September 18, 2015
We spent a week exploring Yellowstone National Park between September 6th and September 11th. It was extra special because we got to be there with my Mom and Dad! My mom and dad have a motorhome that they camp in so they had the spot right next to us at the West Yellowstone KOA. It was a great week. We loved being with them and also loved seeing Yellowstone. I had not been there since I was about 12 and Lance doesn’t remember being there at all so it all seemed new to us.
On Monday we went to see Old Faithful and took a walk on the boardwalk around the other smaller geysers and hot springs there. Rose and I just did the smaller walk with them and then I went to feed her. Lance and my mom took the other five on the larger loop so they got to see a lot more! We also saw LOTS of buffalo roaming around the park that day and a couple of elk.
Here we are by the sign for Old Faithful….unfortunately we didn’t get a picture while outside during the actual eruption!! Can you believe it??!?
Some of the cool geysers and pools that we saw on the walk near Old Faithful.
A herd of buffalo
Two elk that were just hanging out by the river as we drove by!
On Tuesday we went for a hike to see some mud pots and paint pots. It was pretty amazing to see the earth just bubbling up like that. The water was so beautifully clear too! After the hike we had a nice picnic in the woods. The kids had fun exploring there.
Just about to start the hike. I had to include this picture because of Ben….doesn’t he look adorable with his hat on backwards and his little “pack pack” he insisted on wearing? You never know when you might need your trains, matchbox cars and plastic animals!!!
Lance, Ben, my dad and Joe
I’m so glad that my kids have two great grandpas. Ben sure does adore his “Bapa” and wants to be with him and help him any chance he gets! We love to be around him too…my dad is such a fun guy, we are always laughing when he’s around!!
Abby, my mom and Elise chatting together while they walk
The mud is bubbling!! So cool!!
My mom and Elise
My dad and Sam….you have to be sneaky to get a picture of Sam, he hates to have his picture taken!!
Rose, the happy camper!!
I call this one “Short Boy, Tall Trees”
On Wednesday we decided to relax at the campground for the first half of the day. The kids went swimming and Ben and Rose had good naps (which were very needed!). Lance, my dad and the boys all went out for a nice breakfast and to run a couple of errands and then my mom and I went shopping in West Yellowstone during the afternoon naptime. We found some fun t-shirts and a couple little souvenirs. That evening we went to Yellowstone and had the best hike of the week. We went on a trail that switch-backed down the mountain to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and also the lower falls. The view was unreal…it looked like a painting. The canyon walls are a creamy light yellow and the blue water of the river below with the white rapids every so often is gorgeous enough, but put that against an amazing sunset…it’s almost too much! That God would take the time and care to make a place so beautiful is a wonder to me!
The hike down to the falls…switchbacks all the way
My mom, me and Rose
My mom is so special to me. She loves me unconditionally and has always been there for me. Now, as an adult, I count her as one of my best friends, not just my mom.
Joe, Abby, Sam and Elise looking down at the waterfall
I promise…I didn’t do any editing to this picture. Isn’t it beautiful???
After the hike we went out for dinner in the park and then started the drive home. By this time it was almost 10:00 so it was dark. There are not a lot of lit areas in Yellowstone so we pulled into a turn-off in a meadow and just stood outside looking at the stars. The ten of us were the only people around and it was quiet and cool outside. I have never seen so many stars before! We saw constellations, the Milky Way and even a few shooting stars. Then, when we started driving again, a coyote crossed right in front of the car which was pretty cool to see. It was such a special day.
Thursday we went back to the park to explore. First we had a picnic by the river. We found a wooly caterpillar and Sam and Elise were having fun playing with him. They named him Buffy after all of the buffalo we had been seeing in the park. After the picnic and a heartfelt good bye to Buffy we set out for our next stop. We hiked the short trail/boardwalk to see the Grand Prismatic Spring. It was impossible to capture how beautiful it was with the camera. There were so many different colors in the water! After that we drove to get ice cream by Yellowstone Lake and then went to Hayden’s Valley to look for animals with my dad’s new spotting scope. Sam really enjoyed that! We saw a herd of elk moving around the valley, a couple of bald eagles and a mother buffalo with her calf. Sam also saw a family of wolves which was very exciting to him. Around that time we noticed a large plume of smoke off in the distance. We found out that there was a small forest fire a few miles away that had been started by lightning a couple of days before. The park rangers were letting it burn, but watching it to make sure it didn’t get out of control.
Sam exploring by the river before we had our picnic lunch
Elise introducing Rosemary to Buffy.
Somehow this happened….Joe might have had something to do with it!! Good thing Rose didn’t seem to mind.
My mom and dad walking with Ben.
The Grand Prismatic Spring
See??? You never know when you’ll feel the need to play with a train!!
Ice cream at the general store next to Yellowstone Lake
Friday morning we packed up to leave. We just had a couple last things to do in Yellowstone. First, we needed to take a picture by the Yellowstone sign….check! Second, Sam and Elise needed to turn in their booklets to receive their Junior Ranger badges. They were so excited! In order for Sam to get his badge he had to answer a bunch of questions from a park ranger. He did great and impressed the ranger with what he had learned that week.
Good Bye Yellowstone…we had a great week of discovery, but there was so much more to see! Hopefully we will get to go back in the next few years.
Sam and the park ranger
Elise and Sam….the newest Junior Park Rangers!
It was a very good week. We had great weather…it was quite cool at night, but very pleasant during the day, the park was not too busy since it was not the peak season and we were able to have some great times with my mom and dad. It was very hard to say good bye to them, not knowing how long it will be until we get to see them again. They took off for Michigan and we headed north towards Glacier National Park. On the way, we stopped in Helena, Montana to see the state capital. It was a pretty evening to stop and stretch our legs.
Joe was teaching Ben how to roll down the hill
This sweet little lady is almost 9 months old….can hardly believe it!
We have been to 14 state capitals now. If you want to check out the pictures from those stops just go to the State Capitals tab at the top right of the blog’s home page.