Sunday, October 24, 2021

Watching The Sunrise Over The Badlands

The drive home from Seattle was an interesting one. There was our day at Mt. Rainier that was supposed to be a travel day (read about that here), then there was our drive across Washington is rain and snow, going through Northern Idaho in the snow, making it through Montana, and pausing at rest areas in Wyoming to sleep in the car due to road conditions. We spent two full days in the car. My ankles were swollen from sitting so much and I don't ever want to think about sleeping in the car again (although it will likely happen sooner rather than later). Let me tell you, it was all worth it as we watched the sun come up over the Badlands.

But before I go into detail about Badlands National Park, let's talk about that massive drive we made. Northern Idaho made me change my mind completely about the state. As it turns out, I would love to visit again, but the beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene (pictured below). It was amazing with fall colors at the time, but after looking it up, there's an array of summer activites that seem to be made for us: swimming, boating, hiking, etc. We were not able to pull over and hike at all while driving through because there was snow and weather warning up in the mountains (where the lake is). Our goal was to just get through.

We did make some stops in Montanta to enjoy the snow as it was falling and do some hiking in between Missoula and Bozeman. In Idaho, they have a paved panhandle trail system that goes from the border of Washingto to Montana in Idaho. We stopped at a rest area that had a connector trail to it, so we were able to use the facilities and get some exercise. The trail has beautiful scenery! Montana wins for best rest areas though. A few we stopped in had trails that linked to longer trails and a couple even had fenced in dog areas to let Zeus run around in. All of this is a HUGE deal when you're driving nonstop.

It was as if they had never seen snow before! They were sooo excited when I pulled off and let them play in it at one of the many day use areas along the interstate.

We were greeted by deer and mountain goats as soon as we entered the park! 

As with many National Parks, dogs aren't allowed on trails. They can only go on paved areas and wherever cars can go. We knew this ahead of time, so the minis had a partial trail in mind they wanted to do. Zeus watched intently as they walked away from us. We were in these exact spots four years ago and mostly just wanted to get updated pictures of the minis adventuring. 

He's my, "I don't want to get too close to the edge" kid. Meanwhile, the younger two would happily lean over the edge as far as they could.