Tuesday, July 21, 2009


If you didn't read the first part, this is a continuation, so you might want to read this first: Yellowstone Part I.

Part II:

4:21 pm same day. We are done with our day now. I am calling this vacation an adventure instead of a vacation. Because with a vacation, you are poolside getting drinks delivered to you. With an adventure, you are out exploring the place you are “vacationing” … if that makes any sense at all. So, this morning we went to Mammoth Springs, which really was pretty disappointing. There were no mammoth springs to be seen. I was expecting pools of water, wouldn’t you, if you were visiting a place called Mammoth Springs? Well, the cool thing about it was that you felt like this could possibly be like walking on the moon. The terrain is very rocky and whitish and I think not too many years ago, there were springs all over shooting around and that’s how it got the name. Not a place I would recommend spending a day at, but a nice stop through if you were heading somewhere else and happened to come across Mammoth Springs.

After that, we decided to grab some lunch before a big hike because the past few days we’ve been hiking then eating lunch really late, and with dinner reservations early, none of us feel like eating again, and of course, eating is a big priority for us (me!). So, on our way to lunch we see a bunch of cars at one side of the road and I have now learned that when there is a bunch of cars, there’s usually a cool animal, and not the bison, which yeah, they’re cool, but like I said, They are beginning to be a dime a dozen – oh look, there’s one now! (Just kidding – but now that I said that we will probably turn the corner and see one.) Back to the animal – we pull over where all the cars are and I ask, “What are you looking at?” to one of the people passing by. “A bear,” they said. I am all about the bears and so we got out and there was a ranger with telescopes set up so we could look through and get a good look at the bear. I swear, the bears make this trip the best! I love, love, love scouting and finding a bear and could have stayed there all day watching the bear (because come on, how much energy do I have to exert watching a bear in the woods? – that depends on if he started chasing us, of course … so we watch the bear and I’m in my glory and when I get home, I will have video of the bears we have seen to share with you. They didn’t do much, but it was very cool to watch them.

After our bear sighting we went to lunch and then decided to stay where we were to hike. Another moderate hike, but it was kicking my ass on the 300 foot way up. All through a place where there are warnings of it being grizzly territory and with tips on what to do if you come in contact with a bear: “As a last resort, you may use bear spray, but it will not do you any good if you run into a bear and it’s still in your pack.” No shit! It also says not to make eye contact with a bear, so what are you supposed to do, “Hi bear, really, I am not … OH LOOK A BISON! They are huge MFers. I just said to everyone, “Oh a bison, should I take a picture. Everyone in the car said, “I’m so over bison.” They are sooo old school! Now we are going to be driving by the place we saw the grizzly bear yesterday and I would love to see another bear. Oh, by the way, that mountain that we clobbered yesterday was called Mount Washburn, not Mount Washmore like I think I wrote earlier. And that is the highest point of elevation in Yellowstone.

OK, am rambling, after lunch we take this hike in grizzly country and get up 300 feet high and then find the hidden lake (it felt like Dora the Explorer … find the grizzly den, then search for the hidden lake …) … the lake was beautiful, but it’s still kind of scary walking around with no people there …OK, so Ajer just totally puked all in the car as I was typing this. We all start screaming, I throw the laptop on the dashboard to find something for him to puke in and of course, I have a Ziploc, which Mr. Manic gives to Ajer, and which Ajers just holds in his hand while he continues to puke on the van floor. So we’re all screaming and Mr. finds a turn off and pulls over and pops open the door and we’re all screaming, GET OUT OF THE CAR, GET OUT OF THE CAR – QUIT PUKING IN THE CAR!!! And tukey starts crying and screaming: YOU’RE PUKING ON MY SWEATSHIRT!!!

Like I said, an adventure, not a vacation. Ajers is blaming it on the salmon from last night. So, I guess I was talking about the hike around hidden lake which was relatively OK and very beautiful, and I did take a ton of pics of pretty wildflowers and views of the mountains. OH LOOK MORE BISON out there in the distance! oH, another thing we saw on this last hike that was supposedly a hike through Grizzly Territory was a huge leg bone of a bison licked clean. WTF? Do bears eat bison? I’m going to have to google that one, because it looked as if a lion pride sucked that bison leg clean. Another bison on my right> I wish I could have counted …Oops, two more on my left! I wish there was an animal tracker which could indicate how many bears we actually passed through during our hikes. That would be cool to be able to do – look at a video of our trip and have someone two more bison, btw … anyway, would be cool to have a video of all our treks and have all the spots pinpointed in the video of all the bears we passed during our journeys. That’d be cool.

