As opposed to dog tired.
It turns out (happily) that the Lagunas are a beautiful place to camp, and that we picked an excellent weekend, weatherwise. The skies were clear, and there was a breeze the whole time. This did make for a cold night last night, but the dark of the moon and the clear skies showed us gorgeous stars when we all got up in the middle of the night for reasons which I'm sure you can guess. (And when I say "all", I do mean "all". Both dogs were sleeping in the tent with us, and they weren't about to let us go out into that dark, scary night without them.)(Not because they were feeling particularly protective, mind, but rather because something might have snuck into the tent and got them while we weren't there.)
I should mention that, cold as a night may be, a four man tent filled with two adults, two kids, and two dogs is going to be a warm place to sleep.
We headed up (the Lagunas are actually "down" in the sense of being southeast of us, but "up" in that we were at about 5,000 feet) on Saturday morning, and were there in time to make some lunch and head out for a hike. The kids and dogs were all very excited about the possibilities, and loaded themselves into the car before we were quite ready.
We found a wonderful campsite, and had it practically all to ourselves; the closest tents were almost out of sight, and it was quiet all evening, except when a storyteller came to the gathering spot across a little meadow, and the girls ran over to watch him. The pine trees in the campground house a number of black and white woodpeckers with red heads (red-headed woodpeckers, one presumes?), who made perfect acorn-sized holes, which the squirrels use, of course, to store acorns. Sometimes nature is a wonderful thing; no waste or slippage in the system. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
The trees were also perfect for climbing, as Older Daughter discovered. You can't see her there, forty-some-odd feet up. But I could. (eek)
Can you see her in this one?
No? Well, trust me. She was there.
The meadows in the Lagunas look almost like those in the high sierra, with a couple of small lakes down the middle of a long open space. The wildflowers were everywhere, sweet peas and lupine and tiny little yellow violets scattered through the grass. It was almost like a treasure hunt -- many of the flowers are small and must be found by searching for them, jewellike, in among the taller grasses.
The girls and Tilly thought the lake was pretty neat; the coots and mallards weren't sure how they felt about their proximity but settled down once they realized that no-one was going swimming.
We also found some grinding stones, located exactly where you'd expect them to be, between the oak trees and running water.
We hiked for about three hours, and headed back to make dinner (tamales heated over the campfire, followed by s'mores, mmmm....). After all that walking around, everyone was pretty tired -- I always know that it's been an active day when the girls start asking if it's time to go to bed yet (!!). They both fell asleep almost instantaneously, and, except for the expected nighttime perambulations, slept soundly until morning, even with Tilly's occasional forays towards the top of the tent to try to sleep by our faces. Kia stayed put, both because she is better behaved, and because she is old and was very stiff after such a long hike.
This morning, we got up early and packed up after breakfast to go to the Sunrise Trail (after sunrise; I don't get up that early) for another hike. The head of the trail looks (predictably) east, out into the desert. The views were astonishing.
It was hotter than yesterday's hike, though, and the dogs (and kids) were tireder, so we didn't go quite so long, or far. After a picnic lunch, we headed home. The kids and dogs had a minor quarrel over the dog beds in the back of the car.
But the girls were finally persuaded to sit in the back seat. They and the dogs slept the whole way home.
We finished up with mole chicken for dinner tonight from my very favorite local Mexican restaurant, and my dogs are now asleep at my feet. Life is good.
(All pictures courtesy of my father-in-law. Thanks, Kim!)