Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Of Kids, Dogs and Mountains

In my town, we have two hillsides with giant letters on them. Mt Sentinel has a big ol' "M" for the University of Montana and Mt. Jumbo has a big ol' "L" for Loyola High School. We use to tease Lindsay that they were up there for her initials, because when you look left to right, it goes L M. Unfortunately there is no K on any mountains, so that joke doesn't go very far with Kera!

One of my goals this summer is to get the girls out on some hikes, and specifically the fun, easy hikes that are all around us, basically "in town". We live in a place with a plethora of hiking trails, so I figured it was time to start taking advantage of that. Last week we did the "M", and so this week I wanted to take them up to the "L".  I don't remember ever having done the L hike before, so it was sort of an adventure for all of us. After the girls whined at the last hike, I thought it would be good to bring some friends. Maybe the kids would be having so much fun with each other they would forget to whine.

So, I invited a couple of girlfriends and their kids and we met this morning, bright and early (because hallelujah it's finally warm here and we didn't want to hike in the heat of the day).

The trail head was super easy to find, which was nice since I had no idea what I was doing. We just took Van Buren past the interstate entrance and turned right on Cherry St and followed it til it ended at the trail head.

We gathered our water and sunglasses and hit the trail.

The trial was super easy to follow, mainly because it's been used a lot so it's pretty clear where to go. This was just a bit up the hill.

The kids definitely distracted each other, not that the hike was hard. It was so much easier than the M. 

It was a beautiful morning!

About halfway up, we had stopped to let the kids rest when five or six white puffballs started to make their way up the hill to us. At first we wondered if they were sheep (because there was a sign posted about sheep being used to get rid of the noxious weeds) but then we realized they were sheepdogs. White, fluffy puppy sheepdogs to be exact.

Now the kids were really distracted.

For good reason, these guys/gals were so friendly and super soft.

We probably spent 5 minutes just petting the dogs.

It was hard to get the kids going, actually. They just wanted to hang out with the dogs! We assumed they were with the weed eating sheep since the sign also noted that the sheep had dogs to protect them. The puppies followed us a bit up the trail, some going off on their own while three or so followed us almost to the top. It was pretty cute.

But, we did finally make it to the "L".

Kera and her new sunglasses

Missoula (north) with Squaw Peak in the background

Squaw Peak --It's that white point way out there.

Triumphant Kera at the L

Our friends J & C, at the L

Kera and her friend A, at the L

Missoula (south)

Kera and A again, overlooking Missoula

After our photo ops and a small snack, we were off back down the hill. We were almost all the way down when we looked back up to see a big herd of sheep, their dog and a guy on a horse coming down the side of the hill a little further south from us. It was quite a sight, which I forgot to take pictures of. Oh well. It was a fun hike and I'd love to do it again sometime, maybe take Lindsay when she's back in town with us.


  1. Sounds super fun! I plan on taking the kids "city" hiking this summer, too. We'll see how it goes. LOL

    Kate (

  2. Nature, kids, and puppies. Three great things!


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