It was amazing. I love being outdoors, especially in Colorado. We met up with Justin and Anna and their two boys to backpack into the Holy Cross Wilderness. We had sunshine every day, which was such a relief - what i'm most afraid of in the Colorado wild are the storms. It was a short hike, really: 3 miles in and 3 miles out, though carrying a heavy pack, hiking at 11,000ish feet and trying to encourage a 4 year old (ahem - a 4 1/2 year old) to keep going made it seem a bit longer. However, i was never dismayed - quite the opposite. i could have stayed in that place for days and days and days.
Our hike in was amazing. We hiked on a well-worn dirt path with roots and rocks exposed beneath the towering pines. As the pines shaded our trail, they showered us with their beautiful aroma. I love the smell of pines in the summer when their needles are hot and their sap runs thick and free. My favorite scent in the world is the smell of ponderosa pines. I love that i can usually smell them before i see them. They smell like vanilla and i can never get enough - i love to press my face onto the caramel colored bark and really enjoy the tree and savor it as much as i can. yeah i know. i know.
The higher we climbed, we approached such varying mountain beauty. As we hiked out of the dense woods, we entered the world of Junipers and Columbines and every where around us we could see the exposed Colorado Rocky Mountains. We were completely surrounded by the beautiful beasts on every side and we found ourselves overjoyed, giddy almost, to be smack-dab in the middle of such wild beauty. it was awesome.
Even Diddles (my 4 1/2 year old nephew - who isn't really named Diddles, though that's what i call him. i didn't ask his mom if i could post his name on my blog, so i'll just call him diddles) exclaimed that "this is beautiful!" i'm not sure if he was only mimicking our expressions or if he really did recognize the unique beauty that we were encountering - i wouldn't be surprised of the latter - his parents have instilled into he and his brother a love and appreciation for nature.
"This IS beautiful!" i exclaimed, and then asked, "how do you think this beautiful place got here?"
"i dunno" he said. he's so sweet to humor me.
"Do you think that maybe God made it and put it here?"
noticing a teachable moment, i continued, "What else can you think of that God created beautiful?"
"Good ones! God did make the galaxies so beautiful! And he made Momma beautiful, and 'Neus (his 2 yr old brother)."
"yeah, he did!"
"Wow, Diddles! Of all of the things that God has made, what is your favorite?"
after some "hmm"ing and time contemplating, he simply said, "green beans, what's yours?"
Gosh, my heart just swelled with the great love i have for that kid. what a precious one. And he was a trooper - that was a long hike for him and he was so strong! His parents went through 2 bags of gummy bears getting him in and out, but that was all it took.
We camped beside a roaring river at the base of a cascading waterfall, flowing straight off the edge of the mountain, carrying all the snow melt and rain run-off down into the valley. it was clear and freezing and so awesome. It was great to filter the water into our water bottles - it was ice cold and so refreshing to drink. We camped 2 nights at the base of Mount of the Holy Cross. Landon and Justin attempted a snow ascent the next morning.
Anna, the boys, Duvick and I spent the day around our camp, climbing boulders, throwing rocks into the stream, and just hiking around. Our hungry tummies brought us back to our camp, where we ate our lunch and then put the boys in tents for their nap (which neither took) and Anna and i got to have girl time. I love girl time with Anna. She is just seeping with love and wisdom and creativity and is one of my greatest friends!
The next day we hiked out, getting to experience the beautiful hike all over again, in awe of the beauty just the same as just a few days before. This time our packs felt lighter and we felt stronger. Well, i guess I should just speak for myself - Landon was a little sick, we were all sleep deprived, and Anna was carrying 'Neus on her back the entire hike in and out. When we would pass other hikers, they would all let her pass as their jaws dropped, i even heard one young man murmur, "that's one hell of a woman". i couldn't agree more.