Sunday, July 5, 2015

Red Lodge

I love this place. Two years ago we went camping just outside of Red Lodge and we loved it and figured it was high time we get back there. Red Lodge is a cool town and the canyon and the Beartooth Highway and all it travels through is amazing. If you have never driven that highway, add it to the bucket list. I'm serious. You'll thank me!
We took off on Thursday morning. It's a 6 hour drive from Williston. Harv did pretty good considering how awful he can be in the car. We had a pit stop in Billings - Cafe Rio and Scheels and got to our campground right at check in time - 2:00pm :) We stayed at the same campsite we did in 2014 - Greenough Lake. Harvey was a great helper setting up camp!

He loves books which was a life saver for everyone!

 He loved playing in the back of the truck and hanging out by the fire. We need to get him his own camp chair.
After we got all set up we decided to walk the quarter of a mile up to the lake. We had just got Harvey in some long pants and long shirt and thought we'd go throw some rocks in the lake and let Rozzi swim around, but Harvey had other plans. At first when we sat down he threw some rocks in but then scooted down and got his feet wet and started splashing around. We decided to move to a better beach, flat area after that. He thought that was a great idea.

I was really surprised he got in as much as he did. Our lake experience in Wisconsin was so different. He wanted nothing to do with the water. He LOVED it here!

So much for the clothes. And diaper. I carried him back to camp naked wrapped up in my jacket. Luckily he didn't pee on me :)

Once we got back to camp, we got all changed into our evening ware and Harv was in heaven just running around enjoying nature and hanging with his dad and his dog. 

One of the many pictures from this trip that just make me SO happy!
Rozzi took up shop in the bear box. Appropriate, since she looks like a bear, but I don't think that's what they meant :) Speaking of which, we got SO many comments about her this trip. Quite a few people saying she was their first bear sighting of the trip and tons of people saying what a beautiful dog she was and asking what kind of dog she was and everyone being surprised to see a chocolate newfie. She was so good this trip and it was awesome having her with us!

Harv's preferred camp chair

Love love love.
During the day, seeing how happy Harvey was and how much he just took to the great outdoors, I kept thinking  how wonderful camping with kids is. After that first night I kind of changed my mind. It was a DOOZY. We had a surprise hole in our mattress. Harv and I fell asleep first while Tanner was enjoying the fire and stars. By the time they got in and climbed into bed, we were pretty low on air. We rolled to the center and trying to get out of the black hole took a lot of work. Harvey wasn't a fan and he woke up SCREAMING and we couldn't get him to fall back asleep for at least a half hour. And as the night went on and we lost more air, we went from center black hole to our butts being practically on the ground but legs and head up, so we were in a "V" and had terrible stiff necks. And the last few hours of the night we were completely on the hard hard ground. Sore hips and backs and butts. And we couldn't move around as much as we would have liked because of Harvey. It was awful. Like the absolutely worst night camping I can ever think of. Longest night ever. But we survived and the next 2 nights were a HUGE improvement. (Don't know how it could have got any worse...)
The next morning we took a drive along the Beartooth Highway. We saw another heard of mountain goats which is always a great time. There were a few glaciers still lingering and we saw a guy ski down one chute. Looked like a lot of work for a short run on some crappy "snow", but apparently he thought it was worth it. Also, after the first set of switchback's, there's a scenic pullout. We pulled over to change a diaper and allow Tanner, the driver, to enjoy the views. There are a ton of little chipmunks that have been very conditioned to humans and will run right up to you and eat out of your hand if you want. Harvey was TERRIFIED of them. It was so funny and kind of sad, but he absolutely FLIPPED (like screaming for his life) if they came anywhere near us, even if we were holding him. Weird. Giant animal beasts don't even phase him but the little things send him into a panic.

We had intentions to hike to Beauty Lake. The trail-head was at Beartooth Lake. We got going and immediately there was a river crossing. Lame. So we took our shoes off and got across the river only to come to a never ending swamp, mud field where we completely lost the trail. We gave it our best effort but Tanner's feet were soon soaked in mud and we got annoyed so we just turned back and didn't bother taking our shoes off through the river again. We were bummed because we were excited to hike and it was really pretty, but we ended up just playing at the lake for a bit (and getting eaten by mosquito's. Poor Harv ended up with SOOO many!!!)

