The Trent's first Bear Lake trip was this past weekend. It couldn't have been better. We stayed at the KOA campground with Jen and Teagan. KOA's are GREAT. I've never stayed on an "organized" campground before, and the balance between sleeping in a tent enclosed by a fence, and between roughing it outside with a bathroom complete with flushing toilet and warm shower- made me completely comfortable. I love them. However, next time I wouldn't mind pitching the tent in a forest without the loud neighbors...
We spent our time with the super-fun Lamoreaux Family. We had dinner the first night there with many of them at Cafe Sabor. I'll spare the Cafe Sabor any embarrassment and just say they had an 'off night.' But we had some fun conversations and ate some reasonably good mexican food. Just be sure to never ask for a vegetarian mean and expect that they didn't just pull the chicken out of the already pre-made pasta.... Or expect there to be napkins and silverware for you. Or menus. But a nice night for friends and family to have a god time.
The beaches at Bear Lake are great. The water is nice and cool and the kids can reach for a great length of the shoreline. Jack and Teagan had fun playing in the sand and water. Jack could sit on a beach from sun up to sun down, if we let him.
Every one came to hang out at the beach and it was a BEAUTIFUL day, perfect for chilling at the beach and boating. Jen's Uncle Bob was the best host on the lake, he had a great boat, and this awesome raft that Jack, Teagan (and Josh) played around with at the beach while the others were out on the lake.
It's pretty awesome that Jen and I have been friends for 28 years and still get along swimmingly....
(I chose wisely when I picked my husband..)
This was Jack's first time boating! He was nervous about it, but I reassured him that because I know him best, I knew he'd like it. And I was of course right. But it took just a short w
hile for him to shake his nerves off, he had a few funny faces on and I took a lot of pictures of him just because every time I looked at him he had a new expression, and they were so raw it was like seeing exactly how he was feeling spelled out on his face. Cute thing.
He loved riding on the boat, and he was fine with going fast as long as one of us was sitting with him. He'd often come crawl on my lap and wrap my arms around his little life vest. It's so strange because sometimes Jack is so fearless and brave, and at times where I expect him to be just fine he suddenly has this vulnerability and gets so shy. It's very unlike him. But once you get him out there and going he perks up.
The best was when we started wake boarding and Jen got up immediately and was perfectly gliding behind the boat. Jack was SO impressed with Josh's skills, he was cheering him on telling him how well he was doing and how AWESOME he was. When I went out (I haven't tried to wake board for ten years, and didn't even succeed those ten years ago...) I finally got up after 5 or 6 tries and Jack watched me crash every time. I was fine, the crashes weren't TOO rough, but when I got back in Jack told me he didn't think I was cut out for this sport.
He wasn't beaming with pride like he was when Josh got back in the boat. Then Jen tried wake surfing, something I've never seen (thus making me feel REALLY old..) but it was quite awkward and tricky. Not to mention the water was getting choppy and making it more difficult. But Jen kept falling down and Jack turned to me and said "That looks like YOU, Mom!" Then of course, Josh tried it, got up instantly and then cruised around and made it seem like he was almost bored. He grew up surfing so Jen and I didn't let it get us too upset.
I'm glad Josh had so much fun, this is stuff he should be doing more often. Jack too. The water in Bear Lake is usually pretty cold (so I'm told,) but this year it was so nice. Even Jack jumped in so he could see if he would 'really float' in his life vest. He didn't turn blue, which is a great indicator the water is a decent temperature. I'm really proud of myself for finally standing up on a wakeboard. I've had a fear of water sports, and after telling Jack that he couldn't say he didn't like boating until he tried it, Jack told me I could say I didn't like wake boarding until I tried it. He was right.
Then came the part for tubing. This was another thing that I thought once Jack did it, he was gonna LOVE it. We got him onto the raft without any issue (I threw the "you can't say you don't like it till you try it" thing RIGHT BACK AT him.) But when Bob gave Jack the signals to "slow down" or "go faster" Jack took control on the raft and kept giving Bob a thumbs down. After about 1 minute Jack started yelling "We're done, Bob! We're Done!" It was pretty funny. Not to mention the expression on his face.
On the last day, we went to Minnetonka Cave, a pretty sweet cave only about 20 minutes away that drops 60 degrees once you get inside. After being yanked around by a boat and crashing quite a few times, my muscles weren't too stoked about the 888 steps going up and down this cave, but I actually handled it quite well, not to mention Jack, who was probably low oxygen at that elevation. He did great and had a good time.
Jen and Teagan had already done the cave before but let us in on the little secret that at the end of the cave (3000 ft in) they shut the lights off. It is definitely the darkest dark you have ever seen. With that cold temperature and extreme darkness... I could sleep like a baby in there. We had a great hike in and a great hike out, the tour guide sang some sweet chamber music in the "ballroom" on the way out, then showed us a baby bat at the opening of the cave. All very interesting for parents and children alike.
I only post this picture of Jack the look on his face is that of some rabid creature we could have run into in these woods. He was wired and tired all at the same time.
This is was such a fun trip and Bear Lake is such an awesome place (I had 3 raspberry shakes...) we will certainly be going back again... and we'll be dragging all of you with us :)