I am a superfan of the National Park Service. We are so fortunate that our leaders, almost 100 years ago, thought to preserve our national heritage and lands through the park system. It is a particularly great time to visit as the NPS celebrates its 99th year and looks towards its centennial celebrations. This school year 4th graders and their families can visit national parks, etc. for free. The park service has an interactive website, a list of 99 ways to find your park, and their own hashtag (#FindYourPark).
Scenic Cruise on Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park
Because Brad works at the base of the Tetons (in the park!!) we have had so many wonderful opportunities to explore. This week we took a scenic/ interpretive cruise around Jenny Lake. The boys learned about glaciers and the way nature shapes the land and lakes in this area.
Phelps Lake via Woodland Trail, LSR, Grand Teton National Park
We also spent time at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve where we learned about land conservationists who have shaped and sustained the park system by sharing their private land for the benefit of all Americans.
Roadschool Day 3, Junior Ranger Program at Grand Teton National Park
Our first week of road schooling behind us. I will share that there were a lot of things that did not work. We are learning about the process, expectations, limitations and patience. However, there was one thing that did work. I agreed to exchange one day of writing for the successful completion of the Junior Ranger program. Win, win.
Teewinot means “many pinnacles” in Shoshone. It is the sixth highest peak in the Teton Mountain Range. Mount Teewinot is 12,330 feet high at its highest point. Jenny Lake is the lake that is beside Mount Teewinot. Jenny Lake was carved out by a glacier long ago. Jenny Lake is 256 feet at its deepest point. The glacier that carved out Jenny Lake came down through Cascade Canyon. We have spent a lot of time over the course of 4 months at String Lake and Jenny Lake. String Lake is a feeder lake to Jenny Lake. There is also a shuttle boat service called Jenny Lake Boating. When you go across the lake on a boat you can go on a hike to Hidden Falls. It is a waterfall that comes from snow melt year round. Hidden Falls also gives water to Jenny Lake. Lots and lots of people climb Mount Teewinot every year. That would be a fun thing to do. That is one of my goals.
I will love and hate road school. Here are some of my reasons. I do not have to go to a school building. And I can sit in the car and sleep. I can play on my iPad if I do a little work. And I will get lots of time to walk around and also play. That makes it kind of fun. I did not know that it is easy to make school more fun because we do a little work so that we get to play on screens. I hate road school because I will miss my dog Gus. It is really hard to be away from Gus because he is so cute. That is hard to be away from him five days and now I have to go away from him for four months. I really miss him most of the time when I don´t have him in front of my face. I approve this message.
It wasn’t so easy as just zipping up a plan to travel around the U.S. There was much debate. As you know from the last post, a round the world trip was choice A. Choice B was South America. And then the U.S. We eliminated RTW based on finances and just the mind blowing enormity of the thing. We are fortunate to have family in South America, but we opted to travel there when the boys are older. Traveling the U.S is something we take for granted. It is so familiar to us and yet we rarely explore the depths of all it has to offer. We listen to the stories of places people have been. We dream of going there. So, that was intriguing to us. Seeing first hand the storied places, but maybe going one step further. I find it interesting to take suggestions from people we meet along the way. It’s kind of fun to think we are tourists in our own country.
We have been all over the place trying to figure out the logistics of our trip. We thought about going all van life around the country and discovered that they are super expensive. Apparently it’s the way to go right now. Modified. Van. We searched for hard sided campers. We thought about renting an R.V. Truly we did not even consider hotels/ motels (with the exception of their necessity in relation to showering). In the end we just decided to be good stewards of our resources and use what we have. A pop-up camper. Bless our hearts. Thankfully we have some good people who want to use their outdoor outfitting skills to help us stay warm into the winter months.
Because, yes. We are road tripping in the winter and hopefully skiing our way around the west. I will post more on our travel plans coming up. But rest assured the rough draft considers all the weather and climate variables we could imagine. We literally packed for three different seasons, and weather on both coasts. We packed for water and snow. Hot and cold. We packed with the intention of leaving home and not coming back until the end of December. Although we packed minimally, the most important thing we had to leave behind was our dog. And that is a story for another day…
For more than half my days, I sat behind a computer dreaming about life on the outside. I created a secret board on Pinterest called Round the World. I hoped that someday our family would take one of those epic journeys. Truth be told, fear was a limiting factor, and I never believed it was possible to forego “the rules” and embrace a risky dream. For some time I didn’t realize that I had the ability to make my own dreams come true.
Earlier this year we turned our lives upside down. I walked away from my desk job in the city and Brad left for work in Idaho. We have traveled many miles over the Oregon Trail this summer, going back and forth through Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho. Just like the pioneers we held onto hope that something better was out there. Slowly we stitched together our dreams of travel and a plan was formed.
In the next few weeks we will start an “expedition” around the United States. I believe the actual journey started at that desk many years ago. It has been a long process of dreaming and planning. Please keep us in your thoughts as we road trip with our boys. Imagine: Angst coming from the back seat. Food bribes. Dreams of minimal screen time…failing miserably. And road school. For thousands of miles. It’s possible we are delusional. If nothing else this will be a good study about what it’s like when one family goes way outside its comfort zone. Successes and failures.
We can always be learners, even as adults. On the road we hope to become readers, writers, foodies, sociologists, scientists, measurers of mountains and question askers. We will be forever changed in ways we can’t imagine. The most exciting prospect of reaching for an unlikely dream is touching it and reaching for the next. Please join us as we write about our travels.