We have been counting down to this trip all year. A week in Utah's national parks, then meeting up with some of our Boise Buds. What more could you ask for? Impatient to begin our adventure, Caleb picked me up in the morning from work after a night shift and we drove straight there. I "slept" for about 20 mins then was wide awake with anticipation. We rolled into Moab around 3pm on a Thursday thinking we wouldn't have a problem finding one of the many first-come-first-served BLM campsites. Yeah, ok. We drove around for two hours before we came to the realization that we would not be setting up camp that night. Sleep deprived and frustrated, we drove an hour outside of Moab and crashed at a cheap motel for the night. We woke bright and early and full of optimism. Surly plenty of people would be checking out that morning and we could fill their sites. It didn't take us long to discover that competition was still fierce at 6am. After stalking a few leaving campers to no avail, an adorable couple from Washington ran over and told us they were leaving. SUCCESS! We "dibsed" the site with our coolers and ran across the campground to fill out our slip. Even then, three other groups attempted to grab our spot- but our PNW buds held the site. We really lucked out. The forecast was 90 degrees and sunny- everyday- and our site was one of the few that had shade for most of the day. Right next to the river, and with a view of that infamous Utah red rock-- we set up camp, and exhaled.... let the fun begin.
^^View from Camp
Here's the thing about Arches-- most of the people just want to drive to the parking lots and see the arches from there. If it requires a hike, they probably won't go. That's fine with us!! Long hikes left us alone with massive arches and sweeping views. And as you know, we don't like to share our views! :)
Delicate arch at sunset was spectacular. You can't look away when you are in the presence of this guy. As the sun set, the redness became deeper. It was so beautiful we put up with all the crazy tourists...
A little sunburned, a little sweaty, but so much happy happened this day.
After putting in the miles on Devil's Garden, and boulder jumping until looking down made us queasy-- we took a recover day to stroll through Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park. This time we were the parking lot tourists. Although we didn't work for the views-- they were still kinda fantastic.
The next day we drove 5 hours south to Snow Canyon State Park to meet up with our Boise Buds. Although we had never been there, it felt like coming home seeing these people. The days that followed were full of cold growlers, gourmet camp cooking, and a feeling of total contentment.
Zion. Aptly named. This place quickly jumped to the top of my list. As we took the shuttle deep into the canyon, we looked up at the red/white rocks with bright green plants poking out. I could help but hum the Jurassic Park Theme song. (Go ahead and hum it to yourself now as you look at these pictures...).
The "classic" hike in Zion is Angel's Landing. But we opted for the lesser traveled, more difficult, higher elevation trail of Observation Point. 2,500' of elevation gain in 8 miles straight up hill. I lost count after the 200th switch-back. (Not really, but it felt like that many). The best part of hiking with friends are the frequent breaks that offer much needed laughter to distract us from the crazy trail choice we made. But as we sucked wind, and climbed high about Angel's Landing- we knew it would be worth it.
We worked for this view. So much validation. I love hiking. I love the dread of looking up the switch-backs when you first start and I love the feeling at the top. I love looking down at the river-now a squiggly line- where we started 5 hours ago. But most of all I love the bonds you form with the crew you hike with. You put in the miles together- share every step and every cramp. And you share the satisfaction at the bottom. Then you share some beer. Cheers.
I love road trips. I like hiking too. But sometimes some of the best views are from your car. So for this trip with latched a bunch of Go Pros to our car. Snow, mountains, water, desert- we got it all on this trip. It's a long video- but it was a long trip! 36 hours of driving- every hour was beautiful.
Our next stop was Joshua Tree National Park in southern Cali for some camping. After a winter of cold rain, we were ITCHING to sleep under the sky again. So we explored any place we could that would be warm enough to camp and decided on Joshua Tree. Honestly I hadn't really heard of this park before this year. But wow, what a crazy place. As you drive into the park, the pebbles on the side of the road become rocks, the rocks become boulders, and the boulders turn in to massive structures that make you feel like you just landed on another planet. Again, we hit this place off season, so we were able to claim a camp site at the prized Jumbo Rocks Campground. We found a site nestled amongst 30 foot boulders- probably the craziest place I've ever camped. The fire threw shadows onto the rock walls that made us feel like cavemen. And scaling the boulders with beers in hand to catch the sunset was literally perfect. It was a much needed break from people, work, and schedules. Just us. On Mars.
