Sunday, October 30, 2016

National Park Trip 2016 {Signs and Selfies}

To recap, we visited four National Parks (+ a National Monument)
I've started a collection of refrigerator magnets of us in front of the National Park signs.  They make me smile every time I open my freezer :)  So far we just have five, but I hope we can collect many more!

Also, Chris and I tried to take a selfie in front of all the best views from the trip.
I LOVE these... he is my favorite!

from left to right...[Sylvan Lake, Badlands, Snake River, Phelps Lake, Us taking a selfie, Old Faithful, Artist Point, Mount Rushmore, and a beautiful valley in Yellowstone]

National Park Trip 2016 {Badlands}

We couldn't be all the way in South Dakota without making a stop in the Badlands.  We were only there for 2-3 hours because we had to get on the road (and it started to rain).  I was a bit sad to leave before getting in a good hike.  But I'm glad we made the effort to drive through the park.  It's beautiful because of its massive views and the stark contrast of the green meadowlands next to the giant mounds of dirt and sand.  The boys LOVED climbing on the structures.  It was fun for them to be so high but it wasn't scary high because the worst that would happen is that you would slide down some sand.

See Nathan way up there!

These are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.

And last, but not least, Nathan's shoes, with his toe poking through.  Poor baby.

From here, we started our trek south :(
All good things must come to and end.  We left tired, but full of memories from all we had experienced.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Eating in National Parks

Let's just say that no one goes to national parks for the food.  The food is rather reminiscent of my college cafeteria (and that was before they were making college cafeteria food good!).  In addition, it's pricey.  And we have lots of mouths to feed.  
We opted, most days, to eat out of the back of my parent's truck.  We practically had a small grocery store back there.  Made to order sandwich buffet.  We packed things like bread, tortillas, hummus, cut-up veggies, pb & j, an assortment of chips and pretzels.  I also went to Costco before we left and stocked up on packs of almonds, cashews, and good-quality bars.  Those were great to tide us over until mealtimes, which were often random.

To make it kinda special, we bought one of those styrofoam coolers and filled it with a 12 pack of soda and lots of ice every morning so we could have a "icy cold soda" with our lunch.  There's something about having something cold and refreshing when you're in nature.  I would start to think about that cold diet coke on the way down from our hikes.  I know, lame.

Here we are, eating with a view of the Tetons isn't bad at all.

In Yellowstone, it was even more remote with less food.  We made a big deal about our lunch stops.  We sometimes drove far past our hunger to find a good spot to explore while we ate.  Here they tried to get across the river without getting pulled in and drenched.  Some fell in and we had some good laughs watching.

This particular lunch day was wooded, lots of exploring here.

Asher liked to hit little pebbles in the river with his whiffle bat.

This was quieter river, but fun just the same.

Also, lunch time seemed to be the place when most of us needed one of these.  Not always the most pleasant experience ;) 

In South Dakota on the way to the Black Hills, we stopped at a convenience store and bought peanut butter and jelly and bread and ate at a local park in a TINY town.  

The day we visited Wind Cave, we actually ate at a real restaurant!!  A local pizza place and it was delicious.

This was our first meal in civilization, after the Badlands.  We drove for about six hours to find a dinner spot.  There was NOTHING in between Badlands and Nebraska!  So don't do what we did and leave hungry.  We survived on peanuts until we finally made it to a city.  This was at 9:45 PM at Panda Express.  We were starving and I think we ordered about a  million orders of orange chicken.

National Park Trip 2016 {An Afternoon at Custer State Park}

My friend bragged on Custer State Park and so I had to copy her and go there.  We didn't get to stay in the park because everything was crazy booked when we were there due to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  We asked the front desk guy at our hotel what his favorite thing to do at the park was and he said it was Sylvan Lake.  Again, it didn't disappoint.  After our afternoon, I put it in my list of places to return.  

Our boys swam out to that rock... how fun is that!  Nathan looked like a little European in his swim team suit ;) 

On top of the one of the rock formations.

Love this one of him, he's laughing at something his dad said... it's like you can almost see the admiration in his eyes and I love that.

Nathan literally rolling in the sand.

Lots of accessible rock adventuring.

Their true selves.

Maybe one of my fav pics of us ever.  Only wish Chris weren't the one taking it, so he could be in it too.

My very first baby... amazing how grown up he is.

Stopping to see a crawdad.

I found lots of these photos on Chris's phone.  Thanks babe, for capturing me doing my thing :)