My reasons for going home to Utah after visiting the Northwest were not just to visit my immediate family, it was also to spend time with the women from my extended family for a girls weekend! Like last year, this weekend was spent up at the family cabin in Island Park, Idaho. On Thursday, myself and my mom, along with my grandma, and aunts Netty, Julie, and Tina, all drove up. It was a beautiful day for an adventure.
We started off by taking a nice stroll along one of the many trails near the cabin. It wasn’t till we were in to the woods a half mile that I noticed a set of animal tracks. After close examination, we realized that they were from a bear, a very large grizzly bear! We immediately decided to get out of the woods, only to realize that the tracks had been along the whole path, we had just been too caught up in our conversation to notice them. Thankfully, we did make it out alive, carrying sticks even though we knew they would be no help against a grizzly (it made us feel safer), and had a good laugh at the sign posted at the beginning of the the trail. As it turns out, our worrying was perfectly understandable as there have been multiple grizzly bear attacks in the area. We carried bear spray around after that.
Despite the bear scare the night before, the next day, we took off on a morning hike along the Coffeepot Rapids Trail. We were able to avoid most contact with wildlife, and enjoyed a peaceful morning in the woods. We then returned to the cabin, got ready for the day, and then drove to West Yellowstone where we shopped, ate dinner, and then watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Playmill Theater. When we made it back to the cabin, we found my cousins Amanda, Emily, Kaitlin, and Monica waiting for us, having driven up to the cabin after their university classes got out.
The weather that weekend had been warmer than usual, so what better way to cool off than by rafting down the river near Big Springs. All ten of us fit onto our raft, making it quite the party. Since the river is coming straight from a spring, the water is extremely cold. But, there is a rope swing halfway down that my mom and I agreed we would both use to jump in the river. It was quite the shock to my system, getting into the frigid water, but not enough to stop me from doing it again. We were lucky it was warm that day so we dried off quickly. Near the end of the trip, we were treated with a moose sighting, as he was laying down in the grass, near the edge of the river. What a great day!
We do have quite a few traditions with our stay at the cabin. We play an accessory exchange game, eat lots of tasty food, and we also share a “favorite thing” from the past year. Among other things, we always have to have a photo shoot after church on Sunday. It may seem a bit silly, but we have a lot of fun with it and it is great to look back on past photos to remember who was there and what fun we had.
The favorite tradition has got to be the fondue night for Sunday dinner. We all bring our favorite dippin’s and then a few of us make the fondue. This year, we had chocolate, caramel, and cheese. What is not to love? After eating our fill, we decided that a Sunday stroll was needed. We drove up to Big Springs and then walked along the river, taking in the sunset and enjoying our last night there.
Monday morning I taught a strength training exercise class to help us wake up from our fondue hangovers. Sadly, after this last tradition, we had to pack up and clean the cabin before driving back. We did sneak a little time in for a game of Phase 10 which ended up taking a couple hours but by mid afternoon, we were fully packed and driving home.
We did get to make one last stop before making it back to Utah. Even though my sister Marissa is old enough to come to girls weekend this year, she is playing on the ISU volleyball team and had an away game that weekend. Conveniently, she had made it back to Idaho just in time for us to stop in and see her. Even though we could only stop for a short time, it was so nice to see her. It was the ideal way to end a weekend of girl time.