I’m visiting my brother Luke, who suggested the name Sunflower, at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. He’s a freshman here, and seems to be adapting well to the new environment. He lives in Roskie Hall, in a room shaped like a piece of pie. Like most dorm rooms, it doesn’t have much room. He let me sleep in his bed the first night, but I convinced him to sleep in the bed last night, while I took the pad on the floor.
Yesterday, we went on a hike up to Lava Lake, a new destination for Luke. He says that he’s been making the most of his time in this beautifully wild place, by going on hikes every weekend and getting outdoors as much as possible. He chose Lava Lake not just because it was new, but also because the guidebook said that there would be a lower danger of being hit by a hunter’s stray bullet. We got donuts for breakfast at Granny’s Donuts, across the street from the dorm. The man behind the counter asked about our plans for the day, and when we said that we were going up to Lava Lake, he replied that it was a great hike: not too steep, and on the way down, you almost want to run. I don’t know what he was talking about–especially since he looked like he had eaten more donuts than hiked on trails recently–because the hike was plenty steep.
The trail was covered in a few inches of snow that was pristine except for a few animal prints, that got a little bit deeper as we went up. We were both glad for our sturdy and Gore-Tex lined boots. Luke started quickly, but eventually tired, and I didn’t have to try to keep up with him so much; we took a more measured pace. When we got to the top, we found the Lava Lake. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a view down the valley, since we had entered the low-hanging cloud cover. Luke told me that it’s a typical mountain pass, so there are supposed to be peaks on two sides, and views down the valley in the other directions. We did go pretty fast on the way down, but never got to the point of running.
Later on, we played racquetball. Luke had only played once before, so I tried to take it easy on him. He had some good shots, but needs more practice to be able to anticipate the ball, and then plan his shots on a consistent basis. After racquetball, we spent a couple of minutes on the rowing machines. I gave Luke some pointers, but we also saw a sign for a clinic on rowing machine technique, so maybe he’ll attend that on Monday afternoon.
On Thursday as I was waiting to depart for this trip, I felt pretty nervous. Jenny attributed my nerves to the fact that I hadn’t been on an adventure trip in a long time. She thought I was worried that I would be out of practice. I think she’s right. We have an ongoing joke about our different leisure-time interests, and what will happen when Sunflower is older. For instance, Jenny says that if I want to go on a camping trip, I can, but we’ll have to let Sunflower choose what to do–go on the camping trip with me, or go to the spa with her. We’ll have to wait until she grows up at least a little bit before we find out, but I hope to have an adventurous daughter.
A few more pictures from this trip are posted here.