Joshua Tree is known for its dark skies. So obviously Caleb was all over that- wanting to shoot his first milky way of the season. However, it was a full moon when we were there. Not the best for Caleb-- but I enjoyed the moonlight hiking. Our middle-of-the-night star sessions are some of my favorite times of vacation. We set our alarms for around 3am and begruddingly abandon our warm sleeping bags to step into the crisp night. Some nights, I brew a quick pour over coffee as Caleb gets his gear ready. Then, bundled up, head-lights donned- we start to walk. We walk and walk and walk. Basically until Caleb says stop. Caleb takes a series of test shots, then adjusts, then shoots, then adjusts for what seems like eternity. I've stopped trying to understand it-- I've found my own enjoyment-- While he tinkers, I find a rock/grass/car roof/etc and lie on my back- perfectly still. It's the quietest night I've ever heard. Nothing moves. Behind me I can hear a subtle click of the camera followed by buttons clicking to find the perfect settings. While he works hard at getting the perfect shot- I work hard to stay still and remember the moment. Every once in a while, he asks me to stand in a shot with my head light. I can't move a muscle to enable to the slow shutter speed. But I don't mind. I'm addicted to this Stillness....
Until next time, Mars...
Road tripping from Seattle to Santa Fe! First stop- Yosemite. Yeah, so I'm basically going to just flood this post with John Muir quotes. Because this is the "outdoor quote stereotype" that works for this place....
"It is by far the grandest of all the special temples in nature i was ever permitted to enter." -john muir 1868
“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
“Most people who travel look only at what they are directed to look at. Great is the power of the guidebook maker, however ignorant.”
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can".
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
“In God's wildness lies the hope of the world.”
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”
“Never while anything is left of me shall this... camp be forgotten. It has fairly grown into me, not merely as memory pictures, but as part and parcel of mind and body alike.”
“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.”
^^^Shout out to the best tour guides/ adventure inspirations!! We had a blast with you two!
Seattle was three months of raindrops, coffee mugs, old friends, oysters, mountain glimpses, late night happy hours, crowded streets and discovering people that truly loved their city. Some of the best people in my life have fallen in love with this place and I couldn't call my self a traveler without exploring everything Washington had to offer. I've been terrible at blogging during this assignment- so I'm going to spare you the rambles and just play the highlight reel. Ready? Go.
Our ADORABLE little house in the neighborhood of Ravenna. Our basement apartment was simply the cutest. Not gonna lie, house jumping is one of my favorite things about traveling.
Yep. View from our back deck. Not too bad, Seattle. Not too bad.
Cue basic Pike Place Market pictures....
By far my favorite day in Washington was this one. For my Christmas gift, Caleb surprised me with a day on the water harvesting oysters. We packed our bags with lemons, cocktail sauce and white wine. After a ferry ride, a long drive and waiting for the tide to roll out-- we waded into the ice cold water. At first we didn't see anything and we wondered if we had come all this way for nothing. But all of a sudden we came upon hundreds of fresh water oysters. Minutes later, we were sitting on the beach, shucking oysters and sipping wine. After weeks living downtown, a whole day on a deserted beach was so needed. Though there is a certain beauty to the bustle of the city, Caleb and I have realized on this assignment how much we crave our solitude.
Hogwarts? Or the most fantastic library at University of Washington. I'll be Luna.
Route planning! I love each assignment. But when you get down to that last month- all I want to do is stare at maps and day dream....
Can I freak out about this little Bavarian mountain town for a second!?!? If you ever wanted to go to Germany for Christmas just go to Leavenworth-- or go to Germany-- because that would be cool too. But really. These lights stay up well after the holidays so us die-hard winter fans can stroll down the tiny streets, sipping hot chocolate and giggling with glee over the Christmas charm. No really- I could barley contain myself.
Outdoor brewery fireplace? Christmas lights? Great Beer? Yes. Yes. And Yes. Always. Thanks.