OK, I think I am going to be done for now. I’m sure more antics of this adventure will occur. Tomorrow we head for Jackson Hole where we may have internet and I will post this, but won’t be able to post the pictures. So, to recap – First day hike, Diva had a meltdown (and so did I). Second day hike : Tukey had a major meltdown, Mr. manic (BISON ALERT!) told me to quit barking orders, then we saw a bear. Today, we saw a bear and Ajers puked. Like I said, not exactly calling it a family vacation, but it sure as hell has been an adventure, and we’ve got four full days ahead of us complete with horseback riding and some white water rafting.

Part III:

I’m back. It’s 10:22 pm and I just encountered a wild animal in the bathroom of our cabin! How you doin!?!?! Much, much better evening tonight –after the puke fest in the car, we decided to do a little laundry in the lodge. Well, guess what we discovered? We thought Tukey had stepped in some horse manure on our hike today but we found out that Tukey had a bit of an accident in his pants today, and that’s what we were smelling the whole time in the car this afternoon when I kept saying, “WHO FARTED!?!?” Yes, my little Tukey had a bit of a problem on the trail. Thank goodness for the laundry facilities at our awesome lodge. If you’re ever headed to Yellowstone, you must stay at the Lake Lodge—great accommodations, good food, AWESOME bar in the lobby which is where I had my 4-5 appletinis tonight. And boy did I need them! So yeah, we’ve discovered I’m not much of a hiker, but do like to chillax with a martini or twelve after a strenuous hike in the wilderness, and yeah, so then there was a big bear in the bathroom in our lodge who had his way with me and now I’m going to bed. We may try to do one last hike in Yellowstone tomorrow a.m. before we hit Jackson Hole because come on, it’s so apparent I am such a hikin’ lover these days. Good night my friends, time to pass out for a while. Am excited because tomorrow am. We do not have to get up at the crack of my ass to go on a hike. I get to sleep in. Now yeah, that is a vacation!!!


Today is Thursday, July 16, 2009 and I didn’t write yesterday. We got up and packed up our stuff because we were heading to Victor, Idaho, and to Jackson Hole, WY. After leaving the Lake Lodge cabins, we headed to another hiking trail called Elephant Back, which according to everyone was an easy trail. And it was pretty good, except for the warning signs that we were entering Bear Country and to hike with caution. I am beginning to wonder how hiking is not stressful to someone who does not know if there’s a bear waiting to strike her or her children. Walking into those woods is much like scenes from the Blair Witch Project … just scary. I guess I should rethink things—perhaps I’m not really just lazy, maybe I am just more fearful for my life. And in this trail, of course, Diva and I were lagging behind and then she got all moody and so I went ahead while Mr. Manic dealt with her and the rest of the group was way ahead. It’s quite reassuring when people come down the mountain unscathed from bear wounds and every time I would meet up with a hiker, I ask, “See any bears?” Because really, I am frightened to death of encountering one close up. So, I’m ahead and by myself and the woods are really heavily wooded. Ha, that’s dumb, of course they are, they are a forest of woods! And I swear to you, at one point, I hear the howl of an animal not very far from me. I swear I almost peed my pants AND my heart started racing. I began to yell for our group and when no one answered me, I got even more scared. But finally, we all caught up and I was relieved to know that at least my chances of getting eaten were lessened by the arrival of my husband and daughter. Nice, huh? Of course, though, while I may have been safe from any predators, we did have a Diva-Spill atop the mountain which caused her to scream as if she had been attacked by a predator. I wonder if I would maybe enjoy hikes without the fear of bears and the annoyance of my children being hiking wusses. It runs in the family. We are sooo not outdoorsy people. I guess that kind of makes me sad, but it also just says I can’t be everything to everyone, and at least I’ve tried my hardest.

