This year, the stake leaders decided that to take that many girls on hikes while at camp was going to be too hard, so they left it up to the ward leaders to plan and carry out the hikes on the ward level and on the ward's time. Of course, for novice camp directors (like me) this is a lot of added stress. Not only do I have to figure out how to put a successful camp experience together, but now I have to find an appropriate hike that fits within the travel rules of the stake. I have lived in this area most of my life, and when we go hiking, we go to Montana. That is too far to take the girls. I have been asking (begging) people for opinions on hikes. I have been dreaming about hikes and I have been growing ulcers over hikes.
Finally, FINALLY, a friend gave me a brochure on a state park that is only 45 minutes away that has hiking trails. I found a loop that measures 5 miles that didn't seem to gain or lose too much elevation (translation: it's a flat hike!). I asked my family to go on a trial hike with me and two out of three willingly agreed. Today was the trial. We packed our knap-sack with water and snacks and headed out the door.
What a wonderful day!! The weather was beautiful. I think it was the warmest day we've had yet this year. The sky was clear with wispy clouds and there was a slight breeze blowing to keep us cool. We hiked around a lake and next to a river full of geese, ducks, swans and pelicans. Oh! I can't forget the fishermen! (There's world class fishing in these parts.) The worst part of hiking next to the water was the mosquitoes! They were HORRIBLE!!! But we kept moving and once we got past the large bodies of water, they were tolerable.
We think we saw a wolf in a meadow. We told a ranger and she thinks it was just a coyote -- maybe it was --but it was an awfully big coyote. (We didn't hang around watching it.)
It turns out this will be an excellent hike for my girls. Adam made the entire 5 miles on his own, stopping only a couple times for water and snacks. Aly found it a little more difficult, but only because she "hates nature" and couldn't wait to get back to the car. (I think she was just hot and tired.)
Adam is a budding photographer. I let him play with my Kodak digital camera a lot.
The wildflowers in this field haven't bloomed in years. They are blooming now thanks to the very wet spring we've had.