Yes Seattle is awesome. Loved it. So much character packed into this city. BUT--- this assignment had something that none of past ones have had, and none of the future ones could ever had. FRIENDS!!! Dear, dear, dear friends from all the best parts of my life. My oldest friend Megan moved out here with her hubs a few years ago. We met at 4 years old and have more childhood memories than a Mary Kate and Ashley movie. Growing up- I knew she would just be the greatest mom one day. I knew this at like age 7. When I found out she and David would be welcoming their first while I was in Seattle- the stars just aligned. Weeks of watching the bump, and then waiting, waiting and waiting some more for Hudson appear were days I treasured. It felt like our friendship had come full circle. And meeting that little guy Christmas day? Pretty. Stinking. Great. Traveling over the holidays is always hard- but this year, we felt like we were with family and will always be grateful for the time we got to spend with this fam.
And that adorable fuzz ball? Yeah that's Grizzly. I know right?
Another Seattle fave is my high school best friend- Kate. This girl basically embodies everything cool about Seattle. You think we travel hard? Enter miss international. Her grace and zest for life makes me feel like I missed the class in school that taught how to be effortless and carefree. She photographed our wedding and continues to kill it in the city with her incredible talent. Honored to know her and three months in her zip code was clearly not enough. But I think the years of friendship have proven that zip codes don't matter. Also- we should have just been each other's prom dates.
My fellow state hopper, my constant, my most intentional friend, Jessica. Her support and companionship over the years is one of the dearest things in my life. She's in med school, I'm a travel nurse and yet we text probably ten times a day. Whether it's a stupid thought, or a tear jerking trial- she is there. She is the epitome of friendship. And yes- we have dedicated one day a year for our friendship anniversary. Because relationships in life that bend and sway with where you are in your life are special. And our 36hrs together after her drive from Portland was enough to recharge my heart for a year,
*exhale* Seattle. You have been good for my heart, Thank you.
"Your feet will take you where your heart is" -jane ross
As this year comes to a close, I am excited to share our year long project documenting the places that have captured our hearts all across the country. We take pictures constantly. It's hard not to. But I knew early on that I wanted to create an easy way to glance back at our favorite memories. So "The Foot Project" was born. Literally everywhere we go- I am nudging Caleb saying, "Foot picture"! I have made us climb trees, balance on rocks, and hold some crazy poses that looked like a cross between pilates and twister in order to get some of these shots. It was an "easy" way for both of us to be in the picture, but also a way to avoid getting our sweaty post-12-mile-hike-faces in them. Although I drove him crazy with my constant Foot Project scheming, I think we would both agree that the result is a wonderful reminder of this insanely beautiful year. Thanks to all of you for sending us love from across the nation. We miss all of you so much, but we carry your friendship with us to every new city and mountain range.
Happy New Year from your Nomad Nurses!
Boston, Massachusetts - Weekend Trip with fellow adventurers, Brad & Bekah Lidner
White Mountains in New Hampshire - Dog Sledding. Yep. Coolest thing ever.
Manchester, New Hampshire - Right before 5ft of snow convinced us to buy "real" snow boots
Red Rock Amphitheater, Denver, Colorado - Exploring the red rocks while adjusting to the altitude. We were surrounded by fitness freaks that totally judged us for getting short of breath while walking the stairs. Altitude is no joke!
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - Continuing to adjust to the altitude meant easy hikes and frequent stops. But with this view, we were in no hurry.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - The third member of our backpacking crew is Enoch the Eno Hammock. With the mountains in our sights, a hammock break on this hike was the best decision we made all day.
Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming - As we traveled north, we were lucky enough to come across this ranch. Our cozy cottage with uninhabited mountain views and a fireplace in the bedroom was seriously one of the most picturesque places we have ever stayed in. And yes- I did set off the fire alarm three times.
Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming - We set our alarms for sunrise to get this picture: our view from our cottage balcony. I think Timberland should pay us for advertising...
Boise, Iaho - America's best kept secret. Seriously, warm sunny days spent riding the Greenbelt bike path through the city and next to the river consumed our next six months. Never have a fallen in love with a place and the people in it so quickly. This will always be our "Idahome".
Cascade, Idaho - After attempting to camp over Memorial Day weekend and discovering that the mountains were still snow covered, we headed back to Boise defeated. That was until a campground in Cascade offered us a free stay in one of their Yurts to shelter us from the cold and rain. The next day we avoided the storms and managed to get our first taste of the Idaho mountains. Also- Yurts are awesome.