So, after the elephant hike, we have lunch and then drive to Jackson Hole. We decide to take the free ski lift/gondola ride up to the top which was quite enjoyable, especially because on our way down, Diva spotted a huge moose lounging in the grass! We all start screaming and I try to grab my camera to take a picture but failed. My camera sux. When we get down the mountain, I want to go back up to see the moose again, but gee, none of my kids would come with me. This made me mad because the whole trip Ajers has been asking Dad about how big moose are and if we will see one. Apparently, he was not that interested. So, I go back up with my friend C, and her son, who, out of respect and privacy, I have not mentioned them much here, but yes, we are traveling with our friends. And yes, I guess it is difficult for some people to have to travel with me! I know, admittedly, that I am extremely high maintenance when it comes to wanting things done a certain way, but I have been definitely hiking outside of the box this week, trying some new things. So, C and M come up to the top again and we see the cute moose and I’m all excited because I am all about the wildlife that we can view from a safe distance. I took some pic s of the moose, then we went and had dinner at the appropriately named, Mangy Moose!

After dinner we drive the rest of the way to Victor Idaho to a remote and serene home of our friend’s friends. IT’S a gorgeous home in the hills of Victor and there are rumored to be bears in the area. So much so that you cannot leave the garage door open or they will come in, and also they have a hot tub and a bear once crawled up the hill while someone was in the hot tub. You can imagine how my nerves shot up when I heard the hot tub was ready and all the kids jump in.

This a.m. we get up and do the most fun adventure of the whole trip so far – we all went horseback riding up in the mountains, or a hill or whatever. My horse’s name was Bob. There was also Rapid, Dagger, Pal, Puck, and Minnie. Can’t remember the others’ names, but my horse took up the end of our 10-person horse ride and we rode for an hour. Great fun, cool out yet sunny, and I could enjoy the view without worrying about a bear killing me or my family. And boy, do those horse shit big! And pee a ton. I now know the reasoning behind the phrase: “I had to pee like a race horse,” although, technically, these were not race horses, they were trail horses but they still pee a gallon! And poop a lot and fart a lot too. The kids LOVED yelling out, “It’s pooping!” Oh wait, I loved yelling that out.

The rest of the day was spent doing the Alpine Slides, and Diva and Tukey did bungee trampolining. Then we went into Jackson, the town, and had lunch at the Merry Piglet Mexican restaurant. Two margaritas and a steak burrito, and I was spent!

Tonight, we spent a relaxing night at the house, watched the sunset, and made a fabulous dinner while the kids played. We discussed our day for tomorrow and there’s a hike to a place called Wind Cave that I am not at all up for. In fact, in like 1954 Girl Scouts died while taking that hike (Of course, it was because they were huddled under a pine tree when a storm hit and lightning struck, but heck, that’s enough to get me to take a pass. Plus, it’s like a 1.5 mile hike and there’s no way I can handle that. (HA, that is kind of a joke, I can do way more than 1.5!)
We are heading to Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton’s tomorrow, and a trail/place called Inspiration Point, and then tomorrow night we’ll go see a rodeo. Hey, when in Rome … More later my friends! Night!

July 17, 2009—Well, what’s a vacation without a migraine? Woke up at 3 a.m. with one that lasted all morning. I wasn’t planning on going on today’s hike anyway, because I knew it was going to be a tough one. But Ajers went with our friends, and the rest of the Manic crew stayed at the house. After a vicodin and some more sleep, the migraine went away and I rose from the dead. Mr. Manic, Tukey, Diva and I played Old Maid, War, and just lounged and read and had some quality family time. I did get worried when our friends were not back and it was approaching 2 p.m. I was, of course, sure a bear had their way with them! Fortunately, no bear, but they did run into some car trouble where they hit a rock and got a flat tire. Thankfully, everyone was OK and nice people picked them up and drove them back here. Only in Wyoming and Idaho my friends, are the people purely kind and generous. They brought me my oldest son back, safe and sound!

The men had to figure out the car and they are still gone and it’s past 9:30 at night, but it’s still light out. The sun sets at 9:30 out here and it’s beautiful. I think I need to take a picture of this little writing nook I am sitting in at the house. A gorgeous view of the front of the yard, withwildflowers and trees. I keep wondering what will happen if I put out a box of cereal of some bagels – I really want to see another bear, up close and personal but know that’s not a smart thing to do!

