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50 days, 12 campsites, 7 co-pilots, 8 states, 4 National Parks, 8742 miles, countless tanks of gas and even more memories later we are safely back in humid Houston!

Thanks for sharing in all my memories with me!

What are you thankful for?

“What you see depends mainly on what you look for.”

Grand Teton National Park

After our day in Yellowstone Taylor and I made our way 3 hours south to Jackson, Wyoming.

This is an area I was especially looking forward to because I had heard so many good things about Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons over the years. I was also excited to be back in the forested mountains!

Our campsite wasn’t anything to write home about but the location was perfect! Right downtown!

On our first night in town Taylor and I went to Roadhouse Brewery. Dinner and drinks we delicious! After that we walked around downtown in and out of all the shops! We also got some yummy shakes at Jackson Drug!

For day 1 we headed straight into the park! I couldn’t wait to hike up Cascade Canyon because I had heard it was a good place to spot some moose! To get to the trailhead we took a ferry across Jenny Lake. Then we hiked up to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls. After that it was up into Cascade Canyon. The hike was absolutely beautiful. Mountains flanking us on both side and a crystal clear stream that carved out our path. This hike was different from most others in that there was no certain destination. It was just a wonderful hike through a beautiful place! And guess what?! We saw two moose! One cow and one bull! The cow was too far away to get a good picture of her but not the bull! Taylor and I watched both of them for quite awhile, they are so big! Anyway, we had lunch in a wonderful little spot, hiked to the fork and then turned around.

I made a delicious dinner at home that night and we took the pups for a nice long walk around the campground.

For day 2 we knew we wanted to do something with the pups so we headed out to this cute little bagel shop that we drove by on our way into town, Pearl Street Bagel! It backs right up to a little river and was such a great place to get a fresh bagel. There were tons of dogs walking around everywhere so we were all in heaven.

After that we headed into the park with the pups to check out some of the scenic overlooks and Mormon Row. We saw some beautiful sights and then it was back to camp to relax and clean up the camper a bit.

That evening we went to one of the off-leash areas in town and had a blast! The dogs got to play in the river and then we walked along the levee for quite awhile. We also met some fellow doodles along the way! The dogs had the time of their life per usual and were asleep in the car before we got back to camp! Taylor and I ordered in Pinky G’s pizza for dinner and it was so yummy!

Since we still had two very tired pups the following day Taylor and I decided to spend day 3 back in the park. This time we hiked to Taggart and Bradley Lakes. It was such a great hike. The lakes were beautiful and we met a ton of friendly people.

It wasn’t too long of hike so we still made it back in time to hang out with the dogs a bit before dinner at Snake River Brewing Company. We sat next to the greatest family from Park City! It was fun chatting with them throughout the night!

I knew I wanted to spend day 4 which, was the final day of the our summer trip with the pups hiking off-leash. So after some research I decided on Goodwin Lake in Gros Ventre National Forest. So we strapped on the adventure harnesses and bear bells and we were off!

It was the perfect last hike. It was quite steep in the beginning but the dogs made easy work of it. Then it was pretty smooth going. After about 3 miles through beautiful forest and fields of wildflowers we were rewarded with beautiful Goodwin Lake! We had lunch, explored a bit, and played some fetch. Taylor and I could have stayed there the whole afternoon but the bugs were getting pretty bad when there wasn’t a breeze so we made our way back to the car. I should also mention that the road to the trailhead was pretty gnarly and required some 4-wheel drive (which Taylor loved).

We made it back to camp took one last nap outside in the shade, made dinner and packed up camp for our early morning departure.

#115 – This trip. For always showing me what’s really important and for intensifying my beliefs in what life is all about.

#116 – Always having a mountain in view for the past 7 weeks.

#117 – Sleeping with the windows open every night.

#118 – Turning the heater on for a few minutes in the morning to take the chill out.

#119 – Getting to wear sweatshirts and sweaters in the evenings all summer long.

#120 – Quick afternoon rain showers.

#121 – Afternoon naps in the shade.

#122 – Being able to see the stars every night.

#123 – For all my wonderful friends and family who joined me.

#124 – For my two wonderful companions Sophie and Gonzo. They always make me smile, keep me company, love the outdoors and they teach me so much. At times it can be annoying to travel with two dogs especially with one who’s anxiety/brattiness level is at times quite high and another who takes forever to do his business. But I wouldn’t change it. I love that I get to spend everyday with them over the summer in such beautiful places. The experiences we have shared are priceless and are my most precious.

