Disney’s Fort Wilderness and a Hurricane

If you haven’t figured this out yet, we are a family of Disney fanatics. Every year when we head back east, you can be sure we will spend some time at our favorite campground in the country — Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

In my last post I wrote about our journey back east, and how we arrived back to Florida just in time for Hurricane Dorian. We spent a few days with our good friends the Reyes family who are always so gracious to allow us to park at their house whenever we’re passing through the area.

While hanging out with the Reyes family, we kept an eye on the forecast for the hurricane. We were scheduled to arrive at Ft. Wilderness on Labor Day, and by the Saturday before it looked like the hurricane would be turning up the coast and not have much impact on central Florida. So we went ahead with our plans and continued on to Disney on Labor Day.

Since leaving Montana we traveled 2,700 miles, and you can imagine we were so ready to finally get somewhere and stay for awhile. We got into our site, got set up and were so happy to finally relax and not move for a month. But then, not 2 hours later, we got the news that Ft. Wilderness is closing due to the impending hurricane and they are re-locating everyone to the Disney Resort hotels.

What?!? I mean, don’t get me wrong, Disney hotels are amazing, but we just drove 2,700 miles to get here and we really don’t want to pack up and move again anytime soon. But then my Disney Pixie Agent, Tabitha worked her magical pixie dust and got us into a Disney Boardwalk Villa. I think it also had a lot to do with God blessing us beyond anything I can ask or think.

20190909_201655

My favorite Disney Pixie agent, Tabitha & I at Chip & Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-Long

70582999_10217837005790442_5418976699972845568_n

Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is incredible, and one of the few Disney resorts we have never stayed at. We always wanted to, but it’s just so expensive! You can imagine we were all super excited when we found out where we were being evacuated to.

20190903_131103

Pool and water slide at Disney’s Boardwalk

The time to relax and stay put for awhile would have to wait. Ft. Wilderness instructed us to park our RV in the Magic Kingdom parking lot along with all the other RVs that had to evacuate the campground, and we were going to the Boardwalk! All Disney hotels are pet-friendly when a hurricane is approaching, so even Fat Cat got to come along on this adventure.

69985306_2945878385439104_840381291437228032_n

Ft. Wilderness evacuees parked at Magic Kingdom

We certainly looked like the Beverly Hillbillies strolling into that fancy hotel with our grocery bags full of everything we had to empty from our fridge, a laundry basket full of dirty laundry (because our villa had a washer/dryer in it — free laundry!), a litter box and a very squirmy and unhappy fat cat.

70318521_2946037818756494_2946505512478310400_o

I don’t even know how to caption this!

Once we got settled we enjoyed a fabulous 3 nights at the Boardwalk, and the storm hardly affected us at all. One night it got a little windy and rained a bit, but that was it. The night of the storm, all the Disney parks were closed so our hotel made all arcade games free for the night — the kids loved that!

20190904_194307_HDR

Disney’s Boardwalk

20190904_195135_HDR

Sunsets at the Boardwalk

20190904_194742_HDR

My parents were planning to head to Orlando that week, and since the storm was not going to affect central Florida, they went ahead with their plans. It was so much fun to have them come for a visit!

69768531_10217873235175900_3498210524259155968_n

69679704_10217881545463652_7772277869446692864_n

Fat Cat had her own adventure while we were there. On our last night, we headed out to dinner with Mom and Dad, and when we got back to the room, we couldn’t find the cat anywhere. She’s been known to hide, but we really looked everywhere and thought that somehow she got out of the room. We even thought she may have jumped off the balcony, and we were on the 3rd floor!

20190903_172624

Fat Cat on top of the fridge, before she got lost

Finally, after hours of searching, Chris heard her collar jingling behind the kitchen cabinets. Apparently, she climbed up on top of the cabinets, found an opening and climbed down inside the hole. Once she got in there she couldn’t get out. Chris had a heck of a time trying to get her out, but finally succeeded. That cat sure knows how to get herself into trouble!

