Over Labor Day weekend, we went on a backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park. We had really good timing, driving through an afternoon thunderstorm that cleared up a few minutes before we pulled into the trailhead parking lot.
We rented a pack for Cooper so he had to carry a little bit more than he has in the past. He was a trooper for the most part.
It was almost 3 miles to our campsite and we made it in pretty good time.
We were camping in bear country, so we had to bring a bear proof canister to store all our food in. They told us at the back country office that it was “high calorie season” for bears as they prepare for hibernation. Really makes you feel at ease . . . The first night, Noel and I were both awakened by a very large animal chewing very loudly right outside of our tent. My heart was racing and I was just praying that A) The animal would leave us alone and B)The kids would stay asleep. Thankfully, both of those things happened.
In the morning, Noel and I discovered a bull moose on our way to the bathroom and are pretty sure that’s what was outside of our tent in the middle of the night. On our way out of camp we ran into a momma moose and a young moose. We kept a wide berth. While a moose might not try to eat us, moose are HUGE and can easily put you in bad shape, especially a mom protecting her kid.
We hiked up to a lake and had a lovely lunch. We also saw a beaver and picked wild raspberries.
Back at camp, our fellow campers (there were two sites) let us know the bull moose was lounging across the river, so we all went and marveled at a safe distance. No moose crashed through the campsite in the middle of the night, so Noel and I slept a little better, although maybe a bit restless due to mild anxiety.
The next day we broke camp and headed back to the car. On the way, Ellen and I almost injured ourselves when we came around a corner and ran into the bull moose, again. She grabbed my legs in fear and I almost tripped. Luckily we all stayed upright and the moose just moseyed along. Before making it to the parking lot, we also saw a bighorn sheep. It was quite the trip for animal viewing. We were all tired and ready to go home and sleep in the protective four walls of our house.
It’s neat that we’re able to do stuff like this with the kids now. In some ways, they actually have more energy than Noel and I. When we got home the two of us were just done, but the kids were riding bikes in the street and running around.
At this point, we still witnessed an exit of Ellen’s quarter that she swallowed in August. Our pediatrician ordered an x-ray and the quarter was still in her stomach. She consulted with a specialist at Children’s Hospital and they agreed that if the quarter hadn’t evacuated after almost two weeks, it was probably stuck and wouldn’t be doing so on it’s own. I took Ellen to Children’s hospital for a consult and they scheduled an endoscopic removal. Noel had already planned to take that Friday off (we were supposed to have a fun date while the kids were at school) so we decided he would take Ellen for the procedure and I would teach the two classes I was supposed to teach as well as get Cooper to school.
Right before the surgery, they did an x-ray just to make sure their removal plan would work. They x-rayed Ellen from shoulders to hips and there was no sign of the quarter, so they told Noel and Ellen they could go home. Ellen burst into tears and the nurses told her this was good news, but she could still have a Popsicle since they’d promised her one. I said this on Instagram, “We’d been hoping and praying for weeks that the quarter would pass on it’s own, but instead of being overjoyed that my scared daughter no longer needed a (minorly) invasive) procedure my initial reaction was to be quite peeved. (I actually described it to a friend as an ‘annoying miracle’ that waited until the 11th hour.) This got me thinking. How often do I let small deviations from my vision of the way things should be get in the way of recognizing how magnificent things (whether they be people, life, or miracles) are? Life rarely goes exactly the way I want it to and I don’t want to let little things obscure how beautiful it mostly is. Life is good and don’t swallow quarters.” It was nice to have an end to the quarter saga.
Ellen started dance in September. It was supposed to be a ballet class, but it got turned into a ballet/tap/jazz class. Her first class was the day of her consultation. I had to cancel a class and two meetings because of it, but thankfully dance class was safe.
That weekend, we went hiking near Vail to see the fall leaves. The leaves turned early this year. People kept saying it was because of the lack of water, but I haven’t verified that to be scientifically true. We’re glad we went hiking otherwise, we might have missed it this year.
Often, when we do our fall colors hike/trip it’s chilly, but not this year. It was 80 degrees in Vail. In the middle of September. Yuck.
I hit 500 miles on my ebike in September. That’s 500 miles I didn’t put on the car. (Also, Noel bought himself an electric bike in September. We know each have three bikes and share a car. We are those people.)
Cooper’s best friend has a little brother Ellen’s age an they were both invited to their combined birthday party. They often play together which is nice, although Ellen just told me she has a crush on the boy her age . . . I’m so not ready for that.
The least week of September, Noel went to Chicago for a conference.
I lived vicariously through the pictures he sent.
Meanwhile life went on in Colorado. Cooper started Cub Scouts when school started. He was initially disappointed that they didn’t do pinewood derby cars every week, but he really seems to like it. He likes the boys and the silly cheers. He thinks his shirt is really cool and is motivated by the badges and belt loops.
I can’t say I understand cub scouts, but the boy loves it which makes me happy it’s in our lives. We accomplished a bunch of stuff with all of our family adventures this summer, so he got a patch and a belt loop at his first pack meeting even though he’d only been going for a month.
Noel came home the last Friday of the month and we were all so happy. It’s good to remember that September was a pretty good month because sometimes I get a bit fatalistic about school starting and dramatically act like we will never have fun again.