Thursday, October 29, 2015

Swan Valley

Our last day in Idaho was a beautiful one.  We drove out to Swan Valley and enjoyed a perfect fall day.

We went to Katie's parents' home.  The kids had a blast.

Katie was so sweet and offered to saddle up a horse for the kids to ride.  

Henry enjoyed the treasures he found in the tack shed.

Claire kept declaring that she wanted to be a farmer.  She was so excited to help brush down the horse.

The horses weren't the only hit on the ranch.  My kids are obviously animal-starved, because the cat and dog were equally adored.

Claire was in absolute heaven.

Henry finally got his turn.   I thought he was going to roll right off the side of the horse, but he did great.

Claire hitched a final ride back.

Look at her crossing her little leg while she's sleeping.  Everything this babe does is adorable.

After a picnic lunch, Adam lay down on the grass for a snooze.  The cat joined him, sitting on his stomach.  Well, Harper thought it looked like great fun and basically sat on Adam's neck so she could pet the cat.  Then the dog decided to join in and plopped down right up next to the other three.  Serves him right for trying to nap in the great outdoors!

After a beautiful afternoon, Trent, Katie, Adam and I went to the South Fork Lodge for an amazing dinner.  With it being a Monday night, I think we were the only ones at the restaurant.  We ate out on the patio with a raging fire behind us, and a glorious view of the Snake River.  

It also happened to be my birthday.  This is 37!

I can't speak for anyone else, but I just about ate myself sick.  The food was so good!  It was so fun to go on a fancy dinner date.  It was the perfect way to close out our trip to Idaho.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Craters of the Moon

We headed out to Idaho Falls for a quick visit for a wedding open house, and decided to take the opportunity to check out Craters of the Moon along the way.  I've wanted to go for a while, but it was never the right time: we either travel to Idaho at Christmas time (too cold) or around July 4th (too hot), so this quick fall trip turned out to be the perfect time.

Claire, always the rock hound, wasted no time checking out the terrain.

We first stopped to hike up Inferno Cone, basically a massive mound of cinders.  It was deceptively tall, and the bits of pumice had a pretty iridescent sheen, which meant I had a pocket full of pumice to carry for Claire. 

The dwarf buckwheat was interesting.  It's white leaves and flowers reflect the sun.  I thought they were just dead and crispy, but no!

There were so many weird little formations in the rocks.

The main thing we wanted to do was check out the caves.  We bought the kids some head lamps, brought along their bike helmets to prevent head bumps (which did happen), and just had a blast.  We went into all four of the caves.  

The texture of the walls of one of the caves.

I will admit that I was nervous about the kids when we first started climbing around the caves.  I knew their heads would be protected, but not their faces, limbs, etc.  But it must be said that both Claire and Henry were incredible.  Henry, who is trips and falls and bumps into stuff like any normal 3 year old was a complete natural at scaling the rocks.  As you can see in the picture below, Claire and Henry were not waiting for me and Adam.  They continued exploring at their own pace (which was almost always ahead of Adam and I).

The main thought in my mind as we walked along the trail:  This is the lone and dreary world.

Probably the most impressive cave was Indian Tunnel.

This cave started off of the trail head, you go through the wide tunnel, and come out the other end.

After climbing out of the cave, you cross the lava rock landscape back to the trail, following metal posts to guide you.

Henry was loving this experience.  After we got through the first three of the four caves, Henry eagerly asked, "Can we go to another one?"  But this last cave must have taken it all out of the boy, because here he is just "taking a rest."

Harper was pretty worn out too.

Harper Turns 3!

We sure love this little girl, and we were excited to wish her a happy birthday.  But, of course, this little sassafrass decided to have so...