“It is not the presence of animals and plants that makes conservation necessary, but the presence of people.”

Yellowstone National Park

After leaving Glacier National Park I made my way down to a campground on the north side of Yellowstone National Park. I had one more night by myself before I had to pick up Tami at the airport.

I set up camp at the most beautiful spot along the river.

Wellllllll I was busy cleaning the camper and doing laundry. When I was coming back from switching from the washer to the drier I saw two pairs of Birkenstock’s hiding on the other side of my camper. My first thought was that my neighbors were saying hello to Sophie and Gonzo through the window! But then!!!! Tami AND Kati! Jumped out and yelled surprised! There was no flight and Kati didn’t have work commitments! They had been planning to drive out to visit the whole time! Ha! What a surprise! Sister trips are my favorite!

We spent the night catching up and laughing! Then it was off to Yellowstone!

For day 1 we toured the northern part of the Grand Loop! Spending time at the Visitor Center, Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Basin and Lamar Valley. We saw elk, bears, coyote and bison!! Sooo fun! We learned all about the geothermal activity in the area that has caused it to look so otherworldly. We also learned about the different kinds bacteria that thrive in very hot temperature. Based on the color of the water you can tell which kind of bacteria live there and can therefore know how hot the water is. For example, blue is the hottest while brown is the coolest. Ranging in temperatures from about 100 to 200 degrees!

On our way home from the park we stopped at Tumbleweed for dinner and saw the most brilliant rainbow!

On day 2 in Yellowstone we spent our time along the east side of the park and touring the entire southern part of the Grand Loop! We saw more bear, bison and elk! We even got to see a momma grizzly and her two cubs! We initially spotted them up in a tree! One of the highlights for sure! We hiked down to the brink of Lower Falls, checked out Old Faithful, took in the views at Yellowstone Lake, and saw some mud pots and the most beautiful blue pool at West Thumb. Lastly, we walked around Grand Prismatic Spring! 😍

We also decided to play the license plate game on day 2. It was the absolute best time and made our day that much better! We saw 48 states in one day!! We even got Hawaii! Where you at New Hampshire and Delaware?! We also got over half of the Canadian providences! So much fun!!

For day 3 we floated the Madison River! I was terrified because it had only been in the 70s with scattered showers and I assumed the water would be freezing! But it was a great day and the water was perfect! We even got to spend some time in the awesome town of Bozeman!

That night we played fetch with the pups and roasted some marshmallows around the campground’s community fire! A great last night with my sisters!

Funny story: When we checked in Gonzo thought this carved bear was apparently real and launched into full blown attack mode in the car! It was hysterical! He was growling and everything 🀣 dork!

The following morning my sisters and I got breakfast in cute downtown Livingston. Then they headed back to Wisconsin and I headed south to my next campsite!

I arrived at my in West Yellowstone that afternoon, setup camp and got ready for Taylor’s arrival the following day!

Since Taylor was flying into Bozeman and I loved the town so much I decided to arrive early to spend the day up there exploring the area and grocery shopping! We of course stopped at an awesome dog park! Gonzo even ran and jumped off the dock! So fearless when a ball is involved!

And just like that the Bordelon’s were reunited!

Taylor and I got to spend one full day in Yellowstone and it was great! We toured around Norris Basin a little bit more, checked out Grand Prismatic Spring from a different angle and spotted a ton of wildlife! Such a great first full day back together!

#110 – My sisters! For gifting me with another amazing sisters trip!

#111 – For a husband who shares my passion for the outdoors and gets just as excited as I do about things! And loves our pups so much!

#112 – For my mom for helping out with Bentley so Tami felt 150% okay leaving my niece, Bentley for the first time! And for letting my sister borrow her car. Thanks Mom!

#113 – I’m so thankful that I got to witness all these animals in the wild in their natural habitat! Most know I’m not a fan of zoos and why would I be when you can see these amazing animals in Yellowstone living how they have always lived! Albeit a lot more cameras are pointed in their direction but still!

#114 – It was absolutely magical being at our nation’s first national park and learning about our country’s public lands journey!

“It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it.”

Glacier National Park

After dropping Kayleigh off at the airport I headed to Glacier National Park for my solo part of the trip. I was a little nervous to be alone for a week in such a big, beautiful place.

I knew that I would be hiking in bear country alone. I thought I might get sick of myself. And most importantly, I wouldn’t have anyone to share this beauty with. I was determined to have a good time though and to enjoy my own company.