So, since the men have been gone, we rummaged through our groceries to make the kids dinner. Scrambled eggs with ham and cheese and also cute mini ham and cheese sandwiches. They were fun and cute! A fabulous dessert treat—take the Hot Fudge Sundae brand pop tarts, and cut them in halves. Soften vanilla ice cream and put the ice cream in between the two halves of pop tarts. Freeze ‘em. I swear they will be your new favorite treat!

Just now awaiting the men to get home. And tomorrow is the biggest adventure: white water rafting on Snake River! Wish us luck, we may never come home!

Sunday, July 19, 2009
Well, we’re at the airport on our way home. Did not get to white water raft—in perfect Manic fashion, the thing I was most looking forward to doing on this trip got squashed. Tukey got sick, puking and fever. We ventured to the place where we were to leave, and Tukey vomits in the Ziploc on the way in the minivan. I thought, “OK, he’ll push through, it’s just his typical car sickness.” Not so. We couldn’t go. Ajers was able to go with our friends, but the four remaining Manics went back to the house. One good thing – I saw a moose on our way home. So, yesterday was spent in bed with Tukey, keeping a cold cloth on his head, a waste basket nearby for the vomit incidences. And although I was very disappointed in not going rafting, as was Tukey – sidenote, the whole trip, when we asked him, “What’s your favorite part of this trip?” He would answer without fail: “White water rafting!” even before we had been able to go. He knew that was going to be the best part. And I’m sure it would have been a great day – instead, he and I snuggled in bed, I rubbed his back and said over and over, “It’s OK, you’re going to be OK” … and today, he’s much better and we are waiting at the airport for our plane to arrive. I am so ready to be home sweet home. The scenery was gorgeous out west – beautiful landscapes and snow-covered mountains, and Illinois is plain and drab, but it’s home, and that’s where I wanna be.

Next up for Manic – BlogHer conference this weekend! Where I will NOT be hiking, camping, sweating. I will be hanging with some pretty fabulous people and drinking my share (and then some) of appletinis, and sleeping in a 4-star hotel. Bring it.


Brandy said...

Can't wait to see all the pictures of the west and blogher! I wish I was going! Have a drink for me please!

Michelle said...

Bummer on the sick... but you've convinced me not to do this vacation. Definitely not my speed. BlogHer on the other hand.... ;)

Monnik said...

oh, that's too bad that you couldn't go rafting.

I love your vacation chronicles. Great writing - fun stuff.

Heidi said...

Stef, your adventure cracks me up. I was born in Idaho and my whole entire family is crunchy granola outdoorsey. Me, not so much. My brothers used to take me hiking on many of the same areas you mentioned, but we also camped outdoors. I was scared the entire time. They would also take me on these huge day hikes that made me so sore I was unable to move for days afterward. I have been rafting on the snake river many times and it is fun. You guys may need to try that again some year. I can hook you up with my brother and his wife to go rafting...

Unknown said...

Is EVERYONE but ME going to Blogher? GEEZ!

I LOVE how you throw puking in the car in with your story like it's just another part of the vacation. Too freaking funny!

And my God. Are you sure you can classify this as a vacation, or even an adventure? You guys sound like you did a LOT of work! Aside from the riding the horses that is.

But I'm glad everyone had a such a great time. Bummer about the migraine but at least it didn't last the whole trip, right?

And encountering a bear in the bathroom who had it's way with you sounds like one of the best parts! LOL

LisaSam said...

Best line: I am beginning to wonder how hiking is not stressful to someone who does not know if there’s a bear waiting to strike her or her children.
Hysterical as usual.
I think you should contact Ziploc and do a commercial with tukey. new uses for the Ziploc.

My Two Army Brats said...

We're taking a similar trip in August that will involve some hiking and cave exploring and lots of canoeing. I'm very excited!

I'm glad you're home safe and sound and that you get the chance to go rafting sometime.

PS my soldier has been home for 2 weeks now!!!!!

March2theSea said...

feel like I was there! hahaha for better or worse!