Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bozeman Love

Montana's a big state and it's super easy to get caught up in the awesomeness of many different parts.  In 2 hours we can be exploring the "top of the world", watching geysers, tucked deep into the wilderness, for exploring the relics of the boom and bust of copper and gold.  Crazy.  It's also amazing in the summer with warm days, cool nights and mostly bluebird skies.  Though we've spent some time exploring along the northern edge and lots of time in Wyoming, it was time to hang out and explore a little closer to home.  It was a nice reminder of why we love where we live so much when we could start out the day with a lazy breakfast and pot of coffee and finish up with an adventure.

Recently both kids have taken an obsessive slant toward the "M" in town, competing for who can spot it first.  We've been meaning to hike it for a while with the kids, and have been talking up how exciting it'd be for Matthew to hike it all by himself and touch it.   Yes, this is for mostly selfish reasons as he is now 35+ pounds of gangly 4 year old that we don't want to have to haul up the hill.  We also encouraged Catherine to do a bit of it herself:
 The kids found lots of hiking sticks and Matthew enjoyed using his to draw "snakes" in the dirt for me to step on:
 We also had some gummy snakes from Uncle Ed and Georgina to enjoy at the top as a motivating factor.  As if that wasn't enough snake talk for one day, as Matthew and I went to touch the M and take the picture below, we scared a snake off his nice warm, white rock!
 A distorted (check out Matthew's mohawk!) view from the top!
 Matthew even shared his binoculars!
 We actually ran into a friend at the top (and later discovered we had missed two other families we knew that same morning!)  We forgot to ask our friend to take a picture, so a family selfie had to do:
 And with tongues because Matthew thinks that's the coolest thing ever.  Catherine's a little slow to join in:
 Trail back down:
 We took both kid backpacks but as Matthew did awesome by himself, Catherine got to ride in the big backpack for the first time!
 Matthew pointing to where he hiked!  850 feet in elevation and about 2.5 miles.  We were pretty proud of him, but mostly relieved that he could do it all himself.  Catherine clocked a little over a mile on her own which was also awesome.  Along with "Ride on Thomas" from our trip to Virginia, "Hike a M" is her next favorite response when you ask her about her favorite thing we have done.
 Bozeman's art center also has a great summer "lunch on the lawn" series that features lots of kids activities, bands and vendors on Wednesdays.  We managed to finally make it to two of these before the series ended.  Catherine painted a playhouse:

 And the kids fell in love with the balloon artist.  Well, at least for the 4.2 seconds before the balloons started to spontaneously combust:

 We also decided it was time to take the big tractor to some sand to see what it could do:
And after our success with the M, we pulled out the Day Hikes of Bozeman book to see what else we could conquer without carrying anyone.  We've done most of the hikes in the <2 .5="" 6="" a="" are="" arrived="" asleep="" before="" but="" course.="" discover="" fairy="" far="" fell="" few="" for="" gems="" hile="" is="" kids="" lake.="" last="" like="" meant="" mile-wise="" mile="" miles="" minivan="" nbsp="" not="" of="" p="" pretty="" range="" right="" road="" rough="" some="" still="" that="" the="" there="" to="" trailhead="" we="" were="" which="">
 We let them sleep a little and then woke them up.  Matthew was a bear, didn't want to hike, wanted to be carried etc. for the first 15 steps, and then we couldn't hike fast enough for him:
So he took on the very important role of coaching Catherine as to whether or not she should go under a log:
 Or over it:
 The lake which was super sparkly:
 The goobers enjoying the lake:
We took a trail around the lake perimeter.  Catherine walked most of the way but fell down a lot because of the exposed roots throughout.  However, she was a real trooper and just kept truckin', asking for a hand to hold when it got "slippy".  Otherwise, she is one determined kid!
 While we didn't see a moose (which I'm always looking for) we did see this guy.  I'm a little stumped because I couldn't come up with the name for it when we saw it but thought it was just a brain freeze.  Looking at my macroinvertebrate chart, it still doesn't really make sense so I'm open to ideas!!!
 And a tadpole which was pretty exciting:

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