I arrived at my campground in the early afternoon. I successfully set up camp and then we headed to the local dog park!

The dogs had a blast playing with all the other pups and I chatted it up with some of the locals.

The following day I headed into the actual park and oh my goodness!! Glacier is referred to as the Crown of the Continent and know I can see why!

For my first day in the park I decided to hit up the Visitor Center and to drive the Going to the Sun road. The road had just opened up the week prior since it is closed most of the year due to all the snow! It is a 50 mile road that runs east to west, dividing the park in half. I started on the westside which starts out along Lake MacDonald. Then it follows along a beautiful light blue river as it slowly climbs up into the mountains. Next you hit the loop which is where it really gets magical. You drive on the side of a cliff while climbing higher and higher until you reach Logan’s Pass. All along the road are waterfalls! After the pass it’s a decent down into the eastside of the park. You pass St. Mary’s Lake and end up in the town of St. Mary’s. Then you turn around and do it all over again! Except it’s completely different because you are seeing everything in a whole new way!

It took the dogs and I the entire day to do the drive. Both had their heads out of the window the ENTIRE time! We all got out several times to walk around, dip our toes in the lake and to read all about the different areas of the park! The day flew by and it was one of my favorite days of my stay here in Glacier!

For day 2 in the park I headed out by myself since most National Parks don’t allow dogs too many places. I made sure throughout this trip that I only went on heavily trafficked areas so I didn’t find myself in a wildlife predicament. Even though I carry bear spray and wear a bear bell you can never be too careful when solo hiking! I woke up early and hiked the Trail of the Cedars and to Avalanche Lake. It was a beautiful hike along a river! And it was indeed heavily trafficked πŸ™„

After that I headed home to relax with the pups! That night we had the most interesting neighbors ever check in right next to us! Meet Gladys!!! The pet goose!! She’s 12. Sophie and Gonzo lost their minds in excitement!!

For day 3 I knew I wanted to spend some time with the puppies and after some research I found that the town of Whitefish had one of the top rated dog parks in the country! So we headed up there and the pups had the time of their lives! After that I got dinner and drinks at Bonsai Brewing Company! Sooooooo gooood! 🀀🀀 Oh! and we stopped at Sweet Peaks to get some chicken flavored ice cream!

On day 4, which happened to be the 4th of July it was pretty rainy! I was going to go to Big Fork for the famous parade but didn’t really want to get soaked so the dogs and I relaxed at camp all day. That evening we were getting a little stir crazy so we headed back up to Whitefish where they have some off-leash trails! It was still pouring but I held out hope that it would clear up! While after waiting in the car for 30 minutes and eating my delicious sandwich from The Wich Haus it finally cleared up enough to get out on the trail! I attached bear bells to the dogs and we were off! Sounding like Santa Claus was coming to town! We went to a beautiful overlook and I don’t think anything makes the dogs happier than hiking off leash!

On day 5, I went back into the park to hike Hidden Lake and St. Mary’s Falls. Total it was just shy of 10 miles!

Hidden Falls is a great trail right behind the Logan’s Pass Visitor Center. The park was feeling moody on this day so everything was covered in a fog! It was otherworldly! I hiked on a snowfield which was an interesting test for my balancing skills; if you know me you know I’m seriously the most clumsy person ever! Then I was rewarded with the most beautiful view of Hidden Lake and we had a little mountain goat visitor πŸ₯°

St. Mary’s Falls was a beautiful hike that took me by three different falls and along the shore of St. Mary’s Lake and through a burnt forest! Such a great hike!

For my 6th and final day at Glacier I hiked probably the most famous trail in the park; Highline! FOURTEEN MILES! I was so worried that the trail wouldn’t be open by the time I left! But on July 4th they opened her up!

It was the absolute best hike I have ever been on in my life! It is a 8 mile hike along a cliff side to the Granite Chalet. Some people turn around here. Others opt to hike up 1500 feet to Grinnell Glacier overlook which is what I did. It is .6 miles of pure hell on the way up but the view at the top is worth it! Thanks to everyone who cheered me on up the hill! I made sure to return the favor on the way down because no matter who you are it’s a struggle! Then I decided to take The Loop trail 4 miles down to the shuttle which would then take me back to my car! By the time I made it to The Loop trail I only had less than 2 hours to make it to the shuttle. It was ALL downhill and I have bad knees πŸ€ͺ I was going as fast as I possibly could while others were literally running past me to catch the shuttle in time! At one point I heard something move right next to me in the forest and got so scared I tripped and fell πŸ₯΄πŸ™„ I thought it was a bear… smooth… ha! I also ended up terrifying the man behind me so badly that he also tripped and fell. Sorry Jay! Clearly I know exactly how to react to a bear. After that we decided we should get the bear spray out and into our hands! We LOUDLY chatted the rest of the way down! Didn’t want to sneak up on any bears! So glad I didn’t have to do that section solo because others said they had spotted grizzlies along the way 😱

