Our First Family Vacation to Bear Lake

I admit, we took this vacation nearly a year and a half ago and I am just now getting to editing the pictures and posting about it.  I'm also back-posting it because this is my blog and I can do what I want with it.  Really, when I print another volume of this blog, I want these memories to show up in chronological order.  And what sweet memories this family vacation encases!  Going through these photos so many months later just might make the memories even sweeter.  The kids have grown so much since then!

Our trip to Bear Lake was our very first vacation taken as just our little immediate family.  Levi talked about it for months afterwards.  In fact, he still mentions memories about it from time to time.  It was so much fun.  Everything we did was centered around the boys and what we thought they might enjoy.  We need to go back and do it all over again.      

We loaded into the truck the morning of Thursday July 13th to drive just a few hours east and south to the Idaho/Utah border.  Our first stop was at the historical pioneer tabernacle in Paris, Idaho.  Sorry, no pictures.  We got to tour the building and admire the hundred plus year old workmanship.  So incredibly cool.

Next, we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming at North Beach on Bear Lake.  The water level was at a record high.  So much for a mile of sandy beach to play on!  It was under water.  But the water level still remained shallow for meters and meters; perfect for our two little almost swimmers to practice in.  The boys played in the rocks and whatever sand they could find.  We had ourselves a really relaxing afternoon splashing in the water and burning energy!  It was a beautiful day.

^^Oh my goodness.  Melt me, Baby Conrad!^^
^^Water Baby reaching for the water!  He was determined to drown himself.^^
^^Sandy suncreened hair.  One of my favorite summer details.^^

I made the mistake of assuming that the Bear Lake area is bigger than it really is!  I assumed it would have a decent grocery store at which to pick up our weekend food supply.  I was sorely wrong.  Haha.  We wound up picking up food from a small overpriced KOA general store.  It worked out though -- because if I'm being honest, we pretty much lived off of raspberry shakes anyway.  Raspberry shakes are one treat Bear Lake is famous for!

We rented a little one bedroom condo with a pull out couch bed for the boys.  It couldn't have been more cute or perfect for our young family!  (Except the floors could have been mopped.  Eeew.  But I only noticed because Conrad was scooting and crawling everywhere.) The condo was also attached to a pool that we went swimming in one afternoon too.     

^^A sink bath for Conrad to wash all the sand out of his hair!^^

^^Watching cartoons in bed on Friday morning.^^  
^^These two.  Such a special and sweet relationship.^^

After taking our time to get out the door on Friday morning, we headed up into the mountains for a short hike to a glacier fed lake called Bloomington Lake.  When we arrived at the trailhead, we were greeted with snow in a few places!  Of course, snow balls were thrown.  The hike through wildflowers was short and non-strenuous; absolutely perfect for two boys with short legs.  And the views, oh my!  It was nothing short of gorgeous.  

^^The boys rolled down the windows and enjoyed the views up the long dirt road to the trailhead.^^
^^View of the pond.^^
^^Upon arriving at Bloomington Lake, we hiked around to find our perfect spot to hang out and eat lunch.^^
^^A rope swing!  The water was sooo cold.  Brrr.  But we watched as folks splashed into the water over and over again.  It looked like so much fun.  We said we'd have to come back when the boys are older and can swim well.^^
^^Dipping their feet in.  The cold water felt so good on a hot day!^^
^^Eating sandwiches on their very own lake island.^^
^^See what I mean about Conrad loving water?  He wanted to dive in head first!^^

Then we all had a blast trying to balance out on this water soaked log...

^^A special and sweet gift for me, his mama!^^
^^Can we stop a minute to admire those clouds against the blue sky and all the green?^^

Next up: Raspberry Shakes!  We totally ate, like, two shakes a day.  Deliciousness.  

^^First taste...^^
^^Thinking about it...^^
^^Totally a fan!^^

On Saturday we got ourselves up and going so that we could snag some tickets to tour the Minnetonka Cave!  The boys called it the bat cave since it houses several bat species.  The Minnetonka Cave is an enormous half mile long limestone cave packed with slimy stalactites and stalagmites and a room in the back that was truly pitch black.  It was quite the adventure!

Oh yeah.  And I'm pretty sure Conrad cried through half the cave before zonking out.  Poor baby.  Our vacation really wreaked havoc on his sleep schedule.  

^^We purposely took up the rear of the group.  It was hard to hear the tour guide, but totally worth being able to putt along at our own pace.^^

Bron's brother Kaleb and his wife Chantee joined us Saturday afternoon.  We rented a boat and a tube and had a blast out on the lake in the sunshine!  With a baby, it just wouldn't have been possible to do without them.  Jed and Levi surprised us all.  They both took to riding the tube like a pair of old pros.  Little daredevils had a grand time hanging on for dear life.  Bron and I even got to take turns out on the water too.  It was so much fun and an afternoon I'll never forget.

^^Worn out from too much playing.^^

We packed up the truck on Sunday morning and went on one more hike before heading home: The Limber Pine Nature Trail.  It was a simple loop trail speckled with informational plaques, some of which I thought were quite interesting!  Plus, the giant tree at the top -- which is actually a conglomerate of limber pines aged over 560 years -- was pretty stinking cool.  

^^Climbing the giant limber pine.^^
^^Any stick can be turned into a gun when you're a little boy.^^
^^Tying your own shoe is tough work!^^

Thanks for all the precious memories, Bear Lake.  There is so much to do in the area; we only scratched the surface.  I hope we can return one day to make some more fun memories.  

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