After our vacation in The Grand Tetons we decided to head to an area where the smoke was not so thick. I know there are a lot of fires, our lovely state (MT) is burning up with the majority of fires near Missoula. The smoke was so thick at the Tetons we couldn’t even see the gigantic mountains from the main road. Also Scott’s back pain had returned and we knew that driving would be rough and slow going again. We also knew that some friends were in Colorado at Fort Collins so we wanted to make our ways towards them and hope it worked to get together.
On our way out of the park we saw a grizzly bear, which was awesome because we decided that a grizzly would be the only animal we would actually pull our whole rig over for. We got out and watched the bear eat for a while and took a few pics. It was pretty cool to be that close ( safe distance still) to an animal so big and powerful.
We made it as far as Rawlings, WY and stayed at a Walmart. I was really bummed that Scott was in pain, we were in a parking lot in a dinky little town on such a special day that I had so many fun ideas for. It was Aveyah’s first Birthday and our 12th anniversary. We made the most of her birthday with a cute outfit, a spoon of whip cream and a cute little pallet garden for some pictures. Instead of dinner our time together Scott took some Ibuprofen and we drove Saratoga WY where Scott had looked up some Hot springs to soak in. It ended up being an amazing place. We camped right next to the lake that was surrounded by reeds which the boys turned into their jungle. The lake had pelicans! I thought those were only at the ocean. The hot springs were HOT and the Lava Pit was about 117 degrees. We hung out in the cooler pool that was about 104. The boys really liked the river that the hot springs drained into. It was the perfect spot to spend hours at. Brayton had a very hard time with the smell and I had a hard time with how slimy everything was and the algae floating and touching me; it was dark and I kept thinking something was on my leg, and I became very itchy.
We talked with one guy that had done a lot of traveling and exploring around the world. He was very encouraging about out whole family being able to travel over seas and how awesome it would be to do that. Scott and I enjoyed talking with him and sharing a lot of stories, faith, and encouragement. Scott went back each day we were there and that guy, Rob, was there every time. They had great talks about faith, life, good times and bad times. It was awesome to see how God can work through pain. Scott’s back pain lead him to search for hot springs and it just so happened that he got encouragement and was encouraging to Robert each time ( random times each day) at the hot springs.
We finally left to head to Fort Collins to see our friends The Gustafson’s. The fun, and short story here is that maybe a year ago, while we were is Spokane, when Aveyah was born, we said we should do a GMR (Gustafson, Mickelson, Rice) reunion in Colorado. At that time we had no plans to be in Colorado so we didn’t plan it more then that at that time. Funny thing is that The Rice’s are also in Colorado doing a back packing trip in Buena Vista. So that day ( Thursday) we were all in Colorado and all headed to Fort Collins to see each other. The reunion was going to happen after all. It was the first time some of us have even meet others kids. David, Micah and their 3 kids stayed with us for 2 nights in our trailer. It was doable with 11 people. We all met up at New Belgium Brewery where we were a crowd of 6 adults and 9 kids who were all 8 and younger. Fun times!!!
Now we are staying at Horsetooth Reservoir while Scott works for the week and we wait for an amazon shipment to arrive. I guess when you live in stick and bricks you take amazon prime and ability to get shipments quickly for granted.
One theme of our trip should be daily thunderstorms. Each day we have had rain, wind and thunder and lighting storms. Some have been pretty crazy but others have just blown over and the sun comes back out. We went to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. It was beautiful and 12,000 feet.