I wanted to go for a drive up Alpine Loop and to Cascade Springs all weekend. For one reason or another (soccer games, lunch with grandparents and home teaching) we didn't make it. I knew the leaves were changing and I did not want to miss it so Neal and I concocted a scheme while I dropped off the other car pool kids.
As soon as we got home, Neal ran upstairs to finish his homework while I got shoes on the other kids and convinced my dear husband that we just had to go for a drive (it wasn't hard). Forty five minutes later (a record for us) we were on our way.
The colors are breathtaking (right now! don't wait too long to go). I loved hearing the "oohs" and "aahs" of my children from the back seat of the minivan.
The canyon road and overlooks were crowded with "mature" seniors in sporty convertibles and Lincoln town cars. As we got closer to our destination of Cascade Springs, I explained to the kids that there were mostly older people and that they needed to behave nicely and not run around the trails and board walks (I had horrible visions of them pushing nice old ladies with walkers into the springs). I continued to tell them that we wanted to hear the people say things like, "oh, what a lovely little family" or "what adorable children" and not things like, "I'm so grateful my children are all grown and have moved far, far away."
We got the very best parking space in the crowded lot, right next to the restrooms and the trail head. While my husband and I used the restroom and then took a few minutes strapping Molly into the Snugli, I was pleasantly surprised that the other kids waited patiently and didn't run on ahead.
It was only a few minutes after we started down the trail together that we passed an older couple returning to their car. With a smile, the sweet white-haired lady commented, "what a sweet family." I returned her smile and nodded my "thanks". Neal hurried to my side, beaming. "You were right, Mom," he said. He continued to be absolutely obedient the rest of the afternoon.
There really were a lot of senior citizens there--cute couples holding hands. When Amberly headed up a different trail with stairs where the stroller could not go, I called her to come back with us. She ignored me and continued up the stairs. An older gentleman had been sitting along the trail with his wife. He commented, "just leave her. She'll come back." Later as the kids all headed off the trail, I scolded, "don't get near the water." Another older gentleman, passing, whispered with a smile, "what's wrong with getting near the water? They'll just get wet."
I was grateful for their sweet words that reminded me to let my kids be kids and I was grateful that my kids were sweet kids.
I packed my camera along (of course) even though I hadn't planned on taking portraits. The kids' hair was messy and their clothes were dirty, but I got some good shots of the kids who would hold still. You can see more photos from our adventures at Cascade Springs at Cindi Braby Photography Blog. And look, some actual proof that I accompanied my family on this adventure. My son Neal, a budding photographer, took this picture of Lilly and me (without a shower and make-up and with my silly sun glasses).