20190903_121204 copy

Kitchen in the villa — notice the arrow pointing to where Chris found the cat

69525910_2945878775439065_6814834353843994624_n

This is Fat Cat stuck in her hiding place

20190904_220520

This is the hole on top of the cabinet she crawled into — forgive the dusty mess, it’s not my house. πŸ˜‰

After 3 nights of living in the lap of luxury, Ft. Wilderness re-opened and we were able to move back. The morning we got back it was weird to see the campground so empty. Of course, it didn’t take long for it to fill back in.

20190903_112012

Empty camping loop at Ft. Wilderness

We were so happy to finally be settled in our site at our favorite campground! And we stayed for most of the month of September. Jake and Jesse both have September birthdays, and that’s where they wanted to celebrate.

We were planning to get another Disney parks annual pass starting around Halloween, so for September we got a water parks pass instead. That worked out well since it was so hot, and it was great to spend so much time at Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

20190906_114345~2

20190906_120113_Burst22

20190906_124250~2

20190906_125313

September was a fun month of celebrating Jesse’s 13th and Jake’s 15th birthdays, and seeing friends and family again.

20190921_182916_HDR~2

Danny & Kim came down to visit from Fernandina

70742935_10216751351351061_6695850797533495296_n

The Lundy’s came to hang out with us at the Campfire Sing-a-Long

70605648_10216751350791047_7217607345956716544_n

Margie and I with Chip & Dale

20190926_180233

Jake is not quite old enough to drive yet, but he liked pretending on the golf cart. Notice a strange Fat Cat in the back seat with a cute Jesse Bear.

 

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

St. Louis with Friends

We started feeling homesick, missing friends and family while we were in Montana, so we decided to head back east about a month early. We did some crazy, long drives for 4 days.

The first day we didn’t even make it out of Montana, that is one big state! We spent the second night in South Dakota and had our first tornado scare. We were in the RV eating dinner during a thunderstorm, when we suddenly heard tornado sirens. We looked outside and saw lights flashing at the campground laundry room (I assume that is to let us know where to go for shelter), so we grabbed the cat and made a run for it.

We hid out under tables in the laundry room while praying and waiting out the storm. Thankfully the storm passed quickly and we survived to tell about it. πŸ˜‰

The third night we spent in Kansas City, and then finally made it to St. Louis on day 4. We spent a few days exploring St. Louis with our good friends the Santo Tomas family.

20190821_101348_HDR~2

We knew the Santo Tomas family when we lived in Fernandina Beach. Rachel & I got to know each other in our homeschool group co-op back then. They are a military family and also live in their RV. They are now stationed in St. Louis, and it was so nice to catch up with them there.

St. Louis is amazing with so many awesome things to see and do! If you’ve followed me long enough, you know I am NOT a city person and typically avoid cities at all costs. However, visiting a city with another family that is familiar with the area, and had access to a shuttle that would do the driving for us, made visiting this city easy and fun.

Our first stop was the Gateway Arch, a must-do in St. Louis. We rode to the top of the arch in the little pods.

20190821_093449~2

Inside the pod heading up to the top of the arch

20190821_094103~2

View of the city from the top of the arch

20190821_094125~2

View of the Mississippi River from the other side of the arch

20190821_094203_HDR~2

At the top of the arch

20190821_094242_HDR~2

My beautiful friend Rachel

20190821_100354(1)

The kids

20190821_101103_HDR

After visiting the arch we went to the City Museum, another must-do in St. Louis. This museum is a several-stories-high giant playground that is fun for both adults and children.

20190821_105936~2

20190821_110023~2

Even the adults have fun!

20190821_134610_HDR~2

Another day we visited the St. Louis Zoo and Science Center, both are free!

20190823_095357_HDR~2

20190823_102716~2

20190823_105807~2

20190823_122526~2

20190823_130039

20190823_171656~2

We had such a great time visiting the Santo Tomas family, we were all sad to leave! I think we’ll be seeing more of them next year though, so instead of saying “good bye”, we say “see you next time!”

After we left St. Louis, we spent a night near Nashville, then the next day arrived in Georgia to visit my sister and brother-in-law for a few days. Then we headed on to Florida and parked (or moochdocked) at the Reyes’ house for a few days.