Anyways, Highline Trail was perfect! Hiked along a cliff, through waterfalls, over a snowfield, through fields of wildflowers and pines, got to see glaciers, alpine lakes and mountain streams, the views were spectacular, there was lots of wildlife, and the friendliest people! It was THE highlight of my trip and I have been on such a high ever since!

Glacier, you were perfect!

#106 – So thankful that National Parks exist. I can’t imagine not be able to experience everything that I have this past week.

#107 – Having counter space in my actual home.

#108 – Having a dishwasher in my actual home.

#109 – Having a washer and dryer in my actual home.

Can y’all tell what I’m missing 🀣

“We must trust nothing but the facts; these are presented to us by Nature, and cannot deceive.”

Coeur d’Alene

After I dropped Alyse off in Missoula, MT I headed to Spokane, WA to pick up Kayleigh. From there we traveled to Northern Idaho to the sweet little lake town of Coeur d’Alene.

Two years ago on the drive home from my summer trip, Kayleigh and I drove through Coeur d’Alene and thought it was one of the most beautiful places we had ever seen. We decided that we wanted to come back to explore the area and that we did!

Day 1 we stayed local by going to the area park where we hiked around Tubbs Hill. It’s a beautiful spot that I’m sure would make a perfect place to watch the sunset. The weather was pretty cloudy and as we were wrapping up our little hike it started to rain. So we headed to lunch at Crickets!

The weather cleared up in the evening and we spent it back at camp down by the water with the pups.

Day 2 was a whole lot of fun! A definite highlight of my trip. We traveled just across the border into Montana to bike the Route of the Hiawatha. It is a 15 miles bike ride through the mountains on an old railway track that has been converted into a trail! This is a project that spans across the U.S. and is lead by the Rails to Trails initiative! So cool!

The trail starts off through a 2 mile long tunnel 😱 2 miles doesn’t sound that long until you are in the pitch black, wet and windy tunnel with only a little lamp to guide you! Not to mention the gigantic group of teenage boy scouts hollering (so they could hear their echo) behind! I felt like I was in some zombie apocalypse movie! With the light at the end of the tunnel always in sight but never feeling any closer!

Once out of the tunnel there was a nice little waterfall and blue skies! The trail has signage along the way talking about the history of the trail and the surrounding forest. In the Great Fire of 1910, THREE MILLION acres were ravaged by one of the worst forest fires our country has ever seen. The mountains are once again covered in green trees and it is hard to imagine them all once being covered in flames. THREE MILLION, I can’t imagine. It is actually the main reason why forest are managed the way they are now. Controlled burns and other forest maintenance programs would have prevented an event like this from ever occurring.

As we winded our way down the mountain we went through 9 more (much shorter) tunnels and over 7 trestles (my favorite)! The trail took us about 2.5 hours but we had to rush a little bit because I didn’t do enough research. I didn’t realize that we could have easily spent 4 hours making our way through. We had to be to the end by a certain time so that we could catch the last shuttle back up to my car. Also, it shouldn’t go without mentioning that we had the funniest, most knowledgeable and entertaining shuttle bus man, thanks Tim!

Kayleigh and I had the time of our lives getting covered in mud and enjoying the sunshine! The Boy Scouts stayed with us most of the time and had us laughing the whole way down. It was a nice distraction from all the pain I was in. I should have sprang for the comfort seat on my bike! 🀣🀣 ha!

If you are ever in the area I couldn’t recommend this enough!

Almost forgot to include the highlight of the trail!

After an exciting Day 2 we knew we wanted to explore the Idaho-Montana border area a little more so we loaded up the dogs and headed to The Center of the Universe; Wallace, Idaho (more on this in a second)!

Wallace is an old mining town and was at the epicenter of the Great Fire of 1910. One of the hero’s of that fire was Pulaski. He was a National Forest Park Ranger and he saved 45 of his men by leading them into an old mine and out of harms way. The trail that we hiked has signs all along the way about him and the fire. It was an awesome trail next to a nice river.

