Week 44: Shimmering Shades of Gold

I cannot believe that we just wrapped up week 45 of our 52 Weeks of Nature challenge. Has it really almost been an entire year since this journey began? I suppose the reason that the saying “time flies” is so frequently used is because it’s true! As the days, have turned into weeks and the weeks into months and the months into nearly a year our journey has grown from local hikes to long drives along scenic highways to more remote, although still moderately trafficked, hiking destinations.

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We have seen MJ go through two hiking carriers. The first – the Ergo and now the Deuter. It blows my mind that when we started this journey I was wearing a less than one-year-old MJ in front of me and now I carry him on my back unless he opts to walk for a bit. AJ has outgrown all of last year’s fall and winter outdoor gear and is happily sporting big boy jackets, shoes, and hiking pants. He too has a carrier, but rarely uses it. AJ is building grit, stamina, endurance and confidence as he continually faces new challenges with each outdoor adventure.

Joe and I have become much more patient over the last year – with slower hikes and frequent detours from our “planned” trips. We each take turns wrangling and encouraging our kids along the way. Sometimes we even have a moment of uninterrupted conversation. Sometimes.

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This weekends took us back to Evergreen, CO. We love Evergreen with its large pine tree population, mountain views, weather and outdoor access. At the start of the hike we studied the map and picked a loop. It was an exciting start made even more exciting by the running event taking place. There were countless kids and families running the loop we had intended to hike. Plan derailed! Fortunately, I grabbed a map and so we quickly plotted out a new route.

While the energy of the running event was awesome, I was so happy to get away from the masses. We took the first turn that we could and ended up hiking on flat terrain most of the way (our intention was to climb a mountain). To our surprise, there were several aspen groves along the way. Most of the aspens were a shimmering shade of yellow. Perfect for fall. The trail was cool as it was shaded by tall pines and large boulders.

As we hiked we were accompanied by mountain bikers and fellow hikers. The trail was mostly quiet but populated enough to ease my fear of being stalked by a mountain lion. MJ hiked a little, and AJ hiked a lot. The end.

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