Like the car has never been detailed. Enough bug carnage on the front bumper to make an entomologist jealous. And by the exhausted smiles on the faces of four happy Boyles, like they’d just had the trip of their lives. For three weeks, we camped, hiked, swam and explored our way across seven states. Just where did we go? Here it is:
Seattle to Montana. Montana to Yellowstone. Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons. Across Wyoming. Into the Black Hills of South Dakota. Across South Dakota. North to North Dakota. Went to a wedding. Dipped our toes into Minnesota so we could say we “went” there. Crossed North Dakota. Camped by the Missouri river. The Badlands. Montana. More Montana. And just when you think there isn’t enough Montana, believe me there is more. Idaho. Washington. Home.
Now most people who know me will laugh at the idea of me camping. Believe me, my usual mantra is that any hotel without room service is camping, but that is probably because as a child we always went camping. Always. And I had forgotten how much fun it is. How wonderful it is to be outside. The joys of a campfire. Swimming in a clear, clean river. The stars on a dark night. The unexpected visitors–we saw bears, bison, elk, deer, prairie dogs, wild turkeys, antelope. The incredible majesty of the Grand Tetons.
I have flown over my nation, going from one coast to the other and always looked down and thought it was just empty. But the beauty and incredible landscapes that spread across those “empty parts” will take your breath away.
I daydreamed endlessly as we passed fields of sunflowers, high cliffs, remarkable Western vistas. Marveled at the life of Buffalo Bill Cody, revisited every John Wayne movie I’ve ever seen, hummed the theme song to Bonazana, sat on great big boulders and looked at sparking waters and let the views just fill my heart. And every time I thought we couldn’t see something more breathtaking, we’d roll around a corner and see something else.
As for living all of us in such close quarters for all that time? We learned to laugh with each other, got to the heart of things that have been unsaid for too long, and just shared the joy of exploring hidden corners well off the beaten path.