Table Rock in Boise, Idaho - Yes Boise is a desert. And yes it is 110 degrees in the summer. Tip from us- don't climb Table Rock on one of those days.
Castle Rock in Boise, Idaho- Brought a picnic dinner to this sweet spot overlooking the city
Stanley, Idaho - To perpetuate our outdoor travels, Caleb bought a HUGE tent to be our second summer home. This two room plus a screened patio resort is affectionally named Thor and he has kept us warm, and dry through many mountain storms.
Mcgowan Peak in Stanley, Idaho- Our campsite was literally right here. Will never forget lying in my tent and seeing this mountain peak through the clouds in the early morning.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming - We were so happy to be able to meet Caleb's sister and brother-in-law Tessa & Nate and our niece and nephew Arden & Adlee in Yellowstone. A family of black bears, hundreds of buffalo and elk, and an over friendly coyote made sure these kids were able to check some animal sightings off their lists.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming - Morning Glory Pool.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming - Once you escape the tour buses and selfie sticks, the vastness of this place breathtaking.
Camp Barnabas in Purdy, Missouri- One of the most rewarding adventures of our summer was volunteering as nurses at this wonderful camp for kids with special needs. I was a counselor there in high school and I aways dreamt about coming back as a nurse. Being able to be there with my husband, my little sister as a counselor, and my Dad as a cabin dad was incredible. A piece of my heart will always be here.
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada - Due to a wildfire, our plan to go to Glacier National Park had to change quickly. We ended up in Banff, Canada and it was the best Plan B that has ever been had.
Lake Lousie in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada - You can't make the color of this water up. Getting here ate 6'am to have this view all to ourselves was totally worth it.
Big Beehive Mountain in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada - A 12 mile hike in crazy altitude was the most insane but gratifying decision we made this summer. This summit was our lunch spot and our "Everest",
Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada - Last mile. Our legs felt like jello. Caleb was super pumped that I made him get this picture after 7 hours of hiking. No "social media sparkles" here! Arguments were had over this project!
Boise, Idaho - The PNW (pacific northwest) got to me and gave me a craving for these Birkentocks. Caleb knew he was simply ahead of the times in Ohio having had his for years.
Bench Lakes in Stanley, Idaho - Our dear college friends, Chad & Beckie Fitch came to visit us. Although we almost killed them with the altitude, we couldn't let them leave without sharing these views with them.
Stanley Lake, Stanley, Idaho - Last view of the summer from our favorite beach. Even better sharing it with friends.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon - Caleb's parents made to journey to Idaho to visit. We took advantage of being out west with them and traveled to Crater Lake, the Oregon Coast and the Redwoods before visiting some west coast family members.
Boise, Idaho - Fall in Boise.
Puget Sound, Seattle, Washington - Winter in Seattle may bring some rain, but mild temps and no snow is fine with us! When the sun is out- we will play!
Seattle, Washington - Bussing around the city. We are more at home in the mountains, but we are trying to explore this city and all its hidden adventures.
Quilcene Beach, Washington - By far one of the best things we've done. Oyster harvesting. With a backpack full of lemons, cocktail sauce and white wine-- we feasted.
The year may be over, but our travels continue. stay tuned.
"Certainly travel is more than the seeing of sights: it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living' -miriam beard
Well it's almost that time. Almost time to pack up and move on. Now that we have our next assignment, (yay Seattle!) we find our time here dwindling. I have to say it's bitter sweet. We love what we do. We both share the "travel itch" that starts to creep in as we explore the internet for next assignment adventures. But I have to say: Boise, you have been the best surprise. Like most everyone else in the country- our recruiter said Idaho and we said.....say it with me now..."Potatoes!?" It took us about 5 hours to discover that was not what Boise was all about.
Boise is Beauty, Bikes, Bohemian, Breweries, BSU Broncos, greenBelt (I cheated), Bewitching, Block-parties, Blue skies, Beige foothills, Boisterous 8th St, Bike Baskets, Boise river float, Burly Beards, and Bumpy trails.
