Getting High in Wyoming…11,000 Feet High

After a year and a half of camp life, apartment living has been a nice change of pace for our family. But you know, once you experience the wilderness, it calls to you. Or at least it calls to me. We decided to answer that call last week and head up to Beartooth Highway, which is considered one of the most beautiful and dangerous highways in America. At the peak of the pass, it is just 50 feet shy of 11,000 feet in elevation. Talk about high!! We found a great spot to boondock and enjoyed the first night just being in the mountains again. I know I say it all the time, but there is something so life-giving about being in the wild. It feeds my soul. And I think it brings the Father pleasure. Imagine, as a parent, building your kids a treehouse, and then watching them go crazy exploring and enjoying it… that would fill you with so much joy, right? I think He loves it, when we enjoy his creation. It’s not hard to do, I mean, look at the pictures! It’s incredible. The second day we moved on and found another area for boondocking and set up camp again before we took off in the truck to do some 4x4ing. I have never before, in my whole life, seen a green cloud. But up on Beartooth Pass, the pollen coming off the trees was insane. If our antenna bumped a tree, me and the kids (in the bed of the truck) would get a face full of it. We literally saw green clouds blanketing the whole mountainside any time there was even a slight breeze. We headed back to camp and built a campfire to keep the insane amount of mosquitos at bay and just enjoyed the rest of the day. That night, Erich started getting a headache. Our normal stash of ibuprofen wasn’t in the glove box so we were without any kind of headache medicine, and hours away from anywhere that would sell it in the middle of the night. His headache slowly turned into a migraine (which he has never had before). The pain kept him awake, which kept me awake, and then he started vomiting. Erich knew packing up camp and driving down “one of the most dangerous highways,” in the dark, was a daunting task, and didn’t want me to do it. However, it seemed unwise to be so far from help with his symptoms as severe as they were, so I started pulling up the jacks and getting ready to hitch up and go. I didn’t do it as smoothly as he does, but we managed to pull it off. As I was moving the kids from their beds in the camper to the truck, Cooper started barking like crazy. I looked out into the darkness and saw a set of eyes, glowing in the grass beyond our campsite. Knowing we were in grizzly bear territory, I’m pretty sure my eyes doubled in size and my heartrate tripled in speed, as I tried to calmly load all the kids into the truck, and shut the doors. Cooper was still going ballistic and the eyes were still glowing in the distance. Just when I thought we were safe inside the truck, I realized we had like 38 mosquitos to kill before we hit the road. When I felt confident we wouldn’t be eaten alive inside the truck, I worked our way back to the main road and over the most beautiful highway I couldn’t see. I remembered ten minutes into the drive that I had taken Benadryl and melatonin before bed to help with my insomnia. Unfortunately, they weren’t as helpful with trying to drive through the night. The deer that ran out in front of me and missed my bumper by inches though, that did wake me up considerably. Thankfully, Erich started recovering somewhat from the migraine and finished the last 45 minutes of the drive for me. What can I say? Not every trip is as magical as the photos make it look.

Life lessons last week: always pack the First Aid kit, don’t take sleep aids before driving, and I’m pretty sure there are bears on Beartooth Pass.

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