Hurricane Dorian was heading to Florida at this time, and we had plans to arrive at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Campground on Labor Day. We kept an eye on the hurricane while at the Reyes’ house, while trying to decide if we needed to leave Florida or not.

Imagine! We just drove such a long way from Montana, only to get back to Florida just in time for a hurricane! Did we come back too early? Stay tuned for that story next.

Categories: Illinois, Missouri | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glacier National Park

I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post! We have been busy, and we’re already back on the east coast, so I guess it’s time to catch up. After we left Canada we headed back to Montana to visit one of my favorites, Glacier National Park.

20190813_174000_HDR~2

We last visited this park in 2016, and we did so much hiking and exploring back then. This time we didn’t do much at all, and I attribute that to the fact that we were all exhausted after our adventures exploring Banff, Jasper and Kootenay in Canada.

After my parents left Canada and we headed to Montana, it seemed we were all a little burned out on hiking and we were starting to miss friends and family back east. Sometimes when we’re out west I think I could never get tired of it, but I guess there really does come a time when you just want to go “home”, wherever that may be.Β So, we only hiked a couple of our favorites, then we pointed our wheels back east.

Our first hike was to Avalanche Lake. We started out on the Trail of Cedars and continued on to Avalanche Lake, approximately 4 miles out and back. The beginning of the trail has some pretty river views and waterfalls.

20190810_180134

20190810_180732

This hike is pretty crowded, but starts to thin out after you get past these water views. The hike continues through woods and ultimately ends at beautiful Avalanche Lake.

20190810_165919_HDR~2

20190810_170659~2

Another day we hiked to Hidden Lake from Logan Pass. This is one of my favorites, but it’s also very crowded.

20190813_170606_HDR~2

20190813_190626_HDR~2

20190813_184338

20190813_184132_HDR~2

The crowds thin out significantly once you get past the scenic overlook. We like to continue past there and hike down to the lake. It’s challenging climbing back up though which is probably why that part is much less crowded.

Hiking down to the lake is wonderful, the views are incredible and the lake is so peaceful. We brought snacks and hung out at the lake for awhile until we mustered up the energy for the long hike back.

20190813_180648_HDR~2

20190813_181624_HDR~2

Chris and Jesse skipping rocks

20190813_182602_HDR~2

My little Jake who is now taller than me

We saw lots of mountain goats on the hike!

20190813_172625~2

20190813_192156~2

20190813_172638~2

My favorite hike we’ve ever done in our travels was to Grinnell Glacier. We didn’t do that this time, but I wrote about it last time if you are interested:Β Grinnell Glacier. Like I said, we were all feeling a little burned out and just didn’t have the energy for that one this time, but I would love to go back and do it again someday.

When we left Glacier, we spent 4 long travel days heading towards St. Louis to visit some friends and tour the city. That was a blast! I’ll write about that next.

Categories: Montana, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kootenay National Park

We actually went to Kootenay National Park before my parents met us to visit Banff and Jasper, but we went back for a quick visit with Mom and Dad so I decided to write about it last in my series of posts about our time in the Canadian Rockies.

Prior to heading to Banff we stayed at Redstreak Campground in Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia. This campground is part of Kootenay National Park. The campsites were huge and Jesse was excited that we had trees where we could set up the slack line kit.

20190717_190537

The campground is set up high above the town of Radium Hot Springs and the views of the town below were beautiful.

20190718_164040_HDR~2

20190718_163943_HDR~2

There were also big horn sheep frequently hanging out at the campground.

20190721_111151_HDR~2

We hiked to Dog Lake one evening. It started pouring when we arrived at the trailhead, but quickly stopped so we were able to hike, but the hike was super muddy. There were a couple of suspension bridges over the Kootenay River, then the rest of the hike was through the woods until you get to Dog Lake. The total hike was 3.2 miles out and back.

20190718_173404~2

20190718_173515_HDR~2

Kootenay River

20190718_173900_HDR~2

The kids thought the bridge was pretty cool, but the muddy hike, not so much. Jesse complained most of the way. πŸ˜‰

20190718_181438_HDR~2

Dog Lake

20190718_181755_HDR~2

On the way back to the campground we stopped at this beautiful viewpoint!