We adored our time here. It felt like a home. And part of that feeling came from our absolutely adorable Air BnB we rented right downtown. Caleb and I aren't huge big city people. But Boise is the perfect "Little Big City". Enough of a city to have tons to do, everywhere is walkable/bikable, but yet it felt like a town. This is our favorite apartment we have stayed in yet so I thought I would share our cute place. We called this blue, renovated Tudor home and will be sad to leave it.
If you ever find yourself in Boise (Which you should totally try), stay in this lovely place!!!
We have had such a blast exploring this summer that I have totally dropped the ball with posting about them. Some days I ask myself why I write this blog. I'm going to be honest with you- I am not a blogger. I feel so strange every time I sit down to do it. I don't know why- I guess I just wonder why anyone would really want to read about what we spend our time doing. I feel silly gushing about this restaurant or that mountain. But then I remember why we are traveling. We are making these memories with each other and as we make them, we are creating this special part in our hearts that we can revisit when we are old. So I guess that is what this blog has become. It's just exploring that part of my heart. So although I still don't feel like a 'blogger', finding a place to record our adventures is worth while.
SO- now that my little rant is over, I can get on with easily one of the best trips we have ever taken. The plan was to go to Glacier National Park in Montana- buttttt mother nature had other plans. Thanks to a large forest fire, our campground closed and our reservations were canceled just a few days before we were supposed to leave. Now many of you know how much of a planner I am. I made Prom Packets in high school telling our group where to be when. (Not even ashamed). My best friends are Yelp, Trip Adviser, Open Table and Air BnB. I have been known to make a reservation two months in advance and be the only ones in the restaurant when we get there. So when a trip that I have planned and researched gets taken out of my hands, you would think that would make me flip. However, I am consistently trying to take a cue from my laid back husband. He has this wonderful ability to be calm and content through everything and I knew he was the one for me when he told me to 'chill out' when I was stressing. Between him and my dear friends Jessica and Bekah, we threw together Plan B- Plan Banff- if you will. We would head further north to Alberta, Canada explore the milky blue lakes and spectacular glaciers. Now if we can only find our passports.......
...ok there they are. Off we go!
Ive been dabbling with our GoPro. Bear we me- I'm not a pro yet. But this video gives me goosebumps as I relive the views from this trip.
We packed our time with as many sights as we could see. We woke up early and left as soon as our water for coffee was boiling. (Camping french press is an absolute must for us). Our first day was an easy half day hike through a beautiful wooded area opening up to a gorgeous lake. We scrambled across a boulder field and found a secluded little spot to eat lunch and relax.
For our second day we decided to string along a crazy loop of trails that would come out to just about 18K round trip. That sounded doable to us. We planned on taking all day and starting early. HOWEVER- we didn't think about what 18k IN THE MOUNTAINS would feel like...between the elevation and switch backs that were so steep you could drag your hands on the trail in front of you- it is an under-statement to say that this challenged us. Bit just when I was ready to pack it in we were rewarded with one incredible view after another.
We started our morning at 0700 at the famous Lake Louise. There is no sugar coating it- this lake is freaking amazing. Our dear friends Brad and Bekah honeymooned there and woke up to that view every morning. There is something so romantic and pure about it, and at 7am- we didn't have to share that view with many. During the height of the day, this lake is an opaque, milky blue but in the morning, the air is so still that it was a mirror. Lake Louise- you are a gem.
We continued on a trail that was up-hill for the next 2 hours. Sooo wasn't awake enough for that yet. While we were getting our morning cardio on- we were easily passed by a young woman with a heavy backpack. We rolled our eyes an continued. Little did we know- we would see her again soon.
At the top of the 'mini mountain' is Lake Agnus and a special little treat for its hikers. A Swiss Tea House was built right on the lake shore in the 1920's. It has no electricity and the water for the tea is hauled by buckets right from the crystal clear water. We reached the adorable abode around 8:30 and were so ready for some steamy morning tea. Despite our climb, it was pretty chilly at the top. As we settled down for our tea and biscuits we saw a familiar face. The young woman that passed us on the trail was our waitress lugging in huge tea pots from the lake! What a morning commute! I will never complain about traffic on the way to the hospital anymore!
We continued up a series of trails to Little Beehive and enjoyed the view of Lake Louise- where we began just a few hours before. Did we really start all the way down there??
