I've missed you! And other things.

Posted on: Monday, September 23, 2013

Dear Mallory,

I'M BAAA-AAACK! Also, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today only because today marks the first day of the dreaded job hunt. Seriously, every time we move I'm forced to begin my career all over again. I mean, it's not like Volunteer Coordinator jobs are in high demand. Especially not in a city with the minimum amount of non profits. And especially not when I'm feeling all stubborn because it's not like I even like Volunteer Coordinating. We've talked about this before, but I'll elaborate later.

Okay. So what do you know so far? We arrived about a week and a half ago. The journey was beautiful, but we were ready for our house and our bed and the exploration of a new town. So we've been all around town. We've taken the dogs to the vet. We've purchased a mid-century dresser and refurbished it. We finally received our stuff and only one thing broke [damn you, Ikea]. Et cetera.

The trip! Let me tell you about this trip. It was incredible. If we can, we'll be doing it again sans dogs and at a different time of the year. We basically did a "highlights" version of the trip that did not involve hiking or much camping, like we had planned. Camping with dogs is, like, a total headache. The first night there was a windstorm and, after hardly any sleep, we woke up in the morning with Chuck in Aaron's sleeping bag and Hurley curled up by my face. And when I say "by" I mean right up against and with every intention of scooching onto my chest. Have you ever tried to camp with Duke? Do you have any words of advice? Because I doubt we'll ever do that again unless we receive some stellar insight.


Here we are in eastern Washington. The dogs, as expected, needed to stretch their legs every two hours or so. I use the term "dogs" loosely because Chuck needed the leg stretches way more than Hurley.

The scene of the wind storm. Also the sight of free camping because I'm charismatic and observant and noticed a gigantic "Air Force Veteran" sticker on the side of the proprietor's camper. And I wasn't embarrassed to be all, "You were in the Air Force?! We are, too!" And because there's an unwritten code of loyalty across the generations of Air Force and military vets and Aaron's a congenial guy and all of that. Free camping! As if camping isn't incredibly cheap already.

Have you ever been to Craters of the Moon before? You would love it. It's completely strange and beautiful and the camping looked otherworldly. It's 618 square miles of molten lava that has seeped up from cracks in the ground. Imagine driving through a national park that is just completely black. That's Craters of the Moon.

When you went to Yellowstone did you have the opportunity to stop in Jackson Hole? We explored for a few hours and capped off the adventure at Snake River Brewing. It's an adorable town. Very Old West.

I drove through Yellowstone, so I didn't get many photos. [Yeah. Who am I?!] But at the same time, you've been there. You can't blame me. It's beautiful. I'm rarely so in awe of something that I forget to take photos, and I would like to believe that that's what happened. Also, we planned on camping in Yellowstone but discovered most of the campgrounds had been shut down for the season already and the ones that were still opened were full up. But! It was okay! Because we stayed at a lodge sans internet or cable TV or cell phone reception and it was beautiful. Surrounded on all sides by mountains, chilly air, and really good breakfast food. Which is always important.

I want to hear more about your trip to Yellowstone! When you mentioned it, I wanted to ask you more questions but cell phone service was spotty and I was distracted by the last of the West Coast's mountains.

First off, yes. That is maybe the best photo bomb in the history of the world. I wish the woman taking the photo would have told me there was faded kid butt smack dab in the middle of the one photo we had taken of the four of us. It's completely hilarious and I'm definitely going to have it printed and framed. 

But Mallory! Shoshone National Park! Have you been there? Because... Holy cow, it's like a "hidden" gem. I had never heard of it and we ended up driving through it via scenic byway on accident and it was maybe the best accident of the trip. I was so in awe. I made Aaron drive so I could exclaim and squeal and take photos the whole way. It was incredible. I've never felt so small before.

Black Hills National Forest in Wyoming. Another stellar drive. I think, though, that I was most impressed with the first 5 minutes of the drive. The rocks were all different shades of pink with sudden angles and drops and twists and turns and then it just turned into a weird, unimpressive desert scape. But I'm not complaining. I wish we could have hiked through the first portion of the forest. I was blown away.

Are you noticing a theme here? The whole trip just had me in awe.

Mt. Rushmore. I think it was Aaron's most anticipated stop. And the rumors are true, it is both smaller and larger than expected in person. I will not downplay it, though, because I wouldn't have volunteered to go up there and carve those faces. No way! It was too high and pretty large and the detail and wow. I'm not afraid of heights, but I wouldn't have done it.

Aaron, the political guru, and Amy, the history buff. We make a good pair.

The Badlands! Okay, so I was pretty excited about Craters of the Moon and I knew Yellowstone was going to rule and then Shoshone was like this incredible bonus, but I was really looking forward to The Badlands. And then it kind of was underwhelming? I mean, don't get me wrong. The 10 minute drive through the park was breathtaking, but I expected it to be larger? And... Well. Larger. That's all. But I got a great picture of Chuck and I!

[Have you ever been? Is it larger than this? Did we miss something?]

Behold! Road warriors.

There's more. There's always more. But I've taken up enough of your time. And, I mean, how many photos is too many photos? I think I've hit my limit. Although, there are a ton of photos I didn't share with Instagram, so maybe I'll write with more? Because I know you were following along pretty closely.

I think one of the most exciting things about finally arriving home is the prospect of seeing you in October! I'm not expecting any sort of special treatment during the visit. I just want to hang out, chat, snuggle that kid of yours, and make you some cookies. Because I know how much you've been enjoying those baked delights. Yeah. I just called them delights. Even I stared at that sentence for a few minutes and was all, "Is there a better way of describing them?" My conclusion? No. There isn't.

Your well-traveled friend,


  1. Oh my. I can't even begin to wrap my head around the gorgeous contained in this post. XO, Mallory

  2. Never too many photos. I have been eagerly anticipating the newest blog posts and loved seeing this trip! I often forget how many breathtaking places there are in this giant country of ours.


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