Home, home on the range

We went hiking on Saturday of this weekend. It never fails to amaze me that I can be hiking in bear and mountain lion country exactly two minutes after leaving my front door. We didn't hike in our neighborhood this weekend, but we drove about fifteen minutes to an open space park in Evergreen, Elk Meadow Open Space. Here's one of the many great things about Colorado. The counties designate land as open space. This doesn't mean literally hiking in open space or a wide-open meadow (as one of our visitors from the Midwest thought. He kept saying, "Well, I'd really like to hike in the trees somewhere." Finally we figured out his literal interpretation of "open space." Which makes sense if you think about it.) It simply means that this land won't be developed or used for anything besides non-motorized recreational activity. It's sort of the mountains' version of an urban park. Although you don't have the merry-go-rounds and slides.

Anyway, it was a relatively short hike at around five miles, but we managed to gain about 1,000 ft. of elevation. The kids, Alex and Bailey (the dog), were loving it. Bailey was practicing her arctic fox pouncing on crickets, birds, butterflies and shadows. Alex babbled and drooled most of the way. It shouldn't surprise me, but it makes me so happy to see how much that kid loves the outdoors. He could happily hang out in the carrier for hours at a time just soaking it all in. I am so hopeful that we can nurture that interest when he gets older.

On that note, we're eagerly planning our first backpacking trip with Alex for mid-October. We're foregoing our annual trip to southeast Utah to explore the dinosaur country of northeast Utah. Kevin has business in Salt Lake, so we can combine the trips and hit some of the state parks east of Vernal, UT. It should be a pretty low-key way to introduce Alex to the wonders of camping without subjecting him to flash floods and hours of no circulation in his feet from hanging off the front of me in the Bjorn.

We are planning two distant-future trips. The first is to a place called Pariah Canyon near the Utah/Arizona border. It's a 58-mile canyon and it looks so beautiful. Check out these pictures:

Pariah Canyon

In the Canyon

The problem with doing this trek now is this:

Wow! That's cold!

We're quite sure it's not smart to submerge your 5 month old in frigid, muddy canyon waters. This will have to be a trip for just Mom & Dad to take. Alex can see the pictures and dream about going there when he's older.

Our other trip in the planning stages is hiking to The Roof of Africa - Mt. Kilimanjaro. Again, this will need to be sans child or wait until Alex is older. Before I got pregnant we made a pact with some friends to climb Kili in 2007. They're still game, as they aren't planning to start trying to have kids until 2008. Ah, the luxuries of being under 30! With plans for another child somewhere in the mix, we'll have to see what the future may hold for bagging peaks in Africa. But for now, I can dream, eh?


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