While going through the pictures of this trip, we got to this part of the hike and I asked Caleb, "Where are all the pictures of this part?!" Then I remembered that we were huffing and puffing up some crazy switch backs and were just focused on making it to the top. As we approached the trail to our highest summit I pointed up and said "That's not it, is it?" To which Caleb replied, "No way that's way too high up". Ummmm just kidding- that's it. Good-Ness, I thought I was going to die. The elevation, the lose rocks, the sore muscles all came together. But-- we were determined to find the most epic lunch spot ever. And boy did we. After ducking and scooting- we made it out to a ledge that would have made both of our moms gasp. (Don't worry Jolene and Sheryll, we didn't hang our legs off like we originally wanted. The rocks were just a bit too lose for comfort). But eating lunch at the edge of the world was well worth it. And looking down where we started five hours before felt like such an accomplishment...until we realized we would have to get alllllll the wayyyy back down.....
Making our way down the mountains proved to be just as hard as going up- just a different kind of difficulty. We weren't out of breath, but our knees and ankles were killing us. Our hiking sticks had to be strategically placed one by one to keep us from falling on our butts or slipping down the lose rocks. I told myself I would probably wipe out three or four times but surprised myself by staying upright the whole time! It was painstakingly slow going. At the bottom we could have continued down to Lake Louise. But we are gluttons for punishment and continued on the 8K trail to another tea house. Seriously though- we should have stopped. We were running very low on water, energy, and patience for tourists. (Yes I know we are tourists also. But as I have said before- we strive to be as least 'touristy' as possible). ---And no, our pictures above are NOT with selfie sticks- those are with the GoPro and that's allowed ok!? Anyway- the second tea house was not about sipping hot tea. It was about gulping lemonade and buying over priced water because we had gone through two camelbacks. No pictures were taken here. Because frankly, we were not in the best moods. I'm going to be honest and say that a lot of this hike was arguing about rationing water and stopping to catch our breath while being passed by people who had NOT been hiking for 7 1/2 hours straight.... don't judge me visor-wearing-lady! I had all intentions of taking a victory picture at the car...but all we cared about was AC, and getting back to camp for naps and showers. But we conquered something together that day. And I'm glad we took every step.
Evenings are for easy, enjoyable hikes. And let me tell you- we have cracked the code to avoiding crowds at national parks. Start the big hikes at the crack of dawn, and hit the popular spots at dinner time. So we took a leisurely "green" hike at Johnston Canyon. This canyon is one of the famous spots in Banff. It's like their Old Faithful. It got so much foot traffic that they paved the path and built it through the canyon. It was a lovely walk by ourselves and Caleb got to explore some slow shuttered pics of the beautiful water.
Dear Banff, you crashed into our hearts by accident. But we cannot wait to return and breathe you in once more.
"And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in,
The hardest part of being travel nurses is being away from family. So when Caleb's sister, brother-in-law and their two kids decided to travel across the county this summer, we knew we need to intercept them when they headed out west. They spent a few weeks hitting up the national parks as they road tripped from Ohio to Wyoming. We were able to see them for a few days in July and the fact that it was in Yellowstone was just a plus! Yet another park we could cross off our list this summer. Caleb and his sister, Tessa, had both been there as kids. My in-laws took a whole month one summer in the late 90's and took the kids on an epic RV trip across the country to the national parks. This is one of my husbands favorite childhood memories and he says it helped shape his love for raw, untainted nature. Now, over a decade later, Nate and Tessa along with my nephew, Arden and niece, Adlee visited some of the same places. Yellowstone was beautiful, but experiencing it with the kids was special. Looking at things through the eyes of a child changes how you see them.
I wish I could say we had perfect weather and everyday was filled with sunshine. But I can't. It was cold and rainy most of the time we were there. Lots of layers were necessary during the day and we were pretty jealous of the Klaiber's sub-zero sleeping bags at night. Rain or shine- we didn't let it keep us from exploring.
And during breaks in weather, the colors of this place came to life. I couldn't get over the palette that this landscape offered. I wanted to take paint samples from the moss, mud pots, glacier water, sulfur pits, and milky blue ponds and design a whole house around them. They were some of the purest and most vibrant colors I have ever seen.
