Sunday, July 20, 2014

Camping at Cave Falls

Cami and family arrived in Idaho on Monday afternoon and it was a non-stop party the entire time they were here.  On Tuesday we took them to Rexburg Rapids for more fun in the sun and water.  Then on Wednesday we took the kids camping.  Jacob has never been to Yellowstone, or really to anyplace out this way, so I took them up to the spot that Travis and I stumbled upon a few weeks ago.

This is all our campsite at Cave Falls Campground in Targhee National Forest.  It's a mile from the southwest corner of Yellowstone. We were the only campers in the entire campground, so we had our pick of the best spots.  And we got a gorgeous one right on the river. 
So, naturally, after we arrived, the first thing we had to do was stretch our legs with a walk down to the river.

Lily and Parker found some lovely flowers along the way.

And Gage found lots of dirt.  Because Gage always finds dirt. 
We had lots of help getting the tents set up and camp arranged the way we liked it.

And then before dinner we drove up to the falls.  In fact, Cave Falls itself is in Yellowstone, but there's not a road to get to it from within the park.  You can hike there from other parts of the park or take the road from the Mesa Falls byway, which dead ends at the Cave Falls trail head. You can follow the trail all the way up, 31 miles to Old Faithful, but we only made it about a half mile down to where the Bechler and Falls Rivers converge.
I love the Gideon and Lily are so close they spent the first part of the hike holding hands. 

Checking out Cave Falls.

After we wore them out, we returned to camp to prepare dinner where Uncle Jacob once again had plenty of help getting the fire started.

After tin foil dinners were prepared, cooked and enjoyed, we had s'mores and story time by the fire.

We retreated to the tents just before the mosquitos got really bad.  But it was fun, the kids like being in the tent.  It's a novelty for them.

Everyone slept and Jacob woke early to get in a long run up the trail through Yellowstone.  He made it a lot further than we had the day before and saw elk and deer and various other creatures along the way.  He said it was a gorgeous and peaceful run.  I wish I'd had the foresight to pack running clothes, it would have been amazing.  For breakfast we had oatmeal and hot chocolate to get everyone warmed up before we broke camp.
While we were taking down tents and packing everything up, Cami heard Gideon say "Strike a pose!"  We looked over and he'd gotten hold of my camera and was having a photo shoot of his cousin Ransom.  It was pretty hilarious and the shots he got are priceless!

OH! So the other funny thing.......this area, as most people know, has a lot of bears.  There are bear boxes everywhere and strict instructions for how to store your food and what precautions to take. So as we were breaking down camp, one of the maintenance men came through and Cami asked him if there really were a lot of bears in the area.  His response was hilarious, "More often than not.  Usually they're just passing through to someplace else.  Just make a lot of noise, they'll leave you alone."  I guess it's good we've got so many kids between us.  It's NEVER quiet with five little ones running around.
After we broke camp, we drove up to Mesa Falls.  We stopped at the lookout at Lower Mesa Falls and then drove up to Upper Mesa Falls for a picnic and hiking.

My kids, having just been up there a month ago, were more worn out and much less impressed by the falls than their cousins.  Even so they were good sports and hiked the whole way.

By the time we got home, we only had time to shower and then headed up to Jesse's for dinner and horseback riding.  Pictures of that to follow.