We had to make our last day in Casper one to remember. When you only get to go back once or twice during each trip around the sun, you want to create a final memory with some weight to it; a memory that creates a wake that lingers on long after the bags are unpacked and you have the taste of real life back in your mouth. Sometimes you can create those memories, and sometimes they're given to you.

On the morning of our last day, we all gathered for a family portrait. Compared to the last time we took a family portrait (when Ella was 1 year old and the boys were almost 5 months), this was a walk in the park. No crying children, tired parents, or frustrated photographer. Our portraits turned out great, and if it weren't for pesky copyright laws, I would post them here.

After the portrait, we went home and changed clothes for one last trip up the mountain. Ah, the mountain. My mountain. A place where the rest of the world ceases to exist. A haven seemingly untouched by time and motion. A place where I can eat as much red licorice as I want, and no one says a word to me.

As trips to the cabin often do, this one started with a hike down to Elkhorn Creek. If I could only count the hours and miles I've spent exploring up and down this creek and along the walls of the canyon. The boys loved bounding from rock to rock, splashing in the cold water. We even met a wild friend along the way.

There was some rock throwing, boulder heaving and even a little cliff scaling (which I reluctantly let Sam do, despite the fact I've scaled just about every rock face in this canyon a dozen times or more).

While some of us strive for majestic views from a high-up perch,

others in our fold can find beauty and amazement in those treasures that hide right beneath our noses.

After  gorging ourselves on delicacies that can only be justified in a setting such as this, we knew the day was ending and our time out West would soon be ending. We packed up our gear, loaded up the truck, and made our last drive up the canyon.

I've often wondered if God takes blessings He has designed just for us and hides them among the easily-overlooked details of our lives, hoping He can catch our attention. In the faces of strangers, the laugh from a child, the warmth of a breeze that barely tickles your face. They are there all day, waiting, but we tend to look past them for deadlines, agendas and duties. But when we do find them, God is there watching to see our joy and amazement. Knowing that a whole unique set of blessings have already been prepared for the next day, perhaps God doesn't want today's blessings to be wasted. So, he bundles them all up, tosses them high into the heavens and watches them splash all over the horizon.

Just like God's light display as we descended our beloved mountain, our final day in Casper was filled with getting to do everything we loved about our vacation just one more time. We took all of our favorites and splashed them all over that beautiful Wyoming backdrop. One more wonderful day with family. One more romp in the dirt. One more s'more. One more night on the buffalo rug. One more canyon view. It's just about enough to make a guy want to come back for more.

 

I didn't even get to write about some of our best memories from the trip: Edness K. Wilkins State Park, sleeping in the tepee, going to Washington Park with all of my old soccer buddies, seeing puppet shows at the library, going to the planetarium. I guess every writer at some point has to make a choice, either write about memories or go make them. Thankfully, Gina takes a lot of pictures, so you can get the visual in our photo album.