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Dan’s day in the mountains

June 17, 2012

Snow! Which, I know you’re not supposed to eat (why is that?) but we all snarf heartily like it’s got some mineral we’re deficient in.

Dan got the go-ahead to orchestrate the agenda for Father’s Day. “Anything you want!” I told him, “as long as it includes us.” (Because in the midst of the clusterfuck of packing for my birthday camping trip last weekend we were all so exasperated with each other, I thought for a moment, maybe Dan and the kids could go spend the weekend in the mountains, and I’ll just stay home alone with the irish cream and elk sausage). Incidentally, “anything you want” does not include being all packed up in the truck by 6am (when the elk are, you know, active) but still, by 8am, we were here.

Hiking with the kids is a funny thing. If there are other kids along (and grasshopper-eating contests), Col and Rose could hike to California without even noticing. But if it’s just our family, you’d think we’d asked them to march barefoot to a refugee camp for how they hobble along wearily in the most gorgeous country I’ve ever seen.

Globeflower, what big stamens you have.

Old man on the mountain, with lepidoptera friends. Now that me and Dan are both 40, I’m thinking of calling him “my old man.”

Alpine thistle (native); one of the coolest, wackiest plants in the San Juans.

Rose in the corn husk lily. 

Corn husk lily – top view. Poisonous.

A lot of people falsely call this plant skunk cabbage (which does not grow around here). Here’s a fun summer game for you (if you’re local). We’re well into a drought season here in Southwest Colorado. Ten years ago when there was a big drought (and a big fire that smoked out Durango for over a month), Dan and I found one lone solitary corn husk lily blooming all summer (in the Weminuche Wilderness). Let me know if you see any blooming this summer. This is called The Summer Plant Nerd Games.

Anemone multifida – swoon.

Parry’s primrose, a pleasantly stinky flower.

The real reason for the expedition was to retrieve this pipe that Dan found on the side of the road last week on a hike. He was feeling guilty for being out on this hike when the root cellar needed digging, and then he found this pipe, this perfect pipe to ventilate the root cellar. Amazing how life works when you follow your heart.

Behold, the pipe.

And then we made sushi for dinner. (And I’m about to mack on the cold leftovers right now).

Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddies.

* side note: on Tuesday, July 31st I’m teaching a plant identification class at Durango Natural Foods. We’ll talk stamens and pistils and ovate vs obovate leaves. More details to come.

ps: fun Father’s Day shenanigans from last year

pps: the kids can pretend to not like hiking, or that they need a snack every 5 minutes, but I know these places, these experiences are seeping into their very bones, cementing themselves forever.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. ellen884 permalink
    June 17, 2012 10:01 pm

    Wonderful flower and mountain photos. Great way to spend fathers day!

  2. Chris permalink
    June 17, 2012 10:39 pm

    Looks like you all had a wonderful day. Thanks for the pic of the alpine wildflowers- Parry’s primrose is my favorite.

  3. June 18, 2012 1:18 am

    Corn Husk Lily? Oh, my. Looks like something out of Thumbelina. What insanely awesome mountain pics. Love how your man loves the mountains (and you). Such a sweet bit with sushi, too. Unexpected. My man’s plan involved the sea and the sailboat. Perfect, even though it rained with fog and wind.
    I hope you print that third picture. I love it so.

  4. June 18, 2012 6:30 am

    this makes me miss the mountains so much…(from here in o-hi-o) and you’re right – keep hiking with your kids! it will become something they expect and love to do!!! mine do still complain occasionally, but more often they’re the ones suggesting that “um, maybe getting out for a hike might help us all get into better moods?” and they’re right. when they were really wee, they used to get down the trail by collecting things – mostly acorns – and telling themselves or each other stories. i’ve managed to complete a hike many times by being a mother hedgehog…no kidding.

