A hike in the Woods

Devil’s Lake has become more than a state park to me: it’s become a second home in the summer.

I recently organized all of our photos over the years, taking those that had collected in various places – external hard drives, social media accounts, old cameras, and phones – and stored them on Google Photos. One of those projects where you start with one folder and find yourself blinking at the screen hours later, lost in the work.

Photography is often criticised as taking one out of the moment, but for me it connects the present to the past. It allows me to remember, and, as memories shift and fade, this is very important to me.

Life gets so busy that the days slip by, so photography (and reading) help me slow it down. Seeing things, appreciating things. Remembering.

We recently drove to Devil’s Lake for our West Bluff Hike. It’s a four mile loop on the west side of the lake, and we’ve been doing it since Liam was two. Those first years he did it we’re very slow, but he did it. I let him do it all, never carrying him, guiding him as he packs his own backpack with snacks and a water for himself, and we always take breaks when needed. In those beginning days, it would take four hours to go four miles, but it was amazing. Liam climbing rocks half the size of him, and despite the distance, four miles for a two year old, he’d marvel at every caterpillar, stick, and landscape along the way. And while I may have been tired at the end of the day, he’d pull my hand to get up, to run to the “mountain” hill and play hide and seek.

We started taking photos at the West Bluff trail sign, and since we moved so many times over the years (6 times in four years), this became our growth chart sign.

Liam, age two

Liam, age three

Age four

Age six, with his friend Bjorn

Age seven

Age eight.

I’m not entirely done organizing, and still have to find our fifth year photo, but I love this photo journey.

And I love looking at all of our adventures and Chad joining us, as he brings so much to our family. We are so lucky to have him.

Here’s our most recent trip.

Five days until we leave for the wedding vacation, as we’ve been calling it. Packing books for the road, extra towels and beach toys, wedding dress, framed menu, and the rest of the twenty boxes for the big day.

We’re excited, for this will be one of the greatest adventures of our life together.

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