First Hike of the Year

The weather here has been surprisingly mild and WONDERFUL the last few days.  Yesterday the temperature gage in the Durango, which is usually pretty accurate, read 65 degrees!  Most of the week has been in the 50's so we decided to go on our first family hike of the year.  Remember we decided to do at least 30 this year.  So this is number 1 and the count begins!  I personally think 30 is a low goal but we'll see.

John and I had a great time... but the kids were pretty cranky.  When it's 55 degrees at home and feeling like t-shirt weather (yes I said 55 degrees is t-shirt weather) it's hard to remember that it will be significantly cooler on the mountain.  We brought sweatshirts and John and I stayed warm because we were working out but the boys got a little chilly.  Hence the bad moods.  Ethan is just no fun to be around when he is hungry, tired, or hot/cold.  In this case he was all three going up.  We hiked up Lookout Mountain starting at Windy Saddle (about 2/3 up) and ending at the Nature Center at the top.  The Nature Center has a great kids area with toys and things to explore. It's a good place to warm up and they have nice bathrooms too.  An important feature with kids who ALWAYS have to use the potty.  
 Old man Aaron sporting his new pack/hydration system that he got for Christmas.  He kind of reminds me of Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda...  hahahaha!!!!

 On the way up we passed by a group of about 15 deer.  They must be very used to hikers because they did not mind our company.  We thought it was very neat to see them just meandering around.

After we stopped for a while at the top we headed to a sunny rock to settle for a picnic lunch.  The boys were probably the happiest during lunch.  Go figure. The hike down was much quicker than up because obviously it's all down hill.  But we were in the shade the whole time and the wind had picked up so the kids were more than ready to get back to the car.  It was snowy and icy in spots and I had my first fall with the pack on.  Luckily Ethan never even flinched nor was injured in any way.  I mostly caught myself before I even landed but it was still a little nerve racking.  I just hit a very small patch of ice and lost balance.  I will be using my Ice Trekkers for sure next time!! It didn't occur to me to wear them with such beautiful weather.
 That would be string cheese....
Watching the hang gliders
This was the view from our sun roof in the car.  We counted at least 8 para sailers and hang gliders plus some walking up the mountain with their shoots and sails.

It's crazy to me how many people were out and about.  People were hiking, biking, trail running, para sailing, and hang gliding all over the place.  In the middle of winter.  I LOVE this state!