I just wanted to hike somewhere. My man just wanted to fish somewhere. In western Wyoming, you'd be hard-pressed not to fulfill those two goals.
Hikes during naptime, carrying both kids, thighs and lungs burning.
Juniper's (oregon grape) "lollipop":
Camp. Plein-air painting. And, wonder of all wonders, a kid-bridge over a kid-sized creek. I heard this approximately 137 times: Let's go back to the kid-bridge! We bounced from the kid-bridge to painting, to pine-cone collecting, to eating and back to the kid-bridge.
^Hazel did a funny old-woman slippered-shuffle across the bridge, but Juniper bounced, skipped and flew. Over and over and over again.^
That evening after dinner, we walked down to the river. Rock-throwing. Sister-hugging. Snail-inspecting. Pretty much anytime we mention a body of water around Hazel--river, lake, swimming pool--her eyes widen, her lips pucker and very deliberately she asks, Fishing?
My man said he was just going over there to see if he could catch a fish. I snapped a few photos and he was back. I was probably staring at my LCD screen mumbling about how I was still learning my new camera, when I looked up. I swear, he'd been gone 2 seconds. "This is why I love Wyoming," he said, holding up a thick, glistening, beautiful cutthroat trout.
Juniper gets simultaneously excited about wanting to eat the fish and rescue the fish. "Oh, Baby Fish, it's going to be okay. Don't worry Baby Fish. I'll take care of you."
Both girls practically whipped out pen-and-paper to take notes on fish-gutting. Fishing is my man's thing. He's a former fisheries biologist. So not only does he gut the trout, but he opens the stomach to see what it's been eating.
:: The next day we popped on up to this little lake, known locally for its small stature and kid-friendly bait-fishing.
Found a little "raft" jerry-rigged from pallets. (Next time we could bring a paddle and we'd be hip paddle-boarders!)
No luck with the hoppers, but a nice old man shared some worms. He said he had three grown daughters and we were reminding him of good times. He moved over and gave us the best fishing beach too.
Juniper on the worms: "Mama, they keep fussing around."
True to form, Hazel slid head-first down the gravel bank, opening the scab on her arm from the frying-pan burn of the day before. So she was already in a tender mood. Right away my man hooked her up with a fish on the line. Hazel--with help--reeled-in her first ever trout.
Then it flopped and writhed and that was just too much for her bruised soul.
Juniper reeled in a bigger cutthroat and we headed back. Home. But really, we were already there.