Sam and I went on a beautiful fall hike with my friend Rachel and her dog Samson. I used to hike Stuarts Falls all the time when I was in college, but it's been quite a few years since I've ventured that way. It was just as beautiful and refreshing as I remembered.
This hike was extra special because I had the world's sweetest hiking companion. This was Sam's very first hike and he proved to be a natural. If this picture had sound you would hear him singing, "(h)iking, 'iking, 'iking..."
The leaves were just beginning to turn and you could smell that distinct, rich, woodsy dry leaf smell. I love that smell!
It had been so long since I'd been out hiking and I just felt joy at being outside in the elements. It was as if all my senses were heightened; the smells were richer, the colors brighter, the air fresher. I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful area!
90% of this hike is perfect for toddlers. The path meanders through the woods, through aspen groves, up and down gentle hills and across fields scattered with boulders. Sam insisted on walking as much as possible. We did put him in the backpack for the beginning and end where it's steep. But otherwise he marched along, happy as can be.
He had his fair share of spills, but handled it like a regular tough guy. I barely had time to kiss the boo-boo before he was off again.
It has got to be so nourishing for the body and soul to be out of doors, feeling the dirt and the wind on your skin, discovering things great and small. Sam spotted birds, trees, rocks, flowers, dogs, horses, leaves, and bugs. Most of these things were touched, investigated and oftentimes tasted.
It's amazing what you notice when aided by a pair of fresh little eyes. I would've missed the mountain blue bird, the ancient whorls and knots in the trees and the intricate geometry of this flower if not for Sam and his enthusiastic exclamations. Thank goodness for eager hikers and an infinitely explorable world.