In the few days since she's been home, Older Daughter has done something we haven't done in over 16 years of living here: Made use of some of the excellent hiking trails in a nearby park.
For this, I have no excuse. We live in God's country, and I never bothered to hike the trails to prove it.
So after hearing her rhapsodies and seeing her photos of one modest trail (which she hiked with Mr. Darcy in tow), we decided to take advantage of some good weather so I could see it for myself.
Mr. Darcy, of course, wondered what took us so long.
We took a trail called Indian Cliffs.
It's not easy to see through the woods, but if you peer beyond the tree trunks you can see the cliffs in question. We were heading for the top.
Is this gorgeous or what?
We agreed Mr. Darcy blended in to a remarkable degree.
When we got to the turn of the first switchback...
...we saw park personnel had thoughtfully placed a bench for hikers to catch their breath.
Darcy though this whole breath-catching nonsense was a colossal waste of time. "C'mon, let's go! There are scents to follow!"
Here's a rocky slope we had passed from below.
Too steep even for Mr. Darcy.
Pretty soon the views became impressive. The marsh in the distance is where thousands of swans nest each spring.
See that dark streak in the middle of the photo? That's a railroad trestle.
When we finally hauled ourselves to the top of the ridge, the views were absolutely sensational.
Far below, near the lake surface, we could hear a flock of geese fly by.
If this looks like a river within a lake, it is. This segment of river used to connect two smaller lakes. When a dam was built near Coeur d'Alene many decades ago, the lake level rose and joined the two lakes, which also flooded the river.
At this elevation, even Mr. Darcy seemed glad to take a break. Have you ever seen a happier face?
The trail wound around and started its descent.
We passed this informative sign.
Evidence of this fire was still visible.
We started switchbacking on the descent. From waaaaaay below us, we saw another couple on a different trail ... with a dog.
Mr. Darcy saw them too, and I had to keep a firm grip on his leash lest he bound downhill to join them because, y'know, of course they wanted to see him.
So that was our brief walk in the woods. As long as the weather holds, we'll do a little more exploring some of these excellent trails.