  5. Megan permalink
    June 18, 2012 6:56 am

    Hi, I’ve recently come across your blog and I just had to say those photos are gorgeous, what a beautiful way to spend the day. Also, funny to think there are kids all over the world complaining to their parents about walking. My 3 years olds latest game is ‘we’re going on a bear hunt’, and if I play that with her she’ll walk forever! (I’m in Australia, so actually no bears around here!)
    The comment about being a mother hedgehog cracked me up! I can just imagine it.

  6. Jen M permalink
    June 18, 2012 7:51 am

    Sounds like a wonderful day! After running a trail race in Beaver Creek this weekend we decided to take Boreas Pass out of Breckenridge home rather than I-70. Through the most beautiful roads my older boy (5) complained – When are we going home?!? UGH. Hoping his appreciation grows with each trip… He likes to hobble through hikes too as if he were scaling a forteener!

  7. June 18, 2012 8:18 am

    Happy Father’s Day, Dan. I had to settle for talking to Drew (who’s in Durango working at Carvers) on the phone but did also spend a fabulous weekend climbing in our La Sal mts. with lots of kids and dads (and moms.) It felt like a great father’s day.

  8. Melissa H permalink
    June 18, 2012 11:02 am

    So true about it seeping into their bones. We took my step son backpacking a lot when he was in his early teens, and boy did he complain, fake illness, and even cried along the way. He’s almost 20 now and he took a group of his friends backpacking this past week on his own free will! It really made all the boo hooing all this years ago worth it, and gave me the warm fuzzies

  9. Nana Judy permalink
    June 18, 2012 12:17 pm

    Thanks for weekend vignettes.
    Love the idea of the corn husk lily citizen science inquiry!

  10. June 18, 2012 9:55 pm

    I live in the mountains 25 minutes from the closest town and all we have to do is go out the door and we are “hiking” and somedays I have a heck of a time getting my girls(4 and 6) to go for a “hike”. I thought I was the only one with this problem…it’s great to know I’m not alone! Looks like Father’s day was beautiful for you guys and that picture of Rose in the Corn Husk Lilies is AMAZING!

  11. June 19, 2012 10:21 am

    I’m laughing about your refugees and their forced march and that nagging idea that maybe staying home with the liquor could be more fun. Fern is *just* entering that “Being out in nature is sooooo 6 months ago” phase, where giant algae blooms and general muckiness have lost their allure, and she really just wants to go home and play in the kiddie pool. But that pipe! That must have at least cheered up Col. Tell you what, those alpine flowers certainly cheered ME up and I am swooning over the fuzzy thistle. Happy Dad’s day to Dan and good luck with your class…wish I could go! xo

  12. June 19, 2012 11:12 am

    My kids (age almost 7) mostly hike like refugees on a forced march too. But every once in a while, one will exclaim, “This is the best day ever!” This makes the times we have to drag them down the trail totally worth it.

  13. June 20, 2012 7:41 am

    What a wonderful thing first to rise above treeline, and then to sit above the skyline. Thanks for sharing such gorgeous photos – that was like a mini-pilgrimmage home for me. I’d say I am a product of mountain hikes seeping into my very bones and now, wherever I am, I know which direction points me towards the Rockies.

  14. June 20, 2012 3:00 pm

    Oh! those butterflies! And the logs. I love logs.

    And hikes.

    My kids were the same when little: hike forever if there’s company or if I’m willing to sing. Now, um, it’s similar. Except that my son will hike FOREVER if there is an animal to capture at the other end.

  15. June 20, 2012 7:51 pm

    I took my kids for a short hike the other day, and they were sitting down for a snack and water bread about a hundred yards from the car. It is, indeed different with other kids–but the way you wrote it was super funny.

  16. June 23, 2012 5:57 pm

    My kids hike the same way, and we’ve been doing it since they were infants. It’s OK, they love it. We have the corn lilies here, too, and skunk cabbage – believe me, if people knew what skunk cabbage was (and smelled it on a warm day in spring) they wouldn’t confuse them! :) Love the anemones, we have a different species here, but still so pretty.

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