My classes ended last week and I was more than ready to head out of town. So the boy and I packed up the car and headed northwest to Lander Wyoming. I had been there when I was a teenager on a seven week hiking and climbing trip with CTT. What I remembered of the town was vague, though I had spent a night there again on my way to Colorado when I moved here in 1996. But there were a lot of things that made it the perfect place for the two of us. Lots of hikes near town, an amazing free camp site in the town park, and the world’s largest hot springs not too far away.
The drive to Lander is long, and not too exciting. But we pushed through after a late start and ended up pulling in before dark. Settling ourselves into our spot and having dinner we climbed into the tent, one tired Mama and one energetic boy. Still we managed to float off to sleep.
One thing I have learned with Alder is that saving the exciting activity for last only leads to an anxious child who doesn’t enjoy what he’s doing. So we headed up to Thermopolis to the hot springs that morning. When you get there you have three choices of places to enjoy the springs, one is the state park soaking pools which are great, for grownups, the other two are fun pools with slides and other fun amenities. We ended up at Star Plunge we had a little fun on the big slides, but spent most of our time in the outdoor pool where there was a shorter slide and a high dive. We played games and I spent a lot of time reading while Alder spent most of his time on the high dive.
That evening we met our neighbors, a father with his two young children, two and not yet one. Alder took it on himself to teach the girls how to catch water skitters and from then any time we were at camp the three of them were playing in the little stream that flowed through the park. By the end of the trip he had six kids following him around and playing (I wish I had gotten a picture of all of them). It always amazes me how well he does with little kids, especially since he usually prefers the company of grownups more than kids his own age. Who would have thought that I would get to read over 100 pages of my book during the trip.
The next morning we headed up to Worthen Meadow Reservoir for some time in the mountains. There was much chasing of bright blue dragonflies, and gray ones. There was a dock to jump off of, rocks to boulder, trails to hike, and plans to make for next summer (words like backpacking and kayaks come to mind). We explored the edges of the water finding patterns and colors in the world around us. We were especially loving the blues that seemed to explode everywhere through the green of the trees. We stopped to watch the wind in the aspen leaves and hiked until the trail started to head down. We dreamed about backpacking trips to the valley below (not without Papa). On the way down the canyon as Alder slept I paused to look at the scar from a fire that had burned a swath of the north (west?) side off the canyon.
That night after dinner the winds came, 45-55 mile an hour winds. We hid in the tent sure that the limbs of the trees were going to crash down. Later in the evening the wind died down to a respectful bluster and the rains came. Yet some how a tired little boy slept through it all. In the morning you could see the results downed branches everywhere, luckily none of the tents had been hit.
With the next trip starting on Monday we headed out mid-day Friday for the long drive back to Denver. Next up in our lives Alder’s first flight by himself!!!