With beautiful weather again, Mom and Dad suggested we hop on some bikes and ride along the Katy Trail. It’s a 240-mile path along old railroad tracks, generally following the Missouri River through the center of the state. Dad led the way and set the pace: a breezy 15mph. The scenery was great.

In all I think we covered a little over twenty miles. The day before, we’d done something like twelve on trails near the community college.

It was good to get out on a bike again; we don’t have much opportunity to do it around Montana.

Main Street

Mom suggested we go for a walk along historic Main Street in St Charles while we were visiting. The weather was gorgeous, so we headed down to the riverfront and spent a few hours walking along the sidewalks, brick streets, and bike trails.

There were odd statues of dogs scattered about…

And a statue of Lewis and Clark as they set out on their historic expedition:

The old buildings and the streets were really cool.

In December we plan to return, this time to enjoy their Christmas celebration. For now we just basked in the crisp fall sunlight.

Super Dad

In preparation for a new TV stand, Mom and Dad decided to dismantle and donate their old entertainment center. This thing was a beast and took us nearly an hour to break apart. At one point, Dad and I had to heft the top portion while Mom and Pepper unscrewed a bunch of cables. Dad makes it look easy!

Skull King FTW

Cindy and her kids visited us earlier in the summer, and she returned the favor when we were in Colorado on our epic road trip by letting us crash at her house for a night. The kids had a blast playing Skull King with us, so when Brooke heard that we were coming to see them, she was all ready with her deck. We showed up at their house kind of late in the evening, and it was her bedtime, which made her very sad.

However, she struck upon an idea: “What if all of us get up at 5:30 tomorrow morning so we can play Skull King before school?” And she was quite serious. She was willing to set her alarm and be ready at the kitchen table, if only we’d get up with her. Now that’s dedication!

As it turned out, we did play before school, but not at 5:30. She was a fierce competitor.

I’m hoping Brooke comes back to visit us next summer so we can see her indomitable spirit again…

Back to ultimate

It’s been almost three years to the day since I last played ultimate. Since I was in Colorado visiting my old haunts, I figured I’d look for a pickup game and jump in. To be completely honest, I wondered if I’d be an embarrassment. I haven’t thrown a disc in all that time. No forehand, no hammers, no hucks. And I haven’t run in the style that’s somewhat unique to ultimate– sprinting, then cycling back through the stack, then switching to defense, and all the while working almost instinctively to optimize speed and coverage.

As it turns out, after nearly thirty years playing a sport, it’s burned into my soul. I had no trouble throwing, catching, or running a solid offense and defense. I vowed to throw an endzone hammer at some point during the game, and I did. I caught a few points, made a sweet interception, and generally had a grand time with friends I’ve known on the field for (in some cases) almost twenty years.

The next day I happened to be over near Sandstone Ranch in Longmont, which is where I’d played countless league games. I couldn’t resist walking out onto the grass and just reveling in the feel of it.

Strangely, playing that one game reminded me how much I miss the sport. To be more accurate, I miss my friends in the sport. I had a lot of great times, made a lot of great memories, and often wish I could pick up a disc and head over to the field once more. But that chapter of my life has ended, and I guess I’ll just drop in now and again when I’m passing through Colorado. Good times.

Last visitors of the season

Summer is winding down, and we were lucky enough to have a couple of gals visit us. Actually, they’re two of my three favorite gals: Kyra and her best friend Hannah. Here’s a shot of all three favorites:

Kyra is our most frequent visitor by far, but Hannah is probably second. She’s been up many times, and it’s always fun. We feel like a second set of parents to her. Of course we went to Glacier, where the weather was nice but kind of hazy.

There were many moments worthy of Instagram, apparently.

The gals had a great time together.

Upon returning home, we were treated to an amazing sunset.

It’s been a busy summer, with a pretty steady stream of friends and family. And wow, so many good times and good memories.

I guess the sunsets are nice…?

For the past two weeks, we’ve had a thick haze hanging over the lake. It’s smoke from fires in western Montana and central Idaho, and without much wind or any rain, it’s just stuck. It’s a drag not to be able to see across the lake, and our guests haven’t been excited about going out hiking since there aren’t any views to speak of.

That said, the sunsets have been very orange of late…

Keeping up with the Johnsons

Sarah and Grant came to visit this week. I’ve known Sarah since college, which makes her a friend of some thirty years. It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, so it was great to spend our days doing Montana stuff.

There was Glacier, of course.

We tackled a couple of hikes, totaling around ten miles. Unfortunately it’s been smoky this week, so the views in the park weren’t as impressive as they usually are.

We hit the lake– another must-do activity around here– and they both learned to paddleboard.

Grant spent a bit more time in the water, if you know what I mean. But eventually he was looking good on the board.

Another day, another hike… this time in Jewel Basin, where we covered about six miles to Twin Lakes. We all wore swimsuits on the hike, planning to enjoy a nice cooldown when we arrived at the lakes.

As it turned out, the air temperature was comfortable for hiking, but not really hot enough that we felt the need to take a plunge to cool off. Also, the water temperature was maybe 50 degrees. But hey, I’d worn my suit all that way, so I figured what the hey and jumped in. Sarah sat on a rock and watched, probably thinking I was crazy.

We played games, shot pool, watched movies, and had a grand time.

Next year we’ll take a backpacking trip through the Boundary Waters with them. Until then…