We originally had intended on spending 5 maybe 6 days up there. But when my dad got home and expressed that he was ready to head up there the minute he got home, I took advantage and talked him in to taking us up early so we really ended up staying up there for 9 days. As always I could have stayed for months but 9 days was SO much better than 5. Thats not the best part though. The best part was this....
Andrew had planned on driving out and meeting us up there on Sunday. He had an appointment in Utah county for his back on Monday so he would spend the night with us and then head down to his appointment and then head back up and spend the rest of the week with us. My dad and I packed the kids up and headed out on Thursday morning. My mom would come out with Amber and her family on Saturday. So I was all geared up for a few nights in a tent with 3 kids by myself. (really not that big of a deal but its always so much easier with Andrew around.) We pulled in to camp early Thursday evening. My dad jumped out to look for a good place for the trailer and I was unbuckling the kids so they could get out and stretch their very restless little bodies when an FJ cruiser started heading up the dirt road... same color as ours... and then turned off the road heading straight for our camp. I saw the rack on the back with the archery target strapped to it and it clicked... It was ANDREW!!! He had totally left days earlier than we had expected and kept it a secret from everyone. After 3 weeks of no Dad we were all EXTREMELY excited to see him. I honestly don't know if I have ever been that surprised. It was so fun!
Flaming Gorge is our absolutely favorite place ever. Andrew likes to tell people its magic cause somehow incredible things always occur up there. Plus... how could we not love it? A week in the most gorgeous mountains you can find surrounded by cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and best friends!!! We fished, we hiked, we went four wheeling and bike riding. We played in dirt and shot bows we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.We even saw a real life bear and more (like hundreds more) elk than we have seen in years!! All with our most favorite people on earth (minus a few of course but we did the best we could)
So again... here is a picture overload that tells the story so much better than I ever could
One on one time with Papa is rare. The grandkids are generally swarming him so we took full advantage of our alone time with him for the few days we had it.
These bows were seriously the BEST purchase ever. They shot like 100 ft in the air and all of the kids could shoot them, even the little ones. Im pretty sure there wasn't a minute that we spent in camp that they weren't being played with.
I learned that my daughter is a lot more determined than I had originally thought. She spent hours (not joking) practicing her cast on an open reel. She is actually quite good at it now. She is completely self sufficient in casting and reeling in her own fish now. She's cool.
I said that we played in dirt but really Ike just ate it. Like full on sat in the dirt road shoving handfuls in his mouth and he would get really upset if someone tried to stop him. He consumed an overwhelming amount of minerals on this trip but he is still alive and it made him happy so...
Hammock naps are the best naps.
I have zero pictures of it but Pep stole his cousin Grace's balance bike and lived on it for the majority of the trip. We had a pretty good sized hill (that there were a lot of crashes on but none of them involved Pep) that he would push it to the top of and ride down. Every time he would make it to the bottom safely he would give everyone a big thumbs up with a huge grin on his face. He's cool too.
We hiked Leidy Peak this year! It had been years since I had been up there. Andrews and Dave decided to take the two boys out to explore some new fishing areas so AnDee and I got to go on a date and hike up a mountain. I forgot how fun that hike could be.
Im not sure if she was scared or what was going on but I have about 12 pictures that look very similar to this one.
The sledding didn't go over real well for Dylan. He mostly just sunk.
Some times I get frustrated when we take the kids fishing. Not because I don't want to take them fishing but because I want to fish too!!! (yes... that was in my whiny voice) But I honestly have the best kids. They spent hours upon hours playing on the shore line. AnDee became an impressive crawdad hunter. She probably caught 20 completely by herself. Pep stood guard over the crawdad cooler and was much more brave than I am and was picking them up and playing with them the whole time.
Im pretty sure this is one of 3 fish Dave caught over the course of the entire trip. I think he said his average was 1 fish every 8 hours. HA!
The only down side to being up there for so long was that it happened to be during the world cup and a lot can happen in the world cup in 9 days. Since there were so many of us who are soccer fans/players up there we decided we had to find a way to watch the USA vs Germany game. Lucky for us Dutch John has evolved over the years and the old diner even has TV's now! We called ahead to make sure we could get the game and so they would be expecting our group and we trekked down for a delicious breakfast and the game... which we lost... but we really did play well and put up an awesome fight.
P.S. Im not sure what Dyl is doing... maybe they were singing the national anthem? Apparently he is more patriotic than the rest of us.
At one point a few days in to the trip we decided to move our camping spot so that we could accommodate our ever growing group a little better. Andrew didn't want to go through all the work up packing everything up and moving everything piece by piece so he did the obvious thing and rolled the tent up (with everything in it) put it on the rack on the back of the fj and drove it down while my brother Jason and Dave kept it in place. Genius.
I have more memories of driving up this road than anyone could possibly imagine and every single one of them is a good and happy memory.
I recognize how lucky I am that I have a place like this that I love so much and that I also have so many family and friends that share that love and take the time to enjoy it with me and my family. Im also so lucky to have the chance to share it with my kids and I hope it ends up being as "magical" for them as it is for me.
Until next year!