Ike's just turned 11. He will be starting middle school this month. I realized today how long his legs are. That's where all that food goes! He's been weed-eating around the ranch and trying to make a dent in the jungle. Last month we wanted to help him get ready for his 4H County Shoot in a couple weeks. We haven't been practicing very much because the monks have started coming in to the "monkey village" for their summer retreats and we haven't wanted to disturb their solitude. So, we took off for a much needed family trip back to the spot where we took an extended camping trip last year, deep into the forest. We found a campfire that was still smoldering and a bunch of garbage strewn about. We happened to have a garbage bag handy and a few gallons of water we keep in the back for the dogs and cleaned up and put out the fire. It is unbelievable how people treat our national forests! We also brought along all our guns because Ike wanted to get some practice on his .22 and since he had never shot a shotgun before, and wanted to give it a try.
So, we found a beautiful spot where someone else set up a piece of cabinet grade wood for target shooting so we used it as a backdrop for our own targets. Again, forgive the poor quality pictures. I'm still just using my phone. I'm hoping there is a new camera in my near future, what with our anniversary and my birthday coming up. HINT HINT HINT
The kids tried the .22, .380, .9, and shotgun but were reluctant to try the 30.06. MacGyver "killled" us a couple bullseyes for dinner, though! We were all very proud!
We also did a little exploring via 4 wheel drive and I took a bunch of wildflower pictures. I also took some pictures of the aspens. I had never seen aspen before coming out west. They are one of my favorite trees now. (And the live oaks, cottonwoods and lodgepole pines)!
It was pretty overcast and a good 15 degrees cooler up here.
I love their leaves. They are called Quaking Aspens because of the sound they make when the wind whips through them. Very beautiful!
We stopped in Woodland Park, another small mountain town, on the way home and got some pizza for dinner. This is a shot of the back of Pikes Peak, where Katharine Bates wrote "America the Beautiful". You can see the front side of the Peak from our old house. Every angle of it looks completely different and is snow-capped about 10-11 months out of the year. There is also a cog railway that runs straight up the Peak. It clicks just like the old wooden roller coasters as you go up it. This is so you don't roll backwards. Its pretty cool. It is 14,100 feet, but is not the tallest in Colorado. That title is held by Mt. Elbert at 14,443 feet. We are at a mere 7,000 feet.
We had a fun family day. On the way home, Ike reminded us his birthday was coming up. When I asked what he wanted for his birthday, he surprised us. He wants a new pair of hiking shoes, a compass and a membership to the NRA. Should I be concerned? Maybe he just wants the free hat and sticker. Maybe he just wants access to the members only shooting range at the NRA Whittington Center a few hours away. I'm not sure why, or even how to feel about the last request but I have a feeling his birthday wishes are different than most boys his age. Maybe I should just be thankful he doesn't want a pair of $400 Jordan's or a keg party.