After our hike we obviously had to check out the local brewery where we got to talk to some locals about why the town is The Center of the Universe. Check out the explanation in the picture below! Obviously, I had to get a picture with the pups at The (exact) Center of the Universe! It was a fun town and one I would definitely visit again!

On the way home we made a pit stop at Elmer’s Fountain. A beautiful fountain that is made up of old mining parts and fed by the neighboring mountain stream!

Day 3 Kayleigh and I went to explore Spokane. It was a beautiful, clean city but a little disappointing for a reason I can’t exactly put my finger on?? We stopped by some of their local art installations (Radio Flyer Wagon playground and Garbage Goat), got coffee and took in the beautiful waterfalls through the center of the city.

Day 4 was spent exploring Coeur d’Alene. We went shopping downtown. Had a delicious lunch at Crafted and then hiked Mineral Ridge. It was a beautiful hike with one of the best views of Lake Coeur d’Alene!

We stayed at Camp Coeur d’Alene and it was perfect! Every morning and evening I would take the dogs up to the top of camp to see the perfect views!

#102 – Funny neighbors.

#103 – Awesome friendships.

#104 – Relaxing and rainy days.

#105 – Entertaining dog parks.

“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between the wya nature works and the way man thinks.”

Sawtooth Mountains

Well, for the past week I’ve been enjoying a cellular-free life in the mountains with my sister in law, Alyse! After I picked her up in Twin Falls, Idaho we headed North into the Sawtooth Mountains and to a tiny little mountain town called Stanley!

This area is beyond gorgeous! So many trails, nice people, Bald Eagles, streams, rivers, mountains, hot springs, stars and blue skies!

I successfully backed into my camping spot! Assisted by the nicest camp host ever, Jim!

This campground was perfect! Only 10 spots with a lot of distance between campers and it was right on the Salmon River. We went down to the river almost everyday to play fetch with the pups! Gonzo loved it! And Sophie loved it because there were so many things to sniff!

On our way up into the mountains we went through Sun Valley. The specific town is called Ketchum and it’s a beautiful resort town. If you are looking for a little less peace and quiet but still want to go to the Sawtooth’s this is the area for you.

Anyway, on our way in we saw advertisements for a Brewfest on the following day. Since I already wanted to check out this area and I love beer it sounded like the perfect event!

The Brewfest was awesome and dog friendly. So many nice people, dogs and delicious beer! It was a perfect day! I kind of want to make it a summer tradition.

We started the following day by hitting up one of the many hot springs in the area. Boat Box! It was so cool and HOT! We referred to it as Sawtooth’s Cauldron.

That night the camp hosts asked us over for a home cooked Italian meal and wine! It was so fun visiting with them and getting to know them. Such nice people!

After dinner we walked down to the boat drop, watched the sunset and looked for pretty rocks!

The following day we headed out on a wonderful 8 mile hike! It started out in a beautiful field, then went deeper and higher into the mountains. Alyse and I even had to cross a rushing, rocky, freezing cold, crystal clear mountain stream two times on the way in and two times on the way out! It was quite fun once we got the feeling back in our legs! The end of the trail brought us up to beautiful Bridal Falls! I love a good waterfall!

Since there is so many amazing trails in the area we also spent the next day hiking except this time we had Sophie and Gonzo with us! We all hiked the 8 mile Bench Lakes Trail. It has to be one of my favorite trails that I have ever hiked. Steady incline the whole way, only a few switch backs. Picturesque views of turquoise blue Redfish Lake. A good amount of shade. A nice breeze. Snow-capped mountains in the background. And at the end were two alpine lakes that the doggies got to cool off in.

I will say I thought we were going to have to turn around because about one mile in I wasn’t sure if Sophie was doing well. She was panting harder than usual and kept laying down. I let her rest, gave her water, took her off leash and took her harness off. After that she was leading the way and tearing up the trail. Night and day difference! I had a smile on my face the whole time knowing she felt better!

Day 5 made for another perfect day in the Sawtooths! White Water Rafting! We went through the company, White Cloud. They were great we loved our river guide, Will. And our two fellow rowers, Leslie and Debbie; sisters from California on a three week long road trip! So fun getting to know all of them! We decided on a half day tour on Salmon River through some class II and III rapids. It was delightful! And I didn’t fall out! So that’s a win! Ha!

