Our little family was on the way to visit my folks in Texas, when we decided to stop at Capulin Volcano National Monument in New Mexico. On a spur of the moment,
I made a run to the summit with our eldest daughter, Brianna. It was the end of November
in 1997, and there had been a recent heavy snowfall in this volcanic region of the state.
We weren't really dressed for post-holing through knee-deep snow, but Brianna did
it without hesitation or complaint. We were soaked from the knees down, not to mention cold,
but we hiked to the summit in a flash and back down to the rest of our little nuclear family
in less than an hour. She was eleven years old at the time; I was thirty-seven.
I think I complained more than she did at the time.
I had spied Capulin numerous times over the years since moving to Wyoming,
watching it go by on my seasonal trips to visit family in Texas. I didn't actually stop there
until Alissa and I were traveling together, with our children. It's funny to think that
we were more mobile and active back then, before the kids grew older. It's true!
On this day, I figured only Brianna was old enough to get all the way to the top
and back again. There aren't many things I am right about when it comes to so-called
executive decisions, but this day I hit the nail on the head. The three younger kids stayed
in the van with Alissa while Brianna & I slogged to the top of the mountain. We were all reunited
in about forty-five minutes, and Brianna had joined me on a magical, wint'ry summit,
one which I had never visited before. It was a special moment for me to share it with
her. I could babble on about it for days, even now.