Beauty, Blessings, Beginnings {With a Big Side of Devil's Head}

Time flies...when you are trying to get big projects out of the picture.

This week has been a welcomed change from home projects. We started the week with friends at a park with water sprays. The combination is summer perfection. I adore Colorado's Denver area public spray parks. Our new favorite is Centennial Center Park.

Our Independence Day plans this year started many weeks ago with possible camping with my sister's family. That quickly went down the drain when we realized both husbands only had one day off. With the record heat we have been experiencing, a day in water or high in the mountains sounded most enjoyable. We opted for the high altitude.

Yesterday, both families met in Sedalia, Colorado and drove together up into Pike National Forest to spend the morning hiking Devil's Head Fire Lookout Trail.

[Weapons are seen in nearly everything for this boy. "Guns" were found around every turn of the trial.]

[my sister's wonderful family]
The trail is 1.4 miles up, leading you to the base of this area of Colorado's only working fire lookout. 143 stairs up and hikers get a breathtaking, 360 degree view. Colorado is currently experiencing one of its worst summers of wildfires due to extreme dryness. We saw no fires, but a smokey haze was apparent and hindered our view a bit.

Before ascending the red staircase to the lookout deck, we enjoyed a break with our picnic lunches. Then, very carefully, the girls and I began the climb. Espi and AD cautiously followed soon after.
[I wish my focus would have been on the bottom of the stairs, but you get the picture.]
[Colorado beauty, amidst smokey haze]
[I have a bird's eye view on some people I know, eating lunch and kicking back.]
[On deck, they stand in front of the coolest "office" room in all of Colorado. Notice the wood burning stove inside. I think Espi was a tinge jealous.]
[The landing near the lookout deck was crawling with the cutest dots of orange. The girls didn't want to leave, but the girls were clogging up the narrow passage way for hikers and had to say goodbye to these little critters.]

[These two were side by side the whole trip. AD really wanted to hike like "the big kids,"...and you will see that he did.]

[Love these kids, and they enjoy each other so much. All wonderful and different. The mix of expressions here says it all.]

[Heading back down, the heat was getting to us? H wants to just slip away in this moment. AD's tiredness is beginning to show.]

[We brought along a backpack for AD, but he was determined to not be restrained. He hiked the whole trail and all the steps at the lookout, close to 3 miles. He fell near the end, and Espi held him for a bit until he was ready to take on the trail again with his trusty walking stick. Yes, not a spear, rifle,...just a walking stick this time. Seriously, this boy is a trooper. See the exhaustion in his little face, but he still had spunk all the way to his car seat.]

We came back to our place for dinner: pulled pork tacos with fixings, beans and bacon, fruit salad, relaxing, playing, kettle corn, watermelon...

...more playing, cascarones...

...good company.

Left thankful for days set apart that remind us of our blessings, of the courageous folk, of our beginnings, of the importance of passing on to our children such stories.

"Two hundred thirty-six years ago this Fourth of July, 57 men signed the document that created the American republic. They represented a people of about 3 million grouped in a series of 13 colonies along the eastern seaboard of the United States. They were all wanted men, sought by the commander of the British forces in North America for sedition and treason. He had behind him the resources of the greatest military power on earth. They had behind them the bare beginnings of a government, hardly anything of an army, but something mighty in the way of an idea... (Larry Arnn)"