On the way home from rafting we took a detour to the Gold Dredge. It was interesting to read about the area’s gold rush and to see how much the area still suffers today because of it. The area of Yankee Fork was completely destroyed over 15 years back in the 1930s when they were dredging the beautiful river and Salmon spawning grounds for gold. For seven miles there is nothing but massive piles of stone on either side of the road. The government is working in some areas to restore the area. It was crazy to see all the earth movers rebuilding the riverbed. They will then plant native plants and trees. Lastly they will reroute the river into the newly carved path and hopefully the salmon will return after almost 100 years of absence. Below is a picture of the dredge that did all the damage for only 11 million dollars worth of gold.

It shouldn’t go without mentioning that Alyse and I got to eat some wonderful food in the area!

The cutest coffee shop, Peaks and Perks!

Delicious Redd Square!

And yummy Sawtooth Luce’s!

All in all it was a great stay and I can’t wait to go back!

#97 – For Alyse being able to come out and stay with me.

#98 – To Will for navigating us safely through the rapids!

#99 – To those who believe in restoring nature.

#100 – To Jim and Cathy for inviting us into their home for a delicious meal!

#101 – To so many of the lovely locals who shared their favorite spots with us!

“If we are going to whittle away at nature, we should recognize at the very beginning that such whittlings are cumulative, and that the end result will be mediocrity.”

Craters of the Moon

For my Mom’s last stop we traveled to Arco, Idaho! Wasn’t really sure what to expect besides the fact that it was in the middle of nowhere. Their claim to fame is that they were the first town ever powered by nuclear energy. Pretty cool, this area has a long history of positive nuclear use and the Idaho National Laboratories takes up most of the land here. Apparently, near by Atomic City has an interesting museum that we would have visited had we had time.

But our main focus was Craters of the Moon National Monument. It’s unlike any place I’ve ever been!

Craters of the Moon was formed some 15000 years ago when magma spewed from the earth and lava ran over the land creating this insane landscape that we see today. We read and heard all the information. We learned about different lava flows, different ways magma is released and the past, present and future of the area! I’m no geologist so I won’t bother sharing it! You will just have to visit for yourself!

We spent two days at Craters of the Moon!

Our first stop on day 1 was the Visitor Center. We got our map, our cave pass, formation information and some souvenirs.

Then it was off to our first little hike up Inferno Cone! It was pretty great! You could see for miles from the top!

We made a quick stop at Spatter Cone. There were tons of these types of cones all across the park! And they all have a hole in the center where the magma was at one time shooting out!

Our next hike was North Crater Trail and whew! was it a tough one! Lots and lots of steep inclines but again the views were incredible and I would even say otherworldly. It really is like what I have in my mind for the moon, minus all the green. The astronauts even practiced in their suits here before the real thing!

That was it for day one because that 5 mile hike wore us right out!

On the way home stopped by the local A & A Market and then went home to have a nice dinner of leftovers!

Day 2 we headed back to the park to check out the few remaining trails!

First we went to Devil’s Orchard. It got its name 100 years ago from a minister who saw all the grotesque rock and twisted trees and and responded by saying it was, “a garden fit for a devil”. I love dead, twisted trees so enjoy!

This was an interpretive trail which discussed the balance between the enjoyment of natural spaces and the need to protect them. We all know that most of the time enjoyment and protection are at odds but they don’t have to be. This most often can be rectified through education about the fragility of the area and about the need to preserve it for the future. It was all highly informational. But then there are just some stupid people who disregard everything πŸ™„

There were also several thought provoking quotes about this balance throughout the trail which I will be sharing over my next several posts.

Our other stop of the day was at the caves!! The caves are actually collapsed lava flow tubes! So cool to walk through an area that once had lava flowing through it! My mom and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Highly recommend spending two days at this park! It is incredibly easy to navigate , the signage is great, tons of information and all the rangers were so helpful! Beautiful place!

#95 – My mom just left! So thankful she was able to join me for such a long and good time! I love sharing new experiences with her!

#96 – I just love this campground we are at. The vibe is so friendly and every Thursday – Sunday they serve dinner at their cafe. The owner cooks it and then we all eat it! I love small towns with great communities!

As crude a weapon as the cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life.”

Park City

Hello! After the Flaming Gorge we headed to the Salt Lake City area. We stayed for 5 days at Wasatch Mountain State Park which was in the cute little Swiss town of Midway. About 20 minutes away from downtown Park City.

The drive from the Flaming Gorge to Midway was a quick 3 hours. And since it was National Donut Day we had to make a quick stop at the local donut shop, Get Glazed! Mmmmmmmm!! Well, actually it wasn’t quick, there was a very long line! Worth it!

