Category: hiking

The Boiling River

I am finally writing about our favorite parts of our trip to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks. Here is the first place we loved.

When researching the things I wanted to see in Yellowstone, I did what every girl in her twenties would do: I searched Pinterest for every pin even remotely related to Yellowstone. Of course, I created a board to gather all my pins and spent way more time than I’d like to admit searching and reading all the blog posts about the coolest spots and best things to do with a family in the park. Through my search, I found a lot of pictures of people swimming in hot springs in this place called the Boiling River. I knew this was one place I really wanted to explore.

north entranceThe Boiling River is actually part of the Gardiner River. This river is located almost at the North Entrance of the park. Just a little past Fort Yellowstone (If you are coming from the south). There is a little parking area, which will most likely be full of tons of cars, many have to park on the other side of the road or anywhere they can find. It is pretty well packed for a hot springs in the middle of the summer. Once you park, there is a half-mile trail that you must hike to get to the pool, but it is pretty easy and well-maintained.

boiling river1So, How does it work? How are you able to swim in the scalding hot water? Well, at part of the Gardiner River, the boiling hot water from the Boiling River flows into the freezing cold Gardiner River. The water mixes to create a nice hot bath area. Now, don’t be fooled. There are spots where the rushing cold water will get you, while other spots will shoot out really hot water. So, be careful. Rocks have been strategically placed to give a nice wading area. So, the fast rushing river doesn’t take you downstream. Be sure to wear water shoes (those rocks hurt) and don’t put your head underwater (there are signs everywhere telling you not to do this, even though many didn’t listen) since you could get sick from the exposure.

IMG_4604 IMG_4594We enjoyed the nice warm water. Although, I think I would enjoy it more in the fall or spring, when it isn’t too hot outside. But hey, who would ever turn down a chance to swim in a hot spring in Yellowstone?


This is our favorite hike in the Elkhorns.

DSC_0678It is a beautiful trail that follows along the mountainside, over creeks, through the trees, and lands at a gorgeous mountaintop lake. What is also great about this hike is that it is quick. It only takes about 1.5 miles to get in, so round trip is only 3 miles. We have been waiting for the snow to melt all spring and summer so we could finally hike this amazing trail. Luckily, when we got back from our cruise most of the snow on the mountains was gone, so we knew we could make it. crawfish1crawfish2

Crawfish Lake

Where: In the Elkhorns, on Anthony Lakes HIghway, about 15 minutes past Anthony Ski Lodge.

Distance: 3 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easycrawfish3

crawfish4crawfish5We took Kona with us. She had a blast leaping over the fallen trees, prancing through the meadows, and soaking in the creeks. She sure did get dirty, so a bath was necessary immediately following the hike. She also had fun swimming in the lake. The bad part being that all the fish/bird poop liked to gather at the edges of the lake, well she would roll around in it, covering herself in it, then shake it all off . . . on Ash and I who were sitting near by. This was a lesson we did not need to be taught: never sit down near the edge of the lake while your dog rolls around in fish poop. We stunk!

crawfish6The hike was great. It was nice to go up yesterday morning and take some alone time. We are going to be busy the next few weeks. We are headed on a mission trip to LA Wednesday, then once we get back, we immediately head to Yellowstone for another week. It has been a crazy eventful summer, but we are enjoying every minute of it. Especially, when we can take some time to do things like this with each other as well.


During our time here in Eastern Oregon, we have been in search of new and beautiful hikes. We have a guide book that we really enjoy, but many of the hikes we like are not in that book. We have searched online through blogs and websites, but there are not that many people who document their favorite hikes, at least not in Eastern Oregon. So, we thought it would be nice to document the hikes we go on to let others know of some of the great hiking options Eastern Oregon offers. 

Where: Cornucopia, about 12 miles outside of Halfway, Oregon

Distance: About 4.5 miles round trip (to the waterfall and back)

Difficulty: Easy

Today we traveled to the ghost town Cornucopia for our hike. This town was once a booming town when gold was found there in the 1880s. The town was bustling with miners for years, until the mine finally closed in 1941. It has been sitting as a remembrance to that time ever since.