20190718_191802_HDR~2

Kootenay Valley Viewpoint

Kootenay River is such a brilliant shade of turquoise blue, especially on a sunny day.

20190721_104346~2

Kootenay River

When we went back to visit Kootenay with my parents we first stopped at the Continental Divide. At this point the rivers on the east side flow towards the Atlantic and the rivers on the west side flow towards the Pacific. This point was also the province line between Alberta and British Columbia, and the line that separates the 2 nationals parks, Banff and Kootenay.

20190801_152054~2

Continental Divide

Then we did a short, easy 1.2 mile out and back hike to the Paint Pots which were basically mud pots that look like paint.

20190801_155246_HDR~2

20190801_155640_HDR~2

20190801_160954_HDR

Paint Pots

20190801_161027_HDR~2

Paint Pots

20190801_161443_HDR~2

More gorgeous views along the hike.

20190801_162804_HDR~2

20190801_162750~2

That wraps up my posts about our time in the Canadian Rockies. I was sad to see that come to an end. It’s hard to describe in words just how amazing that part of the world is. How can we ever top that adventure?

 

Categories: canada, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Icefields Parkway and Jasper National Park

We left the RV at the campground in Banff, and took a couple of days to drive up the Icefields Parkway and see Jasper National Park. This is yet another thing that you might want to add to your bucket list. The Icefields Parkway is 230 kilometers (or as Americans would say 140 miles), but there are so many amazing places to see along the way that you should really plan to spend an entire day making the drive between Banff and Jasper.

20190729_085914_HDR~2

Our first stop was a quick stop to see Herbert Lake

Then we made another quick stop to see Bow Lake.

20190729_094036_HDR~2

Bow Lake

20190729_094547~2

Bow Lake

The next stop needed more time and involved a fairly short hike to Peyto Lake. Definitely do this hike and spend some time admiring this breathtaking beauty.

20190729_103443~2

Peyto Lake

The hike to the main viewpoint is 1.7 miles out and back. It’s uphill the entire way there so be prepared for that. The viewpoint is ridiculously crowded, so based on a tip from some other hikers, we ventured up the trail to the left of the viewpoint. You don’t have to walk very far to find some spectacular views away from the crowds.

20190729_104228~2

(A side note for anyone who may be visiting this area for the rest of 2019, unfortunately you won’t be able to see Peyto Lake. The parking area and hiking trails are closed for the rest of the year, but will re-open next year).

After Peyto Lake we continued on up the Icefields Parkway and stopped for lunch at a picnic area at the Saskatchewan River Crossing.

20190729_115242_HDR~2

Saskatchewan River Crossing

Next we splurged on a really cool adventure. We went on the Columbia Icefields Adventure to tour and walk on the Athabasca Glacier and the Skywalk. This was definitely the highlight of our trip up the parkway.

20190729_130659_HDR~2

View of the glaciers from the Columbia Icefields Center — Athabasca Glacier is on the right

To get on the glacier, you ride in an Ice Explorer. We had an excellent tour guide named Bruce.

20190729_145048_HDR

Ice Explorer

More ice explorers on the glacier.

20190729_141830~2

20190729_143057~2

Once you get on the glacier, you get to spend about 25-30 minutes walking around, taking pictures and even trying a drink of the ice cold glacier water. They had country flags from several countries around the world for pictures.

20190729_140416~2

Americans representing on the Athabasca Glacier

20190729_141144_HDR~2

Dad is originally from Nova Scotia, proudly displaying the Canadian flag

20190729_141558

Chris filled a cup with glacier water for us to try

After the glacier tour, the Ice Explorer returns you to a shuttle bus which takes you to the second part of the tour, the Skywalk.

20190729_152557~2

Glacier Skywalk

Views from the Skywalk:

20190729_152726_HDR~2

20190729_153256

After the glacier tour we were all pretty worn out from all the excitement of the day, so we decided to leave some other explorations on the Icefields Parkway for the drive back to Banff. We drove to our hotel in Jasper National Park and enjoyed a delicious dinner at Jasper Brewing Company.

The next day it rained most of the day, so unfortunately we didn’t get to explore very much of Jasper. The only thing we did was the Valley of Five Lakes hike, and we did that in the rain. I know there is so much more to see in Jasper, so that just means we have to go back again someday.

20190730_114606~2

One of the 5 lakes at the Valley of Five Lakes

20190730_115035_HDR~2

Another one of the 5 lakes

The next day we headed back to Banff down the parkway again, visiting some other spots along the way. We stopped at the Athabasca Falls which was beautiful!

20190731_103932~2

Athabasca Falls

20190731_104045_HDR~2

Athabasca Falls

We did another challenging uphill hike to Parker Ridge, a 3.2 mile up and back hike. The climb was worth the beautiful views at the top! Are my parents amazing or what?! Both of them in their 70s and still joining us for hikes like this. πŸ™‚

20190731_134305_HDR~2

At the top of Parker Ridge

20190731_140129_HDR~2

Saskatchewan Glacier

20190731_132058_HDR~2

Beautiful views along the hike

One of the most exciting things we saw on the parkway was bears! We’re always on the lookout for bears, from a safe distance of course. But, it’s very rare that we see them. We saw several on the Icefields Parkway, and were able to get pictures of some of them on the side of the road.

20190729_164732

SavedImage_20190731_170449_02~2

Adorable cubs following Mama Bear off the road!

SavedImage_20190731_170449_30~2

Mama Bear making sure her cubs made it safely off the road.

The drive along the Icefields Parkway was quite the adventure, I’m only sorry we didn’t have enough time to explore more of Jasper. So it just goes on my never-ending list of places to return to someday.

I have one more post about our time in the Canadian Rockies about Kootenay National Park which I’ll write about next.

Categories: canada, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Banff National Park

Have you ever been to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies? If not, you may want to put it on your bucket list. It is literally the most beautiful place I have ever seen. So much so that I don’t know how we’ll ever top that trip!

20190723_203246_HDR~2

Lake Louise

Each summer my parents like to pick a place on our travel route to meet up with us, and this year they chose to fly to Calgary in Alberta to meet up with us to visit Banff and Jasper National Parks. I must say that was an excellent choice! This just may be the most amazing place we’ve ever been.

20190723_173539~2

We stayed at Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court right in the super cute town of Banff.

20190721_155634_HDR

Our campsite was very nice and spacious

One day we were treated to some special guests at our site.

20190724_083301~2

Elk relaxing at the campsite

20190722_124748~2

The scenic town of Banff is surrounded by mountains

Besides being the most amazing park we have ever been to, it’s also the most crowded. I guess we’re not the only ones who wanted to see this incredible gem on God’s beautiful Creation.

20190723_205255_HDR~3

The parking lots at Banff fill up so early, and just barely clear out in the evenings. Chris worked most days, so we ventured out for hikes and exploring in the evenings. But even then, it was challenging to find parking. The night we went to Lake Louise (which is very likely the most popular area at Banff), we took some pictures at the lake and then ventured out for a hike to Lake Agnes. The hike is 4.7 miles out and back. It’s a challenging hike uphill then back down after you reach the lake. Uphill hikes always challenge me with getting out of breath, but I sometimes think going back down is more difficult. It’s harder on the knees, and also you have to try not to slip and fall going down if the trail has loose gravel.

20190723_191630_HDR~2

Lake Agnes

20190723_192148_HDR~2

Lake Agnes Tea House

20190723_185941_HDR~2

My parents admiring the beautiful views along the hike

Another evening we went to Moraine Lake. I think this lake was even more incredible than Lake Louise. The parking there is even more limited though, and there are park rangers blocking the entrance to the road. They only let people through when others have left the parking lot. Since we got there around 6:30 in the evening we didn’t have to wait too long, and it’s worth it for this view!

20190725_185229_HDR~2

Moraine Lake

If you visit Moraine Lake, be sure to hike up the 1/2 mile Rockpile trail. It’s made of rock steps and other than the climb, it’s not too difficult. You can see Moraine Lake from down at the shoreline, but the best views are from the top of the trail.

20190725_185047_HDR~2

From there we hiked to Consolation Lakes. This hike was 3.6 miles out and back. It was not difficult, but mostly through the woods on a dirt trail. I had read that there are frequent bear sightings on this trail, and sometimes it’s required to hike in groups and carry bear spray. We had that covered, but we didn’t see any bears. Once you get to Consolation Lakes there is a lot of rock scrambling to actually get to the lake shore. Of course, our kids love that part.

20190725_201225_HDR~2

20190725_200222_HDR~2

Consolation Lakes

20190725_200528_HDR~2

Johnston Canyon was another fabulous place to visit. The hike to the Lower Falls is an easy 1.5 miles out and back. But, you can also hike further to see the Upper Falls making it 3.1 miles round trip. The trail is well maintained and paved. There is a 3rd option to hike to the Ink Pots making the total hike 7.3 miles, but we did not go that far.

20190726_200038~2

Johnston Canyon Lower Falls

20190726_193302_HDR~2

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls

20190726_195615~2

Hiking along Johnston Canyon

Lake Minnewanka is gorgeous! We had fun just walking along the shoreline, while Chris & Jesse played frisbee.

20190728_125953_HDR~2

Lake Minnewanka

20190728_130542_HDR~2

Chris & Jesse playing frisbee on Lake Minnewanka

More pictures of Lake Minnewanka:

20190728_131258_HDR~2

20190728_132343_HDR

20190728_132650_HDR~2

We also drove up Mount Norquay where you can see a beautiful view of the town of Banff down below.

20190728_141500_HDR~2

I love this adorable picture of Jake & Jesse at Mount Norquay. I can’t believe how quickly they are growing up, and it seems rare to get a good picture of them together like this anymore. Sometimes they like each other! πŸ˜‰

20190728_141929_HDR

Lastly we went to Vermillion Lakes, yet another beautiful place to see at Banff.

20190728_144854_HDR-EFFECTS

Vermillion Lakes

We explored a few other areas as well, including a hike to the Hoodoos from the campground and another hike in the town of Canmore. The hiking opportunities in and around Banff are endless!

I cannot even describe how incredible it is to visit a place like Banff National Park, and my pictures really do not do it justice.

But there’s more! The trip up to Jasper National Park involves an incredibly scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway. Stay tuned for that next.

 

Categories: canada, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Coeur d’Alene and Farragut State Park

I never realized how much beauty there is to see in Idaho. This must be one of America’s best kept secrets. It has all the beauty of the other surrounding states and national parks without the crowds. Maybe I shouldn’t be blogging about it, I’m sure the locals don’t want the secret to get out. πŸ˜‰

20190710_182316~2

Farragut State Park

We stayed at Farragut State Park which was so beautiful. The cell signal there was pretty bad so we had to leave the park and go find other places to work during the week so that was a little frustrating.

20190710_182854_HDR~2

So much beautiful scenery at Farragut State Park!

More pictures from the state park:

20190710_185805_HDR~2

20190710_190007_HDR~2

Coeur d’Alene is just 30 minutes south of the campground and we spent a lot of time working there that week. There is an abundance of hiking opportunities in Coeur d’Alene so after work we headed out on some hikes. Based on a friend’s recommendation we headed to Mineral Ridge which was amazing!

20190711_163520_HDR~2

Mineral Ridge

It’s a steep uphill climb but so worth it for this view!

20190711_163544_HDR~2

More pictures from the Mineral Ridge hike:

20190711_165232_HDR~2

20190711_165407_HDR

20190711_165446_HDR

Another hike we did in Coeur d’Alene was Tubbs Hill.

20190711_174634_HDR~2

Tubbs Hill

20190711_180239_HDR~2

20190711_180353_HDR

There are numerous points along this hike where people were jumping off the rocks into the water. Our kids had lots of fun with that!

20190711_182859_HDR~2

SavedImage_20190711_184542_16 (2)

20190711_184551_HDR (2)

These Florida boys said the water was freezing!

20190711_185933_HDR~2

Another view from Tubbs Hill

Another benefit of going to Coeur d’Alene during the week was the abundance of stores like Walmart, Kohls and even a Buffalo Wild Wings! It’s the little things you miss when you’re traveling around national parks and don’t see those types of stores/restaurants for a long time. πŸ™‚

Sandpoint Beach was about 30 minutes north of our campground, another great place to visit (and work if you need a cell signal).

20190712_135638~2

Sandpoint Beach

Northern Idaho is so amazing and gorgeous, but let’s keep the secret to ourselves, okay? We don’t want it to get too crowded.

Next we headed to Canada where ironically we had a much better cell signal!

 

Categories: Idaho, Roadschooling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Beautiful McCall Idaho

After leaving one of our least favorite campgrounds in Arco, Idaho we ended up at one of our new favorites, McCall RV Resort.

20190706_140307_HDR

Long, level site with lots of space between neighbors

We had really nice neighbors, in fact everyone at this campground was so nice, including all the people that worked there.

20190624_150311_HDR

Beautiful indoor pool and hot tub

Even Fat Cat loved it!

20190703_180741~2

Besides the fabulous RV park, McCall is such a great place to visit! There are so many wonderful recreational opportunities in the area.

My favorite thing we did was the hike to Louie Lake in Payette National Forest on the 4th of July. It wasn’t crowded at all and Louie Lake was breathtaking!

20190704_154301_HDR~2

Louie Lake

20190704_155903 (2)

20190704_154256_HDR~2

20190704_155744

20190704_162701_HDR~2

Beautiful views on the way to Louie Lake

20190704_163007_HDR~2

Lots of wild flowers in bloom

20190704_164438

And some fun obstacles along the way

Another day we hiked to the Peninsula at Ponderosa State Park where we were rewarded with some spectacular views of Payette Lake.

20190630_151431_HDR~2

Hiking to the Peninsula at Ponderosa State Park

20190630_151524_HDR~2

Lots of wild flowers in bloom on the hike

20190630_152347_HDR~2

Taking a rest, it’s a steep climb up to the Peninsula

These views were worth the climb!

20190630_153229_HDR~2

Payette Lake

20190630_153944_HDR~3

20190630_153234_HDR~2

20190630_154349_HDR~2

Admiring the view

20190630_150133_HDR~2

More views of Payette Lake along the trail

We also went to Brundage Mountain to play some disc golf. I’m terrible at this game, but the kids love it.

20190629_145816

20190629_155537

We had a blast in McCall Idaho, it is definitely on our very long list of “places to return to someday”.

 

Categories: Idaho | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Craters of the Moon

20190621_192626_HDR

Craters of the Moon National Monument is in Idaho, but it literally looks like you have just landed on another planet. In fact, we learned by watching the park movie that NASA astronauts actually visited there to train for moon missions in 1969 and later spent time there researching missions to Mars. Is that cool or what?!

20190618_170912~2

Craters of the Moon

This park is very easy to visit as it’s not large and you could easily visit in a day. There is a 7 mile loop drive through the park with plenty of beautiful places to stop and admire the views. You also have the option to hike and explore some caves.

20190618_171014_HDR~2

Hiking up Inferno Cone

Our first stop was a short hike up the hill to see Inferno Cone.

20190618_171817_HDR~2

The next stop was Spatter Cones and Snow Cones.

20190618_172735_HDR~2

Spatter Cones

20190618_173241_HDR~2

Our favorite was exploring the caves. The first cave we explored was Indian Tunnel. That is an easy cave to explore if you didn’t bring flashlights. There is plenty of natural light in this cave.

20190618_175421

Staircase down into Indian Tunnel

20190618_175551_HDR

Indian Tunnel

20190618_175808_HDR~2

Lots of natural light coming into Indian Tunnel

20190618_180223_HDR

20190618_180508

20190618_180726_HDR

20190618_180958_HDR

We went back another evening to explore the dark caves and remembered to bring flashlights.

20190621_180715

Some of these caves had some tight spots to squeeze through!

20190621_183104

Inside one of the caves there was a lot of ice, and somehow we got a good picture of some of it by shining a flashlight on it.

20190621_184258

I’m not gonna lie, it was creepy in those dark caves. The kids loved it and kept wanting to go further into them. I went along with them because I didn’t want them to get lost, but I have to admit I was a little nervous. Sometimes Chris stayed out of the caves just in case someone needed to call for help to come and rescue us. At least that’s his story, and he’s sticking to it. πŸ˜‰

20190618_182101

Craters of the Moon is such a beautiful and unusual place to see and explore!

