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Adventure on, Wild Westerners!

As a family we have strolled through the likes of Spearfish, Kanab, Smithers, and Baker.  Even better, we have opened car doors to vast, seemingly untouched and silent places: just us and the emptiness.  We have happened upon a gigantic plain of volcanic eruption where the dirt is black and the wildflowers are as hardy and persistent as weeds.  We have watched mama bears escorting cubs in a way that only moms know. And mountain goats stuck like glue to the sides of insane rock faces.  We stood by as two moose floated from one bank to the other, through the MIDDLE of a huge lake, swimming, diving, chewing, together.  

One photo to rule them all!
We have seen places so breathtaking that you can't help but take magnificent pictures.  In the Black Hills we arrived under bright blue, sunny skies at a deserted campground covered in three inches of ice balls and with trees two feet in diameter downed by torrential rain.  We have watched osprey circle, stalking careless jumping fish as we waded in the warmth of the Firehole River.  Tucker at 5 years-old took his daily nap in a tandem kayak on Jackson Lake (this kid can sleep anywhere!).

Cooling off in Jackson Lake near Colter Bay
Days come and go all year long but that next adventure always lies ahead, sure to make up for the stress, nonsense and chaos of the day-to-day.  We are blessed to be able to experience so many new and interesting places; to have the time and the funding and, of course, the collective sense of "let's go" to take on these adventures.

Did you sleep well?
These are trips that I keep close to my heart, that I will remember and grow from as long as I live. They have shaped our family. We turned into a pack, like the wolves in Yellowstone: we stick together, wander with direction, keep it [mostly] simple and have SO MUCH FUN-- climbing, skipping rocks, searching for things, and spending plain, old, undivided, lazy time together.

The edge of the earth .
I cherish days where we go to sleep bone-tired and wake up ravenously hungry (for oatmeal?).  I love watching my kids roaming far and free on their own imaginary odyssey, entranced by wildlife up close and personal, digging as deep as they can with a stick, learning the unique ways of people, and the very long timeframe of planet. And eating hot dogs...well, we won't say how often that happens.

Those amazing salmon.  That's a story for another time....
John Muir says it so well:

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail.

Adventure on, Wild Westerners!