American West Adventure Days 11, 12 & Wrap-up


From Brandon:  on the eleventh day of our trip we went from Montana, through Idaho and Butte County.  There was this big Butte volcano, the Soda Butte River and Butte is a town in Montana :-).  We drove along the Salmon River Scenic Bypass the whole way because we had extra time.  We drove through Idaho Falls and then on to Pocatello to get to the hotel.  On the way to the hotel we stopped at a lake that had about 500-700 people in a town called Blockfoot and  saw a cool firework show.

From Sofia: We drove across Idaho to get to Salt Lake City the next day.  We saw a river the whole way.  We went to a lake really late at night before we went to the hotel.  This nice family with 1 boy and 3 girls sat next to us in the sand and gave us glow sticks, sparklers since it was 4th of July, and gave us a blanket to sit on.  My glowing thing kept falling in the water so my shoes got all wet.

Salmon River in Idaho somewhere

Salmon River in Idaho somewhere

Crashing a fireworks show in Blackfoot, Idaho

Crashing a fireworks show in Blackfoot, Idaho


From Brandon: This morning we woke up like 10, went downstairs, ate breakfast and had to get out of the hotel room by 12.  We beat the house cleaners by 2 minutes before 12.  We went to see Despicable Me 2 – it was really funny.  We saw a trolley when we went to downtown Salt Lake City for dinner.  The flight home was late at night, we boarded at 11:45pm.  It was a shorter flight home than when we left Continue reading


American West Adventure – Day 10


This morning we went out in front of the Many Glacier Hotel to start our boat rides across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine to start our hike to Grinnell Lake.  The kids were fighting over little stuff, but after 10 days in each other’s space and no break I give them credit, they did pretty well!

I don't know how I got a pic of them smiling, they were fighting over seat space the whole ride!

I don’t know how I got a pic of them smiling, they were fighting over seat space the whole ride!

It was a nice morning.  The water is turquoise in these lakes and I was looking forward to a nice hike.  The guide was a retired Biology teacher who used to come visit the Glaciers every year, then turned it into a way of life after he retired.  He went on daily hikes once the snow melted and loved to teach adults and kids about the trees and plants, the water and its inhabitants, the changing Glacier environment, the wildlife and more.  He was pretty funny and knowledgable and the kids gravitated towards him.

Lake Josephine

Lake Josephine

There was a swinging bridge that the kids had to cross and they thought it was such a cool part of this adventure!  We finally made it to Grinnell Lake.  Although the Grinnell Glacier view down to Grinnell Lake (google it online) cannot be matched, it was very pretty and the kids did a great job on this trek and all the rest.  Having the Camelbaks made a huge difference, but I never heard on this vacation “I don’t want to do that”.  Maybe it was all the candy Continue reading

American West Adventure – Day 9


We had a lot of driving yesterday so this morning we wanted to hang out locally. The Many Glacier area is really pretty and lots of things to do. We drove out to St. Mary to get some gas, ice and stuff for the cooler. On the way we saw this moose taking a bath in Swiftcurrent Lake. There are a LOT of bears on the opposite side of Many Glacier Road from the lake and as I walked up to this moose I wondered if he was a decoy. But I made it back to the car alive 🙂

Moose bathing in Swiftcurrent Lake

Moose bathing in Swiftcurrent Lake

After breakfast, we rented a rowboat and spent a few hours on the lake. Sofia, who normally is up for anything, didn’t seem to be thrilled with how deep we were venturing out on the boat. In fact she showed me her dismay in the pic below.

Sofia...Who else?

Sofia…Who else?



bubba rowing

But she warmed up a minute later and we took turns rowing for the next few hours. The kids didn’t want to stop. We saw a mama duck and about 6-8 babies and watched them swim around the lake. A nice guy was fly fishing with his wife and talked to us for a bit. Sofia quacked to all the ducks and was in her own world for awhile. I asked Brandon if he wanted to go to Canada and he was like ‘eh, no’.

From Brandon: We rented a rowboat for about an hour and a half. While we were rowing around Swiftcurrent Lake we saw a family of about 8 baby ducks and a mother. Every few minutes they would start swimming away from the rowboat because we were getting close to them. I went to switch seats with Sofia for awhile and we have a funny picture because it looks like I’m going to sit on her!”

sit on sofia


Since we were only a quick car ride away from Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, I took the kids anyway. I knew he

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American West Adventure – Day 8

7/1/13 This is our first full day at Glacier National Park. We are staying in the Many Glacier area which is full of wildlife, lots of trails, and several lakes including Swiftcurrent, Josephine and Grinnell. We are heading across the Going-To-the-Sun Road, which is 52 miles across to the West side of the park. Elevation as we travel across the mountain will climb and drop, and we will be right up against the mountain side, with ice melting, water splashing, snowball fights across the road while the cars coming east are right on the cliff’s edge throughout the ride. We first headed to St. Mary’s Falls Trail, a 3 mile hike to see waterfalls and cool wildflowers.

Wildflowers along St. Mary's Falls Trail

Wildflowers along St. Mary’s Falls Trail

Brandon telling Sofia which rock to step on to stay dry.  She chose her own path

Brandon telling Sofia which rock to step on to stay dry. She chose her own path

St. Mary's Falls

St. Mary’s Falls

Deep Thoughts w/ Sofia

Deep Thoughts w/ Sofia

Sofia checked out the rock walls and was peering into the crevices to see what was forming naturally in the cracks. Then she was throwing some of the residue into the water. She told me this whole plan which I understand, but she was pretty passionate about it, so…cool.

From Sofia: So I was um…I started to look up close at the big rocks and then I saw these little rocks on the big rocks and in the middle of them. And then I pulled the little rocks out and threw them into a mud puddle on the ground and over the bridge and into the water.

Watching the Falls from the bridge

Brandon watching the Falls from the bridge

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American West Adventure – Day 7


Sunday morning we hit the road for Montana and Glacier National Park at 6am. The kids fell back asleep, but I woke them up 20 minutes later when we hit some Sunday morning traffic; in the form of a herd of Bison migrating along the Grand Loop Road. More and more came off the side of the road by the trees until our car was surrounded by about 25-30 adults and 8-10 babies. The mom’s were pushing the babies along and showing them how to walk the right way. This was one of the best parts of our vacation for sure.

From Brandon: The Bison were all different sizes. Some were black, brown, tan, some were wet so they might have come from a lake. A lot of them were really big and some had small horns. Some were very cautious and guarding the babies. It took about 15 minutes for all of them to pass the car and head further down the road and it was like 6:30 in the morning. It was cool to see all of them at the same time!

Bison herd migrating at 6am Sunday morning

Bison herd migrating at 6am Sunday morning

The kids fell back asleep and just before reaching Mammoth Springs on our way out of Yellowstone and Wyoming, I was able to take this pic in the middle of the road. No one but us was up and about early Sunday it seemed.

the open road...

the open road…

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American West Adventure – Day 1




So we are off for our longest adventure yet; a quest to explore several National Parks on the other side of the country (and maybe in Canada too), see lots of wildlife, go on cool hikes, hope that Sofia and Brandon don’t strangle each other in the backseat of our rental car.