Setting up camp is happening a lot quicker now that I’m getting back into my routine. After setting up camp we took a breather and then took a walk with the dogs around camp! And a drive around town! We’re nestled in a beautiful location! Jana and I made some s’mores that night! I’m not great at making a real fire! Ha! (See Below) Also, once the sunset those mountain breezes were quite chilly!

Day 2 we had to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to get Jana on her flight back to Houston for her last week in the States! We arrived back at camp and I took a long nap! I had previously been sleeping with the dogs on the fold out couch. Did wonders for my back! Ha!

After that my mom and I headed out to the Midway Farmers Market where we got kicked out because dogs aren’t allowed on the grass in Wasatch County. So much for their campaign of “Support Local”! I tried! Ha!

So we headed up to Bark City, I mean, Park City where we had a nice lunch out on the patio with the pups at Wasatch Brewing Company! So good! I have been drinking their beer for years so it was nice to be able to support them in person!

Next we took the dogs to an amazing dog park in Trailside Park! This park even connects to an off leash dog trail! The pups LOVED it and were SO well behaved!

Day 3 brought a beautiful hike! We went to Desolation Trail in Mill Creek Canyon where on odd days dogs are allowed to hike off leash and mountain bikers aren’t allowed!!! Even days dogs have to be on leash and mountain bikers are allowed. It’s a nice compromise!

The dogs were out in hoards and it was wonderful!! Again, the pups did so good! I was thoroughly impressed and had a smile on my face all afternoon! The view at the overlook over Salt Lake Valley was 😍😍

We decided we needed a cold drink and based on the suggestion from a fellow hiker we went to T. F. Brewery in South Salt Lake. Delicious beer, great atmosphere and a street taco food truck! Can’t ask for a better ending to the day! Oh! And we had two very tired pups!

Day 4 might have been the most exciting of all because we got to meet up with our former foster pup, George! Who is now living the good life in the mountains! It was so great to see him doing so well with a family that truly loves him!

We met up at another incredible Park City dog park in Willow Creek Park. Gonzo had the time of his life playing fetch with the other dogs in the pond! And Sophie enjoyed policing the area and breaking up any and all forms of play! Ha! Brat!

After a very fun reunion at the dog park we headed into downtown Park City to find a coffee and tea shop my mom had heard about; Atticus! A wonderful place that I couldn’t get over! They make all their tea blends in house ($75 later! Whoops! I love tea! Sorry Taylor! πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ) They have a little bookstore inside with lots of books from local authors! They name all their cup sizes in the cutest way possible, their biggest size is Hagrid and smallest is Frodo! Ha! They have vegan options and all their serving ware is biodegradable! This is a business I can support!

It was on a weekday in Park City and the atmosphere on Main Street was much improved! So many less people! It was so enjoyable we ended up spending the whole day walking around!

We rounded out the day at another awesome spot! Fill’er Up Coffee Station! This may have actually been our second time stopping here, but who’s counting πŸ˜‰ Anyway, it’s the coolest building. It was an old garage that they converted into a local establishment. The owners formerly owned a vintage shop and boy, can you tell!

In addition to coffee and food they serve ice cream m. It is homemade and delicious! We sat out in one of their many outdoor areas and enjoyed the best pistachio ice cream everrrrrrr!

Well We love you Salt Lake! Until next time! Now off to Idaho!

#92 – I know I’ve been grateful of them before but my dogs are the best! They make everyday of this trip so much better.

#93 – For Park City and their dog inclusive laws. Thanks for letting me enjoy your city with my favorites!

#94 – To the many awesome suggestions we’ve had from locals about things to do and places to go! I find the best places to get good information on things to do are in coffee shops, at breweries and out on the trails! Just ask, everyone is always excited to share their favorite things about their city!

#95 – To the man who let me borrow his level so that I could adjust my camper correctly! I may or may not have left the other one on the bumper and drove off! Whoops!

Flaming Gorge

As we were making our way further west we took a pit stop in The Flaming Gorge. The Green River cut through the red rock in the gorge giving it its name. An absolutely beautiful place with even friendlier people!

My first experience with a friendly person was checking into the campground and the second was when her husband helped me back into my spot! I stress the HELP part! He didn’t do it for me – I was driving and I’m so proud of myself! Thanks Scott!

We stayed here for two days.

Day 1 just consisted of walking around the beautiful campground. Green grass, horses, goats (that acted and were treated more like dogs), deer, a stunning sunset and a nice breeze!

Day 2 consisted of a wonderful little hike along the Red Canyon Rim Trail! The views were breathtaking. Pictures do it no justice so I apologize in advance!

After the trail we stopped by the Flaming Gorge Dam for the best Dam tour in town!! We had the best Dam (and cutest) guide! It was Dam interesting; so many Dam facts! It was made even better because the secondary release was open. Which means water was being released out of two pipes and not even go through the power plant. The water was coming out at 120 mph. Which the guide said is equivalent to 2000 basketballs per second! We also got to see the cutest girl, Penelope the Otter, getting her nightly treat from the employees!

#89 – I’m thankful for such beautiful weather.

#90 – To Scott for helping me back in. It is a source of anxiety for me. By forcing me to do it through guidance it EMPOWERED me! I can’t wait to try to back up at my next location!

#91 – For beautiful places that are taken care of and cherished by others!

Colorado

My mom, Jana (my foreign exchange student) and I made it to Colorful Colorado!

After a day and a half of driving and a particularly stressful bit through the Texas panhandle. Think: 70 mph gust and rain coming down so hard I couldn’t even see the road in front of me. I’m normally a very calm driver but this had me physically shaking. We pulled over and waited out the storm and then continued slowly northward.

We made it to the sweetest town of Loveland, Colorado a little late but safe and that’s all that really matters.

My campsite is amazing and backs right up to the river!

Everyone is very friendly and the nicest man helped me get backed into my spot! This campground even has a tiny house community and if you know me then you know I’m currently obsessed with watching tiny home walkthroughs on YouTube! So I was pretty excited about that and gawked at them on every walk!

After setting up camp we decided to drive around the town of Loveland. Turns out Loveland is an awesome town in the foothills of the Rockies with a quaint lake in the middle of it. We took a stroll around the lake, watched the sunset and got some ice cream!

Cool story: The well known mom and pop ice cream shop in town is called Dairy Delite! Well, I worked at a mom and pop ice cream shop growing up also called Dairy Delight!! Ha! Had to go!

We spent both of the following days in Estes Park, about a 45 minute drive from camp up into the mountains.

Day 1 we went to the dog friendly Hermit Park and hiked Kruger Rock! A 4 mile out and back hike up to an incredible 360 degree view of Estes Park valley and all the mountains that surround it. The 1000 ft elevation gain combined with just leaving 0 feet above sea level Houston combined with Sophia and Gonzo setting a brutal pace made for an interesting trip up the mountain. But we all made it! I can’t say enough good things about this Hermit Park is a beautiful, friendly and well kept open space.

On our way out we made sure to visit downtown Estes Park which is incredible. We visited some shops and had dinner on the river that flows through town! So awesome!

Also, it can’t go without mentioning the sweetest wildlife encounter of the day. On the way into Hermit Park we had a momma elk and her baby walk right in front of us! So sweet, the little one was tearing it up in the field running circles around the momma but straightened right up when they crossed the street!

Day 2 we spent at the not dog friendly Rocky Mountain National Park! A lot of the trails still had snow and slush on them so we were limited in choice of trail. The nice park ranger suggested we venture up Deer Mountain. A 6 mile out and back trail with a 700 ft elevation gain and some amazing views! It was a wonderful trip up minus the random 200 stairs to the very top which were rough to say the least. We spent about a hour up at the top taking in the views, chatting with other hikers and laughing at all the chipmunks begging people for food. πŸ™…πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

On the way out of the park we made sure to stop by Old Fall River Road, even though it’s still closed due to all the snow further up we decided to walk down it a bit and I’m sure glad we did! We ran into a small herd of Big Horn Sheep having their evening meal! We watched them for awhile and then checked out a little waterfall further up the road. Apparently, we were leaving the park at just the right time because we saw tens of elk and deer as well! So fun! Didn’t know where to look! Probably the road! Ha!

Dinner was at camp that night and it was a great way to end our time in Colorado! I can’t wait to come back so, so many things still left to do!

Also… I decided to continue #1000thingstobethankfulfor!

#85 – Grateful I made the trip safely.

#86 – Thankful that my momma, Jana and my perfect pups get to join me on this adventure! Nothing beats sharing all these experiences with the ones I love!

#87 – My moms willingness and excitement to climb up a mountain at 62 years old! πŸ’ͺ🏼

#88 – For a wonderful last year of employment. I get to work with incredible and inspiring people whom I can’t say I’m grateful for enough! Most know I go back and forth about being in education but this year I truly looked forward to going to work everyday. It was because of all these people and the work that we do together that made that so!