We were ready to head home when the time came. We'd been away for two and a half weeks and we were facing a week's drive ahead of us. We altered our plans a bit and decided to hold off on visiting Glacier National Park. It was a good decision. We headed North out of Gardiner and then turned east. We were trying to make Teddy Roosevelt National Park on the Western side of North Dakota that evening.
We pretty much just drove that first day, though we did stop at a National Historic Monument called Pompey's Pillar. I don't think it's the kid of place people make a destination but we saw the sign on the freeway and decided a stretch of our legs was in order. It was about the Lewis and Clark expedition and was interesting. Hyrum really liked it.
|Theodore Roosevelt National Park|
We continued on our way and arrived at the park just before closing time. We stopped in the Visitor's Center, stamped our passports, purchased our patch and magnet and then as we were preparing to leave, Hyrum had an opportunity to help the Ranger take down the flag. We made our camp down in the shade of some trees enjoyed some dinner and went to bed. It was a quick stop and really just a place to sleep but, little did we know the next morning would bring some new perspective.
|Wild Horses at TRNP|
North Dakota is no where near the top of my list of beautiful places but I've learned that beauty can be found in the most unexpected places. Tuesday morning we got up and packed up camp and headed out of the park. We decided to take come time though to drive a loop though the park. I really wanted to get on the road home but I am so glad we took this extra time.
|Theodore Roosevelt National Park|
This park is amazing. The scenery is so interesting and beautiful. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. I can understand how Theodore Roosevelt was so inspired by it. We saw prairie dogs, wild horses, and bison as well. This is another unexpected places that begs to be explored further. It was a really neat places.
|White Butte, ND|
The next day we drove through North Dakota and stopped for a couple hours at White Butte, the highest point in North Dakota. Due to little legs and my fear of rattlesnakes on a trail rumored to have them in abundance, the little kids and I stayed at the car while Hyrum, Hannah and Jonathan hike to the top of the butte. The weather was warm but the car stayed relatively cool in the shadowed parts and we kept ourselves busy with snacks and tidying up a bit. Hyrum and the kids had a good hike and didn't see any snakes.
|Hannah and Jonathan trudging up the butte.|
After that we decided a hot meal was in order so we stopped at Arby's and then decided a bed would also be good that night. Hyrum's, brother's mother-in-law lives just over the Minnesota border so we called her up to see if we could spend a night there. She was so kind and let us stay the night even though she was heading out of town for a few days. She even went grocery shopping for our breakfast. She is a fabulous women, I hope to see again.
|Thank you for the beds and showers!|
Wednesday we made our way across Minnesota to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There we hoped to hike Michigan's highest point the next day. We camped at a state park and the mosquitoes were terrible. It had been a really long time since I'd seen mosquitoes as bad as we had here and at Yellowstone. We didn't spend a whole lot of time outside at our camping spot.
|Trail to Mount Arvon, we think.|
Mount Arvon, Michigan's highest point is found (one hopes) amidst a maze of logging roads. They can change without much warning. We got a little lost and weren't able to make that highpoint. We'll get it another time though.
We were really hoping to make it home on Thursday so we made minimal stops and arrived home around 12:30 am. It was so nice to be home in our beds. Hyrum was a trooper because he does all the driving and had been at it for a while. It was great to arrive a few days earlier too so we had some extra time to unwind before appointments and preparing to go back to school and all things that come with Fall and real life.
|Wake-Up, We're home.|
It was a good trip, busy and hectic at times, but we saw people we love, and some really awesome sights. I am thankful we could have this time together as a family. It isn't always easy but I think, as the kids grow, it will make all the difference in our relationships.
Now we're on to planning next summer's adventures.