Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yellowstone and "the best day ever!"

Wing has been working 3 different jobs this summer and treated us with an awesome vacation to Yellowstone National Park with some of the extra money. We had so much fun and got to enjoy the company of our friends, the Christensen family. Wing was the only man on the trip until the last day and he sure did take good care of both families. Every night he would be exhausted, but happy. What a man!

Here's what the trip looked like: Tuesday: Travel day (4 potty breaks in the jungle), Jackson Hole and Bar J Wranglers

The Bar J Bear

The Bar J Wagon Ride

Here's the stars of the show.

Wednesday: Jackson Hole, Tetton NF, Jenny Lake, Travel to Yellowstone and set up Camp

This girl can hold a drink!

Tetton NF Visitors Center had these cool TV screens on the floor that showcased different parts of the forest.

The Tetton Mountains

Outside of the Tetton Visitor Center

Jenny Lake

Skipping stones at Jenny Lake

Wadding in the water at Jenny Lake, getting cold, wