WHAT: Family Vacation
WHEN: All Week
* Day 1 *
After an hour of loading up, and packing cooler after cooler, and squishing as much as possible into every vehicle we were OFF! Off on an adventure in Idaho, Island Park to be more specific. After nearly 4 hours in the car, we pulled up to the cabin. We all jumped out and were at first a bit shocked with the temperature (chilly), but began exploring the house. We were greeted by some local blood-suckers and learned repellent would be a must. Then it was on to logistics. Who would sleep where? What about the babies, where should they go? After some quick discussions we had it all figured out so it was time to start unloading.
Once all that was done, Tyler, Megan, Dave, Casey, Conner, and MaKenna hopped in the Polaris ranger and headed over to Ty’s cabin to get the 4-wheeler and motorcycles. The sky had looked ominous as we drove up, but shortly after they left the rain started and boy did it rain! It was really coming down – it was like sheets of water off the side of the house. Then it got louder and we realized it was hailing, very hard! The ground looked like it was covered in snow, and we were shouting at each other in the house just to be able to hear. It was very weird, I’d never experienced anything like it. Once we got over the shock of it all, we all got worried about those who had left. We had no way to contact them, and only had some vague instructions on where Ty’s family cabin was. My dad took off to see if he could find them. Shortly after he left, they all pulled up and had quite a story to tell. They had gotten stuck in the storm and were getting pounded with hail. They had to take refuge under a large pine tree and then drove as fast as possible to Ty’s cabin. All their clothes were wet, so they threw them in the dryer and then headed back. Welcome to Island Park!
Later that evening, the kids were playing up the loft area while the adults were playing a rousing game of SkipBo. We heard a VERY loud crash and then total silence. Ali yelled up and asked if everything was alright, but there was no response just SILENCE! You know silence isn’t good when kids are involved, either it means they are unconscious, or are trying to think really quick of a good story. I yelled up and asked if everyone was okay. Finally, Conner replied, “we didn’t do anything!” Dave ran up to see what “nothing” had happened. He came down holding Ali’s brand new little baby, AKA, her MacBook and told her to try turning it on. The look on her face was priceless, it was anger, worry, and shock all rolled into one! Turns out MaKenna had thrown her computer on the floor while standing on a bed – hence the loud bang!
It was an eventful day……
* Day 2 *
Today it was time to play with the toys. We all piled into the ranger, on the 4-wheeler, and the motorcycles while Ty took us a tour of this beautiful place. We ended up at Big Springs – WOW!
This time I drove the 4-wheeler with Ali has my backseat driver. It was fun, but I didn’t like going over all the bumps, so we switched back. Ty took us to a bridge where you can jump in, or take off on rafts. Ty entertained us with a large jump in the frigid water and then it was back to the cabin for lunch! Afterwards we went to Ty’s family cabin then to the dock near there. While messing around in the water, we spotted a moose. It was large and not too far from us – it was amazing!
When we planned this little trip to Island Park, I was told there was a river you could float down. That is all I wanted to do! It was what I looked forward to and was excited about. That is what we did today. Tyler had 2 canoes and then we rented a large raft. Everyone had a spot and it was very nice. The babies had fun on the floor of the raft and we all enjoyed the scenery and chit-chat.
Later that night Dave and I were able to sneak away and go on a ranger ride at dusk . . . not a good idea! When we got back, I literally picked mosquitoes out of my eyes. Basically our faces were the windshield. We used the number of mosquitoes as our means to navigate. If we saw a large mass of them, we turned the other direction! It was crazy. And it was a wonderful day!
We did it . . . we went to Yellowstone in July! We went on a Wednesday thinking it wouldn’t be crowded, but boy were we wrong. I have never been to Yellowstone when it was so busy. It also didn’t help that Logan didn’t get his morning nap, and we had 8 people in our car (2 of which were not-so-quiet children).
I also, unfortunately, learned that many people think they are the MOST IMPORTANT people on earth. We witnessed people refusing to budge if they thought they could get a parking place sometime this week; there were people who thought they should hold up lanes of traffic so they could be dropped off at the attraction; people who thought it was the most important thing to get their kids out of the car so they would leave doors open even if the kids didn’t have shoes on, thus making it impossible for us to exit our vehicle; and my personal favorite is what we saw as we were leaving the park – on the other side of the road there was a car stopped in the middle of the road (yes, I said the middle) while the driver was out taking a picture!!
I don’t have the best memories of Yellowstone this time around, which is sad for me because I wanted to enjoy it more. What did make me happy was Conner asking when we could go back because “Yellowstone has the neatest stuff!”
* Day 5 *
Well, by today exhaustion had set in! We had been going and doing for 3 days and we were ready to take it easy. Ty got the kids excited about catching fish, so a few of us headed down to the river thinking we would be there for half hour or so. We ended up being there for a couple hours and loved every second of it. I honestly didn’t think the kids would enjoy it that much, but they were eating it up. They named the fish that Ty caught and kept insisting he catch more. And then had the best time attempting to catch their own. They didn’t mind wading out in the chilly water, and didn’t notice the leeches we flicked off of them.
We had so much fun at the river that when we came back for lunch, we convinced the others to join us and decided to don our swimming suits this time around. We returned to our original beach and found it occupied, but luckily our local tour guide (Tyler) knew of another great location.
For some reason Logan loves to be by/on the water, so Dave took him for a raft ride (really I should say a raft “scoot” because the water was so shallow he was literally dragging them along the bottom). Then Dave carried Logan across the whole Snake River. This fork of the river is so great because it only has a few really deep spots. It was hilarious to see Dave holding a baby standing in the middle of the river while rafts and canoes were floating by.
After such a relaxing day, Tyler insisted that we hike to the ranger station. I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into, but should have thought twice when Megan told me “I had to climb it no matter what!” After a mile hike up, we came to the tower. Oh, I should mention that when we were about 100 yard from the tower, Tyler happened to tell us that the first flight of stairs were missing, but after that it would be no problemo! I happen to be EXTREMELY scared of heights (my hands sweat just watching something on TV), but I did it and the view was spectacular. Coming down was by far the worst part – we had chosen a very, very windy evening for this activity!
We ended the day with a BANG, literally! The boys had brought their guns to shoot. What is it with boys and guns? They were like kids in a candy store. They insisted that us girls have a try at it and I honestly didn’t catch the excitement! We let them attempt to shoot at plates and bottles and called it a day!
Our last full day, and we knew we wanted to see more! Tyler suggested we drive up to the “soccer ball” (radar dome) on the mountain because the view was amazing. It was barely 50 degrees when got out and there was still snow, but you could see everything. Well worth the frigid temps.
On our way down the mountain, we stopped at meadow for lunch. We ended up staying there for a few hours. The kids picked flowers, we were able to get many fun pictures, and Tyler climbed a huge pine tree all in the name of fun. The kids were trying to throw a parachute toy and it just wasn’t working from the ground, so Ty really gave the parachute a flight; of course the kids loved it!
That’s about it! It was a wonderful vacation and none of us really wanted to come home. Conner cried on Saturday morning and wanted to know when we would be back – he didn’t even mind that he had he most mosquito bites (he was covered)! We all got along, laughed a lot, ate great food, and survived on little sleep!