After a lovely and leisurely day in which Rob took an inadvertent nap (walked back to the bedroom to put on shorts, lay down on the bed for a bit, woke up almost two hours later), our family decided to take a little hike up South Cottonwood Trail in the early evening. We got there around 7:00 and planned to go as far as the creek - maybe about a mile? - then head home for a very late dinner.
Blake was kitted out with his backpack, complete with small water bottle, a banana, and two baggies of fish: Gold and Swedish. He trucked along the trail, gingerly avoiding the stickiest mud and puddles, chattering the whole time about how cool it would be if he were a ninja that did backflips off of buildings while wearing a parachute.
Rob proceeded to tell him a little about how he'd managed to jump out of an airplane one time: with his dad's help and their mutual agreement to not tell his mom until AFTER the deed was done.
I was in full micro mode, scanning the ground on either side of the trail for anything interesting. By "interesting," I mean snails or wild strawberries, wildflowers both known and unknown, any small critters or snakes. What I usually end up seeing is a lot of dog poop. While the trail had its fair share of THAT, South Cottonwood is practically a rainforest microclimate. Hard to believe, but I cannot remember EVER having been on this trail before our impromptu hike-because-we-missed-church, despite knowing that big Blake used to bike it often. Sometimes I think that living in Bozeman is absolutely wasted on my sorry, do-nothing butt.
I didn't see the orchids from the last time, nor any columbine, but there were tiny wild violas peeking from sheltered spots, tons of snails (we collected ten empty shells for Blake's show-and-tell), and, my favorite: wild strawberries. They are almost impossible to see, since they hide under the leaves of the plant and are the size of Blake's thumbnail or smaller. We found a precious few, and it was like being on a treasure hunt, only the treasure is intensely tart and edible.
Blake started to wind down a little before we got to the creek and, thus, the allotted snack time, so I told him that Daddy Blake used to ride his mountain bike on this trail when he was alive. There was a slight pause, then "WOW! THAT'S AMAZING!"
He then decided he needed to figure out non-training wheel biking as soon as possible, and Rob and I agreed.
The narrow bridge over the creek - a halved log, secured on both ends and with a little handrail - alarmed him until we told him in no uncertain terms that he HAD to hold my hand across it to keep me safe. On the other side, Blake proceeded to inhale as much of the food as he could (I think he is growing - he was voracious yesterday!), we hiked a bit further, got bit by mosquitoes, and turned for home.
Dinner at 9:00 pm was fun, a smorgasboard of what was left in the fridge. Blake's shower was overseen by Rob, who I later discovered had had B scrub all the mud off with one of my cleaning rags (a clean one, but still not really suited as a washcloth).
Next time, we'll go farther on the trail. To achieve such dizzying heights of ambition, I'll probably just pack more snacks... all three of us are incredibly motivated by the promise of tasty treats. It's one of the reasons I can never say no if Reese invites us over for dinner.