I got up fairly early and took another long shower then packed up the clean laundry and as much of the stuff in the room that I could then got the kids up and had them dress and help pack up the last of the stuff. We got our complimentary breakfast and stuffed our stomachs before hitting the road at 8am.
We had a lot of driving to do.The kids zoned out glued to their devices and I listened to my audio book and occasionally made them look out at the sights.
On the drive I called up Great Basin and got some info about the cave tours they offer. They almost always fill up and you can only get tickets reserved up until the day before. The guy told me they had tickets left for the last tour of the day but he could hold hold any for us. We drove though lunch and just snacked in the car and rushed our way there.
We finally got there, rushed to the bathrooms and then rushed into the visitor center and got 3 tickets for the 3pm show. We also got Jr. Ranger books and had about an hour until the tour so we went for a hike and worked on the books.
It was a fairly short easy hike but we all enjoyed it and it was great to get out of the car and see some critters.
We lost track of time and just about missed the tour. We quickly got our jackets and got started. I should have taken a picture of our giant red bearded guide. He gave us some info about not touching the cave, not taking anything and not banging our heads on stuff. Then we left the 90F outside and went into the 50F cave.
It was a 90 minute tour with a really interesting history and lots of really cool stuff to look at.
He started off with a lot of complete darkness and I worried Pumpkin would get scared and want to bail but she just held my hand really tight and I assume kept a smile on her face.
Peanut had no fear and was actually being the kid who stays right in the front of the group and tries to answer all the guides question.
People had been touring this cave for 100 years.
and it was slowly still changing.
85 minutes into the tour Pumpkin got bored and asked if we could go back outside and the guide led us out 5 minutes later. The kids had about 5 minutes of work left on their books about stuff they saw in the cave then earned their badges.
I was really excited about some trees I heard were at the park. So once they had their badges I asked the ranger where the Bristlecone pines were and she told us. The trail to them was way up a mountain behind the visitor center so we drove up.
It was a really fun windy drive with great views. We climbed a lot on the drive and got to more snow.
We got hiking and found our trail marker.
3 miles 1 way to the trees. The kids knew I wanted to see the 4,000 year old trees so they were up for it but I knew we didn’t have the time. So we played in the snow and hiked a close really short trail instead.
The weather on the mountain was really pleasant and the campsites there looked great. We just about tossed our plans out the window and camped but there were big dark clouds in the sky and we had another long day of drives the next day and I was eager to get some of them out of the way. So we left but I’d really like to spend a night at the top of the mountain in Great Basin someday.
So we went back to the van and drove off the mountain and back to the road and on toward Salt Lake. It was already past dinner time for us and we crossed the time zone line and it was all of a sudden really late. We pulled into a subway at the first town we found.
We had a rough time ordering our food, the place was fine but the kids forgot English or something and had a terrible time figuring out what things they wanted in their mouths. Once in the car I discovered they had never been to a subway before and were a bit overwhelmed with all the toppings and options but they loved it and wanted to stop again later in the trip.
I think it was like 10 or 10:30 before we finally pulled into an Econolodge outside of Salt Lake. The kids got ready for bed really quick so they could watch some nature show for 30 minutes before bed. Once they were down I took a big bath and planned out more of the rest of the trip on the laptop before getting to bed.