We had our best family hike EVER this morning at Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. I do not know what made our kids love this hike so much. Was it the amazing weather, bright sunshine, or bellies full of pancakes? God only knows! But I am so glad we finally hit the joy jackpot!

  
We started out on the lake view trail, which is a fairly easy one mile hike that goes up about 225 feet. Abby did the whole hike by herself and loved every minute. The hike was a little too technical for Josh, as there were many big rocks, so he rode in the pack. From the top were beautiful views of Long’s Peak and Mt. Meeker with the lake below us.

Right from the start something clicked in Abby that made her want to climb every boulder we encountered. It was amazing! She was scrambling up some pretty steep rocks all by herself, with a huge smile on her face. She urged me to follow her on all of her little side-trail adventures, and we ended up climbing more than we were hiking. It was wonderful to see her so excited about adventuring and taking risks. This was a side of my daughter I hadn’t seen since she was a toddler – full of courage and strength. 

  
  
As we were exploring, we came upon a cave and Abby announced that she and I would be bears – I was the momma and she was my cub. We growled and scampered among the boulders. We talked about how bear cubs are brave and careful as we down-climbed from some tricky rocks. She was really into being a bear and I was loving watching her become wild and free. 

   

Dad and Josh were having fun too (but probably not as much fun as us). When the trail connected back to the lake, everybody walked. The lake trail is a wide, smooth, crushed gravel trail which encircles the lake. We saw ducks with their ducklings, chipmunks and a beaver. The wild flowers growing along the path were beautiful. Josh could hardly resist picking them all (I let him have one).

  
We sat down on some rocks and enjoyed a peaceful picnic before heading back to the trailhead. It was glorious! We passed a family with kids around the same age. They were both crying. I smiled inside, knowing just how those parents felt. And then I thanked God for the gift of today. 

  

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