Friends, Frost and Foliage

We had a packed last few weeks, and I thought I would catch up with some reflections since we left Spokane and hit the road for the mountains.

Our kids told us tonight, “There’s no other family I would want.” This is after cooking dinner on some of our newer titanium cookware in the foggy dusk at Wallace Falls near Seattle. We hiked back in the dark for a few miles with our flashlights trying not to trip over the terrain and wondering how many animals were prowling around us.

We had a memorable experience among many that we have shared together that we would never take back. Here are some from the last few weeks:

Yellowstone

We got into Lodging at Yellowstone Lake late one Thursday night. Some of the facilities were shutting down. The snow had already hit, and we found ourselves in some cold temperatures, cozied up in a guest house eager for adventure.

We grabbed some rations the next morning and headed up to Old Faithful. None of us had seen it before. We arrived right in time to see it go off on its schedule. It was truly amazing to see that column of hot water from a geyser shoot straight up out of the earth. We marveled at it. Then we took off to see all the other amazing geysers.

Sonya and I put on our running gear and had the kids mounted up on their bikes. We ran around the Old Faithful area covering the entire circumference and seeing brilliant colors and deep pools of geyser spring water.

The scenery was changing with fall foliage. We drove around Yellowstone to explore further and got to see large waterfalls with ridiculous drops at the Canyon.

Isaac loved the wildlife along the road. Buffaloes, bald eagles and elk were amazing views.

We have to head back sometime soon when everything thaws out to explore more. The kids had some great views that they will remember for sure.

Grand Tetons

We felt like we were on the road of our home page of freejourners.com. The Grand Tetons were off in the distance, and we were on the open road.

They were a magnificent range. We headed over to various lakes in the national park in some gloomy weather. But we took it all in and just loved the serenity of mountain views. There is absolutely nothing like hiking into such beautiful wilderness and beholding God’s great creation.

We saw a lot of elk grazing on forest edges. We even took a rural bumpy road in our SUV and got the chance to be up close with a black bear feeding on berries. The kids were bold and couldn’t believe it.

Sonya and I saw a couple of moose right near the condo village we were staying in Jackson. This motivated us to run around and try to find some more in Jackson Hole. No luck though. They are truly magnificent animals. Their size and boldness are impressive.

After several days in Jackson, the shutdown caused us to have to leave early before exploring more of the Grand Tetons. We want to head back and get into the back canyons with our backpacking gear to do some overnights. It has to be nothing short of magnificent.

With work responsibilities and the park closings, we decided to head back into urban centers.

Boise

Sonya found a great place to stay called the Pink Guest House in Boise north side. It was adjacent to the city and many of the hip Hyde Park attractions on the north end. It’s a bit of our style and scene as urbanites.

Gabe and I would trek to coffee shops and spend a few hours getting work and school stuff done. Sonya and I ran around the city adventuring and then shopping at the local co-op for fresh organic food.

We explored the historical penitentiary, the nearby mountain biking trails, and parks. It was definitely a scene we could have enjoyed for several months. Good food, wine, and people.

My friend, John, was someone I looked forward to seeing. We had not seen each other for a decade, and a lot had happened for both of us. It was great to reconnect and just enjoy someone who is on the same wavelength. We are both about getting things done, pushing for action and loving our families.

John was very hospitable and shared his home and kids with us in such a warm and relaxing way. We partied a bit with his friends on a Mexican night and enjoyed some amazing music from Chris Anderson, who played the local scene.

Gabe had his 12th birthday while we were there. He had low expectations, but it turned out to be an amazing day as he enjoyed rock climbing, geocaching, donuts, basketball, and friendship with John’s kids.

John took us up to a remote hot springs to swim and bathe in for a date night up in Idaho City. We had a time I could remember forever just enjoying an elegant night under the moon in a hot spring with my wife, wine, drinks and friendship.

Lots of great conversations and fun times in Boise that I will cherish for sure. I realize that friendship is something that becomes more important as time ticks in our older years. I was grateful for the time to reconnect and build some great memories.

Seattle

We are in Seattle now and making ourselves at home. We have been down to the Space Needle and have explored different parts of the city. The urban scene is a lot of fun for the kids. We want to get our fill of seafood and ocean views while we are here.

So far, we have been down to various beaches and coastal spots taking in the salty water scene.

We have hiked around a bit. Tonight, we did some late night hiking in the dark with flashlights and look forward to an early morning trek out to Mount Rainier.

We have run around West Seattle and enjoyed some great times blending in and getting advice on where to go next.

We’ll keep you posted on what happens next. There’s so much to do in the city and in the one hundred mile radius here. We have already made several trips to REI to get ready for some of these adventures.

A city on the ocean is always amazing. It builds a special culture for sure, and we are taking it all in.

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