A full day with the Winkles started with a hike, continued with a big group lunch and a walking tour of downtown, and ended with a pizza night.
Since we had grabbed food the previous night, we had everything we needed for our breakfast. The morning activity was a hike in the hills, so we drove over to the hotel in case other people needed rides. It sounded as if there were plenty of cars, so we got directions and proceeded to the trailhead.
Ridge to Rivers hike
The Ridge to Rivers trail system is just north of downtown, and has an impressive number of paths. In addition to hiking, many are accessible to mountain bikes, and there are large areas which you can have unleashed dogs.
We were the first group at the trailhead, so found the right trailhead and looked around. We actually then went up to the next trailhead which had restrooms, then went back to see if people had shown up. We figured they hadn't, but after a while, we weren't sure, so we decided to proceed anyway.
The trail that Brenda had mapped out went up to one junction, at which point you could either turn around and go back or continue on a further loop. As we started out, we were going at about the same pace with a man who was out with his two dogs. One of the dogs stuck close to him, but the other ran between us and her owner several times. We had gone on the full loop of Brenda's hike, and every now and then the same dog would run back to us, say hi, then run back up the trail.
As the loop went up the ridge, we got some great city views. We finished up the loop and got back to the original trail, looked towards the trailhead, and saw a large group of Winkles making their way towards us. We decided to join the group doing the loop, so we ended up doing that part twice, enjoying chatting with people as we went back up to and down from the ridge.
Melody gave her new boots a trial run on this hike, and they seemed to work well. Disaster averted!
We ended up giving Curt, Michael, and Ethan a ride back to the hotel. Curt, Melody, and I enjoyed hearing about sports in the the St. Louis area from the kids as we worked our way towards downtown. After dropping them off, we went back to our room so we could clean up and walk to the group lunch.
People were already gathering when we showed up at for lunch at Lucky Fin's, a local seafood restaurant. There were enough people to fill two very long tables. We sat near people we hadn't had a chance to talk with very much before, which was fun. It's amazing that no matter who it was, we were always able to find common shared experiences, whether it be travel, hobbies, or other interests.
Once lunch was over, Brenda led a walk through the core downtown area, pointing out various landmarks. Of course we all waited in line to get ice cream, since the temperature was in the 90s. We also went into the basement of the Idanha Hotel, which has a fair number of ghost stories. There was also a chocolate shop which sold chocolate high heel shoes.
We then went up to the Idaho Capitol Building, and wandered all around. Given it was late in the afternoon on Friday, it was pretty empty. We were even able to poke our heads into both the House and Senate chambers. Lots of the group gathered around the various levels of the rotunda under the dome, taking pictures both up and down.
Back to the hotel, where we went directly to the hospitality rooms. A few people who didn't go on the walking tour were chatting there, so we joined them and enjoyed hearing stories and interactions between people who haven't seen each other for so long.
Before too long it was time for dinner. Pizzas arrived in plentiful quantity, and we sat outside to enjoy food and conversation. When everyone was done, Brenda had each person stand up and introduce themselves. Cake was then served; the idea was that since people have birthdays throughout the year, the cake wished happy birthday to everyone (it was Miguel's actual birthday, though, so he got served first).
Next was the group photo. Brenda did a great job organizing people and balancing the shot. I had put my camera nearby taking a movie, and grabbed a frame for my version of the photo. Afterwards, Keith, Bev, and Kenny took out their instruments (trombone, clarinet, and trombone) and performed a couple pieces. Bev then had people gather in a circle while she played music for a chicken dance; she sped up for several repeats, then finished by going very slowly and finishing quickly. Everyone who participated seemed to have a good time doing so.
Cousins night was to follow on the terrace, but since it was getting late (and we still needed to walk the couple miles back to our room), we said our good nights.