DSC_0393 DSC_0395 DSC_0399Right before the cutoff to the town, you take a right turn on a road that leads to a packing station. About 100 yards down the dirt road is a place to stop and park. From here we followed an old mining road that trails the river. The run-off from the snow made it difficult to find the trail at first. We followed the direction from the GPS and the descriptions in our guide book, but realized that we needed to cross what we thought was the river to the trail. Once we found the trail, we followed the path chasing the curves of the river, crossing over a few foot bridges, all the while keeping an eye out for the cascading waterfall.

DSC_0412 DSC_0420 DSC_0427 DSC_0437 DSC_0435It was interesting to see remnants of old mining equipment just left throughout the trail. The old rusted pieces of metal were burnt orange and darting out throughout our hike. This trail is positioned in the southern part of the Eagle Caps. About 5,000 feet up into the forest. IMG_3949

Overall it was an easy hike, once we found our way. It is about a 4.5 mile hike round trip. Our hike ended at the waterfall. The trail continues on, so we had to off-road it to the edge of the cliff that overlooks the falls. Unfortunately, with all the brush and placement of the trail, it was difficult to get a great view of the falls. The best place we found was at the top of the falls, watching the water plummet 40 feet into a blue pool below. The pictures really do not do it justice, unable to show the strength of the water, as well as the beauty. DSC_0444 DSC_0442 DSC_0448

just keep drivin’

So this past weekend we went on drive up Marble Creek Rd. Ever since Zach got his Explorer, we have been waiting for the weather to get nice and the snow to melt so we can go drive up some crazy dirt roads. We have been wanting to take this trek up Marble Creek Rd to a couple of trailheads. So, since it was such a nice day on Saturday, and I wanted to try out my new hiking shoes (my birthday present from Zach), we packed Asher and Kona in the car and headed out.

DSC01501It was a nice drive, we even rolled down the windows to feel the nice cool breeze as we traveled up the mountain. As we journeyed farther and farther, the roads became more uneven and bumpy. To the right of me the mountainside lined the road. To Zach’s left, the road plummeted to the valley below. I uneasily sank my fingers into my door handle, while Zach cheered in excitement all the way up the mountain. We jolted from side to side as we rounded corners, fought through brush, and escaped big holes left from the winter weather.

DSC01519About three miles from the top (and the trailhead), we finally reached the snow. At first it only covered one side of the road. So, Zach was able to grip the road with the two right wheels and power on through. But, as the snow widened across the road we weren’t sure whether to keep trudging along or to turn around. We decided to see what our four-wheel drive could really do.

DSC01504Well . . . we realized that although it can do a lot in snow and on the dirt roads, this road which is covered in hard, thick, ice would not let the Explorer grip. So, after quickly getting stuck, we decided to stop there. We got out, ate our lunch, and went on a little hike up the road a little farther.

DSC01499DSC01507Although we did not meet our destination, it was worth it to watch Kona run through the snow and enjoy some time out in the forest. And of course we could not leave without attempting to take a family selfie (although can you call it a selfie if there are three of us?)


A snowshoeing kind of day

We decided to spend some family time on Saturday. So, we packed the four of us up in the Explorer and headed for the mountains.DSC_0230

We learned some valuable lessons on this excursion. First, we learned that when we are on a very strict time schedule (oh, the joys of having a newborn), it probably isn’t a good idea to “try out” a new spot to snowshoe at. Especially, when the spot doesn’t pan out because of there being tons more ice than snow; which then leads to a longer drive to the place we normally travel to.DSC_0236

The next, and MOST IMPORTANT, lesson doesn’t have to do with our little man; he was perfect. He slept through the entire hike, warm and cozy in the Ergobaby. This lesson was taught by Kona. We usually take Kona on our hikes. When we are on the trails we let her off her leash. She is great at staying with us and keeping to the trail. Well, last winter we learned that when she is in the snow and can’t see the trail, she does not stay with us. So, we have learned to keep her on a long leash. Zach thought it would be best for him to carry our little guy, while I handled Kona. This was not such a good idea. She is very strong, so along with her constantly pulling and making me fall, she also wrapped herself up in just about every tree/bush we came across.

DSC_0206DSC_0202The other problem was that this area had way more snow then the last time we were there; so, Kona was practically swimming through the snow. She would try to follow behind me, walking in my tracks. She would constantly step on the back of my snowshoe, causing me to fall. We were able to get in an hour hike or so, but we think next time Kona may need to stay home. Overall, we are still calling this trip a success. We got out of the house, enjoyed the mountains, and spent quality time as a family.DSC_0229DSC_0238