Saturday, September 26, 2009
Mountain lion in winter at Glacier
Ranger programs are a fascinating bit of Americana. When you go to one you know exactly what to expect: outdoor seating (slightly damp of course), grainy slideshows lead by a varied selection of presenters, information about the world around you and getting a workout from swatting at the mosquitos buzzing your ear. What you don't expect is a new nickname for your youngest child.
As the hours to our first full day in Glacier came to a close, we journeyed to the ampitheater ready for a program about Glacier's history. The ranger who led the talk didn't disappoint--his program was informative and very entertaining. He taught us such gems as: "Run with the sun to have fun in Glaaiceer National Park". In his sweet tenor voice he also regaled us with lovely stories about the mountain lions in the park. He launched into a sermon about protecting your children due to the mountain lions predilection to eat smaller animals and easier prey. (In fact a mountain lion had run down a kid on a bike a few years previous. Thankfully the kid survived.)
As he went on and on about the dangers of mountain lions I leaned over to my sweet family and breathed out the words quietly: "Snack. We'll just start calling Travis 'Snack' from now on." My family quietly erupted in laughter. It was one of those moments where you start laughing about something that you know you really shouldn't be...but it's really funny and totally can't help it.
So, ladies and gentlemen...if you hear us calling out the word "Snack" don't assume we're asking you if you'd like one. We're just looking for Travis.
(Don't bother telling me that we're twisted...we already know that!)
Friday, September 25, 2009
After Travis's rough morning of being sick, he miraculousy recovered for our car ride to Logan Pass. As our car climbed over the continental divide we caught glimpses of God's incredible creation through a thick fog. Views of jagged peaks covered with snow, tumbling waterfalls and lush green flora were forever carved in our hearts as we made our journey. The plants and rocks were so gorgeous--they make man's feeble attempts a landscaping look like child's play. I wish all of you could have been there with us.
Our view as we rounded a bend on the way down. The sheer drop off on the left was unsettling to think of.
One of the many views through the fog.
The flowers were incredible. This pic is just one of many--they were in every color of the rainbow. Awesome!
Later that day we went on a hike through an area that had burned in 2003. It's amazing to see how the area has recovered so beautifully.
The trail before us...right before the burn area.
Truly beauty from ashes...
Austin leading the way as usual.
A view through the trees.
On a light note: we carried our bear deterrent to protect us. As another safety measure we had to sing and talk loudly as we climbed along the trail. (Being loud is not an issue for us!) Spongebob (F.U.N., Best Day Ever), Chowder and a couple of Chris Tomlin's songs were in our repertoire. I'm sure the grizzlies weren't only forewarned of our presence but highly entertained (or scared) as well!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
It was D-Day. We had made it! Glacier National Park was less than 30 miles away. The kids were ready. We were ready. However, the park wasn't ready--check-in wasn't until 1 pm. So, what to do? Eat!
As we wandered around town looking for breakfast we stumbled upon Bojangles. It was on the edge of town and the parking lot was full of local license plates. To us, this was a good sign. Locals usually know where the best food at the best price is...and they were right.
Bojangles was stuffed to the gills with a 50's memorabilia collection. On each table was the local handout of randomness (that's the only way to describe it: kind of like a massive church bulletin filled with events, small articles, corny jokes and random bits of information.) The kids played I Spy while Billy and I perused the local goings on in our, um, bulletins? When our breakfast came we were not disappointed. Our eggs were cooked to perfection (we all decided they were the best we had ever eaten) and the pancakes were sublime.
The laundromat lurks just behind the corner...
After our yummy breakfast we still had time to kill so we went to the laundromat to finish up on last minute laundry. As our wash tumbled we noticed the clouds in the sky were looking darker than they had during breakfast. Sure enough it started to rain buckets and the kids were ecstatic. Can you believe they spent 45 minutes sitting on the front porch of the laundromat just watching the rain and wind? Crazy Californian kids--they were so fascinated! This of course, drew the locals attention to the fact that we weren't from around there...the clerk inquired as to where we were from and the word "California" explained it all. She, too, was from California (Bakersfield, where else?) and enjoyed watching our poor precipitation deprived children enjoy the rain.
The rain had arrived and it wasn't going away...yes...more blog posts to come.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Tuesday found us on the road to Kalispell, Montana. As we breezed through Idaho, we saw field after field of beautiful golden wheat waiting to be harvested. (It took me back to my childhood--I was all nostalgic about it.) Travis would shout "Frank!" everytime he saw a combine. (from Cars.) Idaho is also where we saw this sweet gas station:
Who knew? Once we left SoCal we didn't encounter one bad bathroom. Not one. Every truck stop, rest stop, restaurant, grocery store and even the campground bathrooms were immaculate and fresh! Our first rest stop outside of Vegas (Valley Wells rest stop to be exact) was decorated with tile murals, air-conditioned and shock: Clean. Crazy concept--clean bathrooms. We don't see many of those out here!
We rolled out of here at 7am on Monday, August 10th--ready to conquer the world! The kids were happily buzzing in the back seat and the forecast for sibling storms looked pretty clear. They were distracted by the thoughts of adventure and the bag of junk food that awaited them in the miles to come. Traffic was clear and before we knew it we were past Barstow and landed at Bass Pro Shops in Vegas. We had to shop for one last thing before hitting the vast wilderness of Glacier: Bear Deterrent.
Grizzly spray ladies and gentlemen. Everything we read and everyone we talked to who had been there before said you don't go without it. For $50, this baby can shoot 10oz of concentrated pepper spray over 30 feet in 4 seconds flat. Ours came with a handy belt attachment and loads of warning labels. After being momentarily distracted by the expanse of Bass Pro shops and the casino's gigantic fish tank full of manta rays we got back on the road. We had miles to cover!
As we headed into the canyon outside of St. George, Utah we were all mesmerized by the incredibly beautiful red rocks and soaring walls. On a random note: Austin's pitching coach is from St. George and he says that canyon terrifies him. It wasn't terrifying to us--just awe inspiring with it's desert ruggedness. I guess to each his own!
Random note for this entry: Once you get past St. George and Zion National Park in Utah...there are a ton of farms. They grow everything there...including hay. Travis was so excited to see it that he shouted out: "Hey guys! There's hay!". We started giggling because of the play on words--when he realized what he said was funny he kept repeating it. For the next 900 miles. Almost two days of: "Hey guys! There's hay!" over and over again followed by his silly giggle. It's the simple things in life that entertain a 5 year old.
At this point: half way through day one--no fights broke out or sobbing children left by the side of the road. So far so good.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I know this is a month late...but life has finally settled down enough to give you all a blow by blow of our vacation. Okay, fine--that sounds boring. How about a tour of highlights (and low)? Better?
First of all, you need to know where we were going: Glacier National Park.
When I mentioned this to my daughter's Doctor during an appointment wayyy back in July she innocently asked:
You're flying, right?
You should've seen her jaw hit the floor.
Road trip baby! We're the Baker's...we were made for road trips!
Just so you know: Glacier National Park is in western Montana running all the way up into Canada. Our trip was going to take us 1,377 miles one way or a little over 21 hours of driving. On the way out we planned to stop in Salt Lake City over night and then go on to Kalispell, Montana for the next night. From there, Kalispell is just a short hop to the park. We wanted to make sure that we were well rested and ready to set up camp when we arrived. We were going to camp for 7 nights in Glacier and return to civilization. So there. That's the boring backstory. Are you ready for some adventure? You'll have to read our next post!