2015-08-25

Yellowstone

Seth and I vowed to take the trailer out more times this year, so we planned an excursion to Yellowstone.
DAY 1

This was just part of a day, actually. After Seth got home from work on Wednesday, we hooked up the trailer, picked up some Wendy's, and drove up to the cabin in Island Park.

DAY 2

We woke up at the cabin, ate breakfast and drove up through West Yellowstone and into Yellowstone. Minus the pull up and over the Continental Divide (three times in one day!), pulling the trailer went well. I had arbitrarily chosen Bridge Bay campground, which meant we got to drove all the way past Madison Junction, Old Faithful, West Thumb and nearly to Fishing Bridge before we could unhook and explore. Seth masterfully backed the trailer into our allotted site, and we took off to see some old and new things.

We made a quick stop at Canyon for gas and to acquire Junior Ranger workbooks for the three older girls. Let me tell you, those books were well worth the $3 each. Not only was it chock-full of activities for the girls to complete (and complete them they did ... they took them very seriously), but they also earned badges after doing all their work. More on that later.

We hadn't been to the Petrified Tree before, and now I know why. If you were going to stop there because you were driving past anyway, I can understand getting out of the car to look at a tree surrounded by a fence. I'm not sure why we drove there as a destination, though. It was slightly underwhelming, but now we can say we've seen it.

On the trail to the tree.

 Miriam, Andrea, Winnie, Analee and Rebekah next to the petrified redwood.

Next stop: the Upper Falls. This is a place we'd been before, but it was worth it.

Analee sketching the falls for her Junior Ranger book.

Winnie being held up by Seth so she can see the brink of the falls.

Seth, Winnie, Miriam, Analee and Rebekah posing by the rocks at the falls.

Last stop for the day: Mud Volcano Area. Always a favorite.

Rebekah, Miriam and Winnie reacting to the Churning Cauldron.

Analee taking a picture of an old sign of humor someone left behind.

Seth holding Winnie's hand as she leaps down the stairs.

The doe and two fawns that crossed the trail right in front of Miriam and Rebekah.

Looking at the Dragon's Mouth Spring. (My personal favorite of the Mud Volcano Area.) Winnie, the gymnast, was climbing the fence as you see here, only she was putting her foot on the top rung before we noticed. Gratefully she didn't take a spill into the spring.

We returned to our campground for dinner and sleep that evening, then set out for ...

DAY 3

We started out the day with a hike. Rebekah and I introduced the rest of the family to Lone Star Geyser. It turned out to be the perfect hike since we could take the bike trailer/stroller on the wide path for the little ones.

Rebekah, Analee, Seth, Miriam and Winnie on their way to the geyser.

Four girls and their walking sticks. After Rebekah found one for herself, Seth helped the other girls find and prepare sticks for them to use.

Rebekah watching a minor eruption. We arrived just in time to see this one.

Analee, Seth, Miriam, Gwendolen and Rebekah watching the start of another eruption. After the first eruption, we decided to stick around to see if another would happen. Around 30 minutes later, we got to see a larger eruption.

See?

After we made it back to the car, we drove to the Old Faithful area, ate a picnic lunch and waited around for that geyser.

Miriam sitting on Seth's shoulder for a good view of Old Faithful. She didn't last up there until the eruption, though.

We picked out a few souvenirs, enjoyed some ice cream and went back to camp to attend the ranger's family program. (One of the requirements of the girls' Junior Ranger Program was attending a ranger-led program). Then we ate dinner, toasted some marshmallows on the gas stove of the trailer (it was very windy outside) and went to bed.

DAY 4

We woke up, had our breakfast and drove to the Fishing Bridge visitors' center to check it out (none of us had been there before) and get the girls' Junior Ranger patches and buy a Lone Star patch for Analee and Miriam. The ranger there looked through the girls' workbooks very seriously, discussed them with the girls, then had them raise their right hands and take a Junior Ranger oath that included, among other things, promising to take care of Yellowstone's animals, plants and rocks and eat their vegetables every night. Then he awarded them with big patches. The girls were very proud of them. (Rebekah plans to make a bandolier to put her patches on.)

Then we drove to a nearby pullout by Lake Yellowstone and spent an hour exploring and throwing things in the lake. It was the highlight of the trip for me watching the girls get dirty and have fun.

The skies were very smoky from the area wildfires.

Patterns in the dirt around the lake made by the water.

Rebekah with some cools rocks she found.

Miriam throwing rocks into the water.

Analee skipping rocks. She proved herself to be a good rock skipper.

Three girls on a beach.

Seth and Andrea on the beach. Day four of our trip also happened to be our 12th wedding anniversary.

Winnie throwing a rock.

After the lake, we went back to camp and checked out of our spot in time to go home and unpack.

We saw countless bison, several elk, eight mule deer, an oprey holding a fish, a few squirrels/chipmunks, a mama bighorn sheep and her baby, lots of geese; and we only missed three of 50 states in the license plate game, so I'd consider our trip a success. 

To see more pictures, start here.