On my refrigerator in dry erase marker, there is a countdown. Today, it reads “33 days until we leave.” Each day we talk about the things we are anticipating—family we want to see, places we want to eat, the weather, and the city, and the change—but at the same time we feel anxious and almost caught off guard. There is still so much we need to do. This season seemed to vanish before us.
It has been an incredible summer, and I didn’t find nearly enough time to write. So as the weather turns cold and we begin packing up, I thought I would try to recap some of our adventures.
We visited every single border town at least once this summer (Gardiner, MT; Jackson, WY; Cody, WY; Cooke City, MT; and West Yellowstone, MT). We also stayed in a friend’s apartment in Big Sky, MT and rented an Airbnb in Bozeman. In each of these places, we ate, shopped, hiked, and took in the sights.
We spent 5 days in Missoula with good friends! I got my tattoo colored in. We stayed with Amber and Jake. Lydia had a playdate with Tom and Leticia’s daughter, Amelia. Tata bought some new records, we had an awesome nacho party, and we drank lots of butterfly coffee.
Recently, we spent a week in Salt Lake City, Utah. Rafal took a class on Backflow Prevention (don’t ask me), and at the end of week, passed the difficult exam. We stayed at the Hampton Inn (thanks NPS), swimming in the pool and eating the free food. Lydia and I had lots of fun while Tata was in school. We hiked the Mill Creek Canyon with my old friend Clint. We had breakfast with Kelsey and Marcus at Sweet Lakes Biscuits and Limeade. We went to the children’s museum, and the aviary, and we did a little shopping. Best of all, the three of us drove out to Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake to watch the sunset.
For Father’s Day, we rode the tram in Teton Village up to 10,400 feet. There we had high-elevation waffles and did a 5-mile hike through the snow (wearing shorts). Then we rode a gondola back down.
In July, we brought Lydia on her first overnight backpacking trip down the Blacktail Creek Trail. Unfortunately, Lydia and Rafal were ahead of me on the trail, and I missed the junction for our campsite, hiking about 3 miles too far. Rafal was panicked and so was I. I saw a group of German hikers and asked if they had seen a man with a baby up ahead, and they said “no.” Later, Rafal saw this same group and asked if they had seen me. They said, “yes!” I turned back and Rafal started down the trail to meet me. I was so happy to be found! And we were so happy to be together.
We did so much hiking! We did Elephant Back, Mystic Falls, Specimen Ridge, Storm Point, Solitary Geyser, Norris Geyser Basin, the South Rim Trail, Grand View Point (in Grand Teton), and so many others I can’t even remember them all.
We bought a Subaru! We played kickball and went to potlucks. We had lots of visitors! Lydia learned about a billion new words. I did a lot of yoga (and lost a lot of weight). We walked around Grant almost every day, and Lydia played in the lake. We spent many evenings in front of the fire.
Tomorrow the low is 15 degrees, so I think it’s safe to say that summer is over. We are stacking firewood and making plans. I am awaiting the arrival of my new down coat. For the next 33 days there is nothing to do but pack, snuggle, and watch the snow fall.
Another season is in the books. Every day this feels more and more like home.