Beartooth Falls
After that we drove back to the summit of Beartooth Pass, one of Tanner's favorite places  in the area. We ate our lunch and enjoyed the views and wildflowers. We were hoping we'd see Tanner's parents. They were on a motorcycle trip with friends and were on their way to Red Lodge that day. We didn't though.

Harv thought it was pretty cool climbing all over the rocks.


We headed straight into Red Lodge after that. Harv fell asleep pretty quick in the car so we just wanted to give him more uninterrupted catch up sleep. I didn't take as many pictures as I could have there because I had forgotten my camera and my phone was serving full picture taking duty and the battery was almost dead so I had Berrie charge it for me. So anyway, after getting there, Tanner found us a new air mattress (glory) and then we started wandering around town. Pretty soon we heard and saw the crew roll into town, so we went and welcomed them and spent the next few hours just chatting and hanging out on main street.
They kept us company during dinner. They had reservations with their group a little later and we didn't want to crash that party - and Harvey is great at crashing eating-at-restaurant-parties! We ate at Bridge Creek Backcountry Kitchen. Oh my. So dang good. GO there when you go to Red Lodge! It was great visiting with them and was quite fortuitous that we planned our 4th of July vacations to the same spot! Love our  Mimi and Papa!
Harvey wanted nothing to do with going to bed early. Why would he when it stayed light till after 9 and there was so much to explore and get dirty in.

Reading Rozzi some bedtime stories

After a glorious (for camping) night, we woke up and enjoyed a mellow morning. We walked up to the lake again and Harv stayed relatively dry this time.
Notice his "Chunk" ear (from the Goonies)? Dang mosquito (or two) got his ear and it was SO swollen, red and sticking straight out. I felt so bad for him. Still cute even with a dumbo ear :)

Rozzi had a great time swimming. This is the only way we can get her to play fetch.

Probably my favorite picture of the trip. Man I love my family. And the mountains. And our country and freedom. So blessed! Happy 4th of July!
After that we spent some time trying to get Harvey to nap. He finally fell asleep and Tanner and I got some good rest time in. Man, nothing like napping in a tent :) Glorious.

We're the cutest
All his poor mosquito bites and dry, dirty skin. But he is sure cute. 
Tanner needed some adventure in his life after our failed attempt at a hike the day before. So we drove down a long dirt road that started just before our campsite. It was BUMPY and was knocking Harvey's car seat all over the place. He just giggled and giggled whenever we went over a big bump. So funny and cute. The very end was a trailhead to Glacier Lake. It was SO gorgeous. Oh my gosh I was in heaven. It was a HARD hike! Pretty short but very steep. And neither of us have done much hiking while living here, let alone toting a 25lb kid. We shared the load and made it and he did awesome in the backpack. Rozzi was exhausted by the time we got back. She was a trooper! So glad we did that and it was completely worth it!

We. Are. Tired.

It was a much quicker and less painful walk down. We enjoyed another fire and fruit and chocolate and marshmallows roasted in sugar cones. Yummy. It was a great night again and this picture might be tied for favorite of the trip. I can only look at it for 10 seconds at a time otherwise I'm pretty sure my heart would explode.
When we woke up in the morning it was chilly and very cloudy. Like rain was going to burst forth from the clouds any minute. So we got right to taking down camp and had it done pretty quick. And it was a miracle - our tent was COMPLETELY dry. Not a drop of moisture or dew on it. Even the mat underneath wasn't wet at all. I've never had that happen. It was so great because that meant we weren't going to have to put it back up when we got home. It was raining before we even got out of the canyon. Phew! Harv took two naps on the way home and we made it without any unfortunate events.
That's the sign of a GREAT trip. Man, we wore him out. It was SUCH a perfect trip, even with it's imperfections. I LOVE camping. It renewed my appreciation for my parents and all the WORK they put in to camping with 5 kiddo's multiple times summer after summer. So many wonderful memories! It sure was easy being the kid, not really having to plan, pack, cook, clean, pack and unpack again! But really, it was all worth it, no question. I wish we lived closer to mountains so this could be a more regular summer activity. I don't think Harvey would disprove of that :) Someday!


  1. Oh my heck!! Such a fun trip!! I love the pics!

  2. I am SO JEALOUS!!! You guys are so cute. And awesome. And I want to be you. Or at least live next to you.

  3. LOVE this post and all the PICTURES..........Seriously HARD work, this camping thing......BUT this almost, ALMOST makes me want to try it, for ONE night anyway!!! ;) SO SO great.