We stopped just south of Idaho Falls for a picnic lunch and dove into a watermelon full force. The kids took off their shirts and let the juice drip down their faces. It was a slice of heaven.
This particular rest stop had a mini hike you could take over volcanic rock. The best part of the walk wasn't the nature or the weather, but the scares from Dad. Darrick would go ahead a bit while the kids took their sweet time lagging behind with me, waving a bubble wand through the air and sending huge bubbles floating above the black rocks.
And then they would come around a corner and...
Oh man, every time I look at those faces, I laugh so hard. Kids. Gotta love them.
We wrapped up our walk and headed back to the car to finish the drive north.
The kids fell asleep in the car, tired from running and shitting their pants with fear and eating half a watermelon. So Darrick and I had a little over an hour to just swoon over the landscape as it unrolled and unfurled around us. Everywhere we looked were idyllic farms and green pastures and rolling mountains.
The most amazing part was when we found ourselves in the northern part of eastern Idaho and out the right side of the van was nothing but endless green pastures and a sneak preview of the Grand Tetons. They rose into the sky and touched the clouds and I snapped about 200 pictures of Idaho rushing by.
Shortly before we got into the corner of Montana that we'd be making into a home-base the kids started to stir in the back, so we took the first turn off road we could find to give them a chance to go to the bathroom and stretch their little legs. By luck, we ended up in Henry's Lake Park which was a beautiful glimpse of what the next week would have to offer. Luca's head bobbed up sleepily from her nap, she stretched and looked out the window, and from the backseat we heard her exclaim, "Wow! This is awesome!" And let me tell you that even if the rest of the trip had been a complete disaster, that little outburst of pure unadulterated kid amazement would have made it all worth it to me.
There was a lot of time for running around in tall grass and picking wildflowers, which was just what we all needed after so many hours driving.
Those dandelion flowers became a mainstay of our trip. They were everywhere, and my kids could not be stopped from picking them. People would give them weird looks, carrying around these weeds, but in their eyes the were picking bright yellow wildflowers. Isn't a wildflower just a weed someone chose to admire, anyhow?
I mean, this guy is technically a weed, but he's also the size of Rohan's head and had people stopping to lean over and snap shots of him.
That's the most beautiful thing about traveling somewhere lik Yellowstone with kids. People go there for the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone or Old Faithful. Kids see the beauty in bright yellow blooms they named 'sunny flowers' and a huge purple weed thriving by the side of one of Yellowstone's biggest pools of thermal waters.
(to be continued....)
(posting is slow going because of the # of pictures...)