get to do new trails. Or at least trails we haven't seen in 6 months so they feel new.
Before I remembered we had so many new things to explore during the colorful season I made a goal for the posse (and myself). We were going to hike the 1.5mi to the Falls, be able to stay and play in the freezing water on a hot day, and hike the 1.5mi back to the car without anyone being carried. 3mi. I thought if we practiced and practiced we could do it. Maybe, by the end of the color. September. That was what I was hoping for.
We started practicing a few months ago with friends and lots of snacks. It was going well, so I thought. Each time out brought us a little farther down the path.
Then came yesterday. We went out to hike. No friends-just me, the posse, and ever interested in new smells Joki, and of course A LOT of snacks-because somehow we didn't make it out until it was almost lunch time. But it was a lovely blue sky kind of day so we were not going to miss it. We were headed to the Falls trailhead but then I remembered how crowded its been lately. A lot of tourists are starting to come through town and that's the preferred trail for them. I get it. It beautiful. It's fairly short and easy.
But not yesterday. I didn't want to meet a million people on the way-I still was not sure of Joki and how he does with meeting other dogs on the trail.
So I turned the car around with lots of 'Why aren't we stopping momma?! I want to hike!!' and found ourselves a trail we have visited many times but not hiked all the way. I thought I knew the path, though and where it would come out-a big loop. Easy.
We first had to rock hop across a very wide stream which Sis did with agility and balance I didn't know she had. She didn't need me to help her really at all. And then we needed snacks. And I told myself 'Ami, it's the being out here part that counts-if we only walk a little bit and have to head back that is ok' It's hard sometimes for my task-oriented-just-finish-a-thing self to be flexible with the needs of little people.
After the snacks I heard 'Im getting tired' and we'd been out for 15 minutes. Yikes.
But the lead hiker hiked on. The rear hiker continued picking up sticks and rocks, looking at ants, and pretending to be Dusty Crophopper as he trailed behind us never closer than 20 feet to me-the middle hiker. Lead hiker ran and danced, picked a lovely bouquet of very bright colored wildflowers 'for my daddy. I really miss him'. We started up a big hill and they wanted to quit-but I just wanted to get to the top of the hill to see what was there because we've never done this trail before. So I say we hike up to the top and then turn around. They agree. But we get to the top and it it just keeps going up and up and up. And the posse keeps finding red ants, and green (boy) butterflies leading us on, and white (girl) butterflies showing new rocks and new colored flowers and I roll with it. We keep heading up. Although I'm thinking I might have to pay for this decision later. We meet a friend and her dog-we say hello and pass quickly so the dogs don't have time to stop listening. Joki was awesome. We meet another dog and Joki was awesome. I now have confidence in his ability to meet dogs and listen to me about where he needs to be and what he needs to be doing. We reach the summit of our long trek up-I think its great timing, definitely time to head down. But the trail doesn't go down. It's just flat. We are walking along the side of one rim of the canyon. And singing songs and walking on logs and climbing up rocks. Eventually we start to go down-I'm relived, I can see the parking lot in the distance-but then we start walking the opposite direction from the car…what? I'm a little concerned now about how far we are going to have to walk. I know that this trail does not go past a certain point but that point is very far. But no one is complaining. We just keep going. Bub is trailing a little farther so I pick him up for a few minutes. We take some water breaks. Joki is slowing down and starting to walk with us instead of running ahead of us a little more.
After forever we finally see the blue diamonds-the ones that mark the trail we are on-we haven't seen those in a long time! We run to each one knowing it's bringing us back to the car.
We looped around exactly like I thought we would-I just didn't know that it was (in my best estimation) 3mi. that looped. I thought it was more like 1-1.5. It took us 2.5 hours-a lot of breaks. A lot of playing and singing and looking at ants, beetles, bees, spiders, flowers, logs… but this posse did the thing that I had set as a goal to reach by the end of the summer. 3 mi!! And they were happy. They were still feeling strong. They were hungry. And ready to stop and see some fish in a place the river pools. But they did it. And had no idea what they had just accomplished. It was no big deal to them.
Just another day living life in the mountains.
But I cannot get over how strong they are and how much endurance they have. And what amazing things this kind of life is going to teach them about life as they grow...
|With her bouquet for daddy|
|Sis carried these for the entire hike-they lived to be put in water where they are perking up a bit|