Monday, November 4, 2013

Yellowstone - July 2013

We decided we needed a family vacation so we went to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks. It has been years since Andrea has been there, Jason hasn't been there since he was a child, and none of the grand children have been there. 

Jul 29, 2013 (Mon)
This morning we got up and put the food in the car. We finally got off by 10:30 am. We stopped in Pocatello for lunch at Wendy’s. We then stopped in Idaho Falls to see the temple. 
Idaho Falls
Family vacation
Who's horsing around?
We continued on to West Yellowstone, Montana. When we got to the motel the kids got ready to go swimming then it started to rain. We got pizza for dinner then walked around town for a little. 

Jul 30, 2013 (Tue)
We went to the Three Bears restaurant for breakfast. We then packed up and went to Yellowstone National Park. We took the Firehole Canyon Drive and stopped by the river and the kids could throw rocks in the river. 
Firehole River
The crossing
I can get there too
There are critters in this water
This looks easy

We continued up the scenic drive to the waterfall.
The falls
We went to the Artists Paint Pots and helped get a truck with a trailer out of a traffic jam. It blocked all traffic both directions and couldn't get out.
Artists' Paintpots
Scenic view
We then went to Norris Geyser Basin. Alyssa, Kohler, and Lauren started their junior ranger program by listening to a park ranger tell us about Steamboat Geyser, the tallest geyser in the world. It rarely erupts and is very unpredictable. It erupted the day after we were there. 
Steamboat Geyser the day before the real eruption 
The ranger talk
When we finished there we went to Virginia Cascades picnic area to have a late lunch. 

As we were headed to our camp we saw some bison. 
Yellowstone bison
When we got to the Bridge Bay Campground the wind was blowing and as we set up our tents it was raining. We had deer walk right next to our campsite. 
Mule deer in our campground
The rain let up when we were ready to have dinner. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. 
Jason, the campfire master
Hotdogs for supper
We went to the ranger program in the evening on “Finding Yellowstone” the history of discovering Yellowstone. 

Jul 31, 2013 (Wed)
This morning we got up early and looked over the campground.
Campground in the morning
We went to the lake and watched the sunrise over the lake. 
Sunrise over Yellowstone Lake 
Yellowstone Lake
We then walked to the entrance of the campground and past the marina. We got back and waited a bit until the others were up. 
Bridge Bay 
Bridge Bay marina
We had breakfast and cleaned up after and were ready to leave by 10:00 am. 
Breakfast time
We headed to Old Faithful. We stopped at the Continental Divide where Isa Lake drains both east and west. 
Divided family
Isa Lake
We then went to Old Faithful. 
A faithful family
We went to the visitor center and looked at their displays. 
Visitor Center exhibits
We did a Wildlife Olympics where the kids tried to see how they compared to the animals in jumps, running, blinking or staring, holding their breath, and standing on one leg. 
Wildlife Olympics
We watched Old Faithful blow. One of the junior ranger activities was to time the eruption and then predict the next eruption. The prediction came out to be the same as the ranger's prediction. 
Old Faithful
We found a bench in the shade by the lodge where we could have some lunch.
We then had to wait for the next eruption to see how close it was to our (and the ranger's) prediction. It was late. 
Old Faithful is late
We returned to camp then went to the lake. Our grandchildren really like the water. Brynlie hid her toys in the sand, but eventually found them. For the last two we were about to give up and Brinlie just started playing and twirling in the sand and uncovered the last two. 
Going down to the lake 
Careful lookout 
Hiding toys in the sand
It's even fun for Grandma
The water's not that cold
Fun in the sand
Do I dare get my feet wet?
We came back and it started to rain. We waited until it stopped to fix dinner. It was nice all through dinner then it started to rain again.

Aug 1, 2013 (Thu)
Today was our day for the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Our first stop was Fishing Bridge. This is a spawning area so no fishing is allowed. We saw baby fish in the river. We stopped at the general store to get what we needed for dinner tonight. 
No Fishing allowed on fishing Bridge
Fishing Bridge
We then went to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. I think this is my favorite part of Yellowstone. The area the Yellowstone River runs through is beautiful. Our first stop was Upper Falls.
Upper Falls
Cute family, Eh!
We then went to the Lower Falls where we could actually see the yellow stone of the canyon. 
Lower Falls of the Yellowstone
Three cute girls
And a young lady
We next went across the river and hiked down to the brink of Upper Falls. 
Lauren and Brynlie at the brink
Alyssa, that's too big for a walking stick

We had lunch in a grassy area by the parking lot in the canyon area at about 3 pm. 
Clover in our lunch area
When we finished eating we decided to go to the visitor center where Kohler, Alyssa, and Lauren were able to get their Jr. Ranger badges. They really worked hard on them.

We then went to the Mud Volcano area where we saw the Dragon Mouth.
Dragon Mouth
As we were walking on the boardwalk a buffalo came walking by right next to it. We were just a few feet from it. I guess it couldn't read the signs about keeping its distance. 
A bison only 5 feet away from us

When we got back to camp it was about 5:30 pm. I got the food out and Andrea helped me make foil dinners while Jason got a fire going that made some good coals. The dinners turned out great and it didn’t rain on us. We then built up the fire and roasted marshmallows. We had a puddle of water in the corner of our tent this morning because it rained all night.  
Aug 2, 2013 (Fri)
 We had some rain last night after we went to bed, but it didn’t last all night. We got up and had French toast for breakfast. We then packed up our camp and left at about 10:30 am. 

We went to the West Thumb geyser basin. 
Hot spring
Geysers within Lake Yellowstone
Look at this color! 
On the boardwalk

We then stopped at Grant Village so Hanna could get her Jr. Ranger badge. She was excited to be able to do that and we were happy for her. 
A new junior ranger
We then headed for Grand Teton National Park. We stopped at a picnic area then had lunch. We then went to Colter Bay and took a two-mile walk around a small peninsula. It was a beautiful walk. 
Wild Indians
Easy trail 
Stop for a rest

Quality family time
Don't you love those smiles?
Yes, there is a lake
We then went on to Jenny Lake. We were able to find a spot to wade in the lake. 
The Tetons from Jenny Lake 
Wading time 
A good way to cool off 
Even Grandma got her feet wet
We then went on to Jackson, WY and checked in at the 49’er Quality Inn and Suites. 
The 49er

We went to a Mexican restaurant and the kids ate all their food. 
Anyone for Mexican food?
Aug 3, 2013 (Sat)
 We had breakfast at the hotel and then we packed up and checked out. We then walked around town and three of the kids got souvenir pennies. 
The reading girl 
The antler arch
A real Wyoming cowboy
We then headed home to Logan. It was a good family vacation. 

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