One thing I didn't expect about Yellowstone was the insanity of the tourists. Yes, I know technically we were tourists as well but we try to be as least annoying as possible. However, it seemed almost everyone else in the park was willing to start a two hour traffic jam over ONE ELK by the side of the road. I was warned about this but had no idea the degree of absolute bedlam an animal sighting would create. Most of the time we rolled our eyes and complained as we inched our way through the traffic and dodged tourists as they sprinted across the street to attempt to obtain The Perfect Instagram of the buffalo 100 yards away...good luck with that folks. Other times we watched as they came dangerously close to being board to death in front of 50 cars. But one time while crawling along with the windows down, we heard the one word that the kids have waiting the whole trip to hear. "Bear!" That was it. Before we knew it- we were 'those' tourists. We had to. These kids were going to see a bear. We had promised them. So we followed like ants at a picnic to a spot overlooking the valley. As we bobbed and weaved to the front of the crowd we realized the kids would get more than they bargained for. Not just one bear, but a family! Daddy bear was lumbering down the hill and Mommy bear was walking along two adorable cubs! They looked like little puppies frolicking across the valley. Using Nate's new, incredible binoculars, we all got our Bear Sighting. We made it back to the car- satisfied. (No we did not get a picture. It would have been 4 brown dots.) We thought we saw our bears for the trip, but we came across a young female grizzly on a trail later that day. We followed suit with the smart tourists that turned on their heels and booked it out of there, as we shook our heads at the not so smart tourists that tried to get some pictures. Seriously people are just dumb.
...But I did snap a picture of this 'little' guy on the road. I mean, we waiting in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour and a half because of him so I might as well hang my head out the window like everyone else. (We did not stop traffic.)
Caleb and I went for a morning hike around the lake and met another little friend. This coyote pranced passed us twice during our walk. The first time he came around the corner and scared the crap out of us. We hooted and hollered and tried to scare it away. It just stared at us like we were idiots. After we moved off the trail, he just pranced right by. I think we were just interrupting his morning laps.
My husband has developed a slight obsession with night sky photography. It's super complicated and time consuming but he insists on taking at least one midnight stroll everywhere we go to capture the stars. It involves hiking to the perfect spot, setting up the tripod just right, multiple setting adjustments, a camera remote and a shutter speed of at least 25seconds. While all of this is being played with, I am usually sitting in a camping chair, wrapped in a blanket and sipping wine. I like to think I offer moral support. So while I'm sipping and staring, Caleb takes pretty amazing pictures like these:
Check the shooting star in the one below!!
While hiking with our coyote, Caleb and I met a sweet old couple on the trail. We have learned one thing while traveling: if we meet an old adorable traveling couple and they recommend something to do- do it. So they told us to wake up at 0430 and watch the sunrise at Artist's Point over the Canyon. SO- we did! It was cold. Kids were sleepy. There was lots of fog. But we stuck it out- and boy was it worth it. We went from viewing the canyon with 300 other people to being the only ones on the ridge. We even got to play with our GoPro time lapse. Video below.
We missed this family so much. And whether it was running from bears or playing skipbo in 'Thor' the tent, we had a blast with you guys! Love you!
Don't get me wrong- the warm weather and bike-friendly city of Boise has been warm and welcoming. But the chilly days and cozy coats of our New England travels were full of adventure. I thought I would throwback to one of our favorite weekends. A few days spent in Boston with some of our dear friends from Baltimore. Though it was a balmy 38 degrees and rainy the whole time, we didn't let that hold us back. We covered it all: historic architecture, oysters, the Original Sam Adams Brewery, packed coffee houses, Cocktails and BBQ from a Top Chef restaurant, Restoration Hardware flagship store, and mouth watering dim sum. But what made it special were the people we wandered these ancient streets with- and I mean literally 'wandered' as we got lost quite frequently. Lesson learned- Caleb always gets the map.
I'm honored to show off the talent of my dear friend in this post. All photo cred gets thrown her way. Check her out! She is amazing and we were lucky to have her as our personal paparazzi for the weekend! Link to her work below!
Caleb is probably informing us we walked 11 blocks in the wrong direction- again.
"I guess god made boston on a wet sunday. muted in color and bustling with spirit"