Our "lazy Sunday" morning started off perfectly with the kids waking up excitedly and itching to get out the door. My wife and I had promised them a hike for "good behavior" over the previous week, and we had teased them with a short jaunt on the Devil's Backbone trail the day before.

"Are we there yet?" my son asked as we pulled out the driveway on the way to begin our adventure. "Not yet" I replied automatically to the question I have heard a million times before. This has become our ritual, and I have decided to cherish it while it lasts. Each. And. Every. Time.

When we arrived at the trailhead, I realized we had just arrived in the nick of time. Most of Northern Colorado had a similar mind to our own, but luckily we beat enough of them that we could find a spot. That would NOT be the case for the poor souls that arrived not long after we set out on the trail!

The weather on Saturday had been cloudy, chilly, and a bit wet from the snow that fell Friday evening. That snow was still on the hillsides, and had reminded me that I wasn't quite ready for the snowy season to be gone. But today was beautiful! Perfect temperature, perfect amount of sun, and everyone in a great mood.

We brought our dog Titus along as we always try to do, and he shared our enthusiasm to be outside. I took the leash from my wife because his 1 year old muscular frame could probably pull a two horse wagon up the trail, especially with the energy he was displaying today. I had to keep him on a short leash just to prevent him from pulling me over!

For how many cars were in the parking lot, the trail was remarkably clear. People were out and about, but it didn't feel nearly as crowded as I initially feared. It appeared that many of the people mountain biking the lower trail. I made a mental note that I need to bring my bike up here sometime soon. It has been neglected in my garage far too long.

Titus and I took the lead, followed by the kiddos, then my wife's watchful eye. We took the upper path towards "The Keyhole". The kids wondered what the keyhole was, but soon were lost in enjoying their surroundings. They were little troopers. They had their new hiking boots on, but were lamenting the fact that they didn't have a backpack like their daddy did. I think they need to be careful what they wish for, because I am ready to let them carry their own gear ASAP!

We quickly ascended the trail, stopping for a couple short water breaks. Lots of kids and dogs were on the trail, and everyone was in a great mood with the perfect weather. 40 degrees sounds cold, but it was perfect! I had to shed one of my layers, settling on just a tshirt and my down vest. I couldn't have been happier.

Kiddos loving the trail

At the first overlook, our kids ooohhed and aaaahhhhed at the view. Another couple came up with their dog named Ocean. Our dogs got to know each other, and we chatted for a few minutes. Like Titus, Ocean was a rescue, and they had some similar backgrounds. We said our goodbyes and headed up the trail once more.

The trail got a little bit steeper at this point, but the backbone rock formations were stunning, as they have always been to me since I was a little kid. I tried to take as many pictures as I could. I have really been digging on my new Samsung S10+, and I found myself taking lots of wideangle pictures because I think they look pretty awesome.

We finally arrived at the keyhole.  I say "finally" only because we meandered up the mountain pretty lazily. The kids were floored to see the giant hole through the rocks looking out over the valley. They excitedly climbed down to get a closer view. It was definitely picture time!

Through the Keyhole

Several other hikers were there and offered to take our picture, and Titus tried to cuddle with everyone. Ocean and her pack climbed up from the other side of keyhole, and said hello once more before they continued on.

The kids didn't want to leave, but we knew that we needed to start heading back so that we could grab lunch. Much of the return trip was downhill, so it was quick and easy. The kids didn't complain one time, so I hope that we can do some longer trips in the future! All in all, it was the perfect little hike to end a nice weekend.  Can't wait till next week!