20190621_172828_HDR

We stayed at Craters of the Moon KOA in Arco, and I’m sorry to say it was one of the worst RV parks we’ve ever stayed at. I wouldn’t recommend it, however ironically we moved from there to one of the best parks we’ve ever stayed at. Stay tuned for that next.

 

Categories: Idaho, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Yellowstone National Park

In my last post about Grand Teton National Park, I mentioned that it snowed the last day we were there. As we drove to Yellowstone the next day we noticed a lot more snow on the drive and saw that Yellowstone got even more snow than we did the day before. It’s amazing that this was June!

20190609_113731_HDR~2

Driving to Yellowstone from Grand Teton

20190609_113850_HDR~2

Amazing snow in June!

20190609_114307_HDR~2

20190609_114317~2

Okay, so I guess I went overboard on taking pictures of the snow on our drive, but it was so beautiful, and after our winter in Breckenridge I just can’t get enough of snow.

Anyway, enough about that, let’s talk about Yellowstone. This is another park that we are repeating this year because it’s just so awesome and definitely worth repeating.

20190611_174640~2

Old Faithful

This time of the year it’s so nice that it stays light so late at night because we can easily go for a hike in the evenings after work. The night we went to Old Faithful we hiked the trail from there to see several other geysers.

One of my favorites is Artemesia Geyser. We saw this one erupting last time we were there, which was good timing since it doesn’t erupt as regularly as Old Faithful. We didn’t see it erupting this time, but it was still beautiful.

20190611_184646~2

Artemesia Geyser

Another favorite is Morning Glory. Even though the colors in this one are beautiful, sadly the colors are the result of visitors throwing items into the geyser. That’s just not a good thing to do.

20190611_185654~2

Morning Glory

The river walk was beautiful with little spots of steam coming up everywhere.

20190611_182207_HDR~2

I forget what this one was called, but it started erupting just as we walked by. That was pretty cool!

20190611_192943~2

Another view of Old Faithful erupting again as we finished up our hike.

20190611_192250

I couldn’t believe how many bison we saw this time. It was weird when we were there 3 years ago with my parents, we hardly saw any bison. This time they were everywhere! Several times blocking traffic.

20190612_193905

20190612_193926_HDR (2)

Another night we went to Grand Prismatic Spring, another one of my favorites. On the hike to the overlook we saw this aggressive bison. We know he was aggressive because we saw him chase 2 ladies that had just walked by. We stood back and waited until he was well off the path before we continued on.

20190612_201349~2

Grumpy bison

20190612_202637~2

Grand Prismatic Spring from the overlook

20190612_211425~2

Grand Prismatic Spring up close

20190612_211336~2

Hiking along the boardwalk next to Grand Prismatic Spring

A few more pictures from the Grand Prismatic area.

20190612_205339~2

20190612_211218~2

20190612_200322_HDR~2

Another evening we went to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This area is so beautiful and the hike along the canyon offers some amazing views.

20190614_175722_HDR~2

Artist Point

20190614_175822_HDR~2

I see that Jake is now taller than me πŸ˜‰

20190614_181358_HDR~2

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

20190614_182402~2

Lower Falls

20190614_184934~2

I was disappointed to find that Uncle Tom’s trail that takes you down over 300 steps to get a closer view of Lower Falls was closed. That turned out to be a blessing though because we went around to the other side and went down a trail to see it from the other side. This is something we didn’t do last time so it was cool to see it from a different perspective.

20190614_191502_HDR~2

Top of Lower Falls

20190614_193527_HDR~2

Another view of the canyon

Lastly we went to see the Artist’s Paint Pots. This is something we did not get a chance to see last time.

20190614_202140~2

20190614_202333_HDR~2

We stayed at the Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone, MT again. We love that park and the little town of West Yellowstone is so much fun. We also got to spend some time with 2 other Fulltime Families that were there.

Now that we’ve been to Yellowstone twice, would I go there again? Most definitely! This is one of those places I could visit over and over again.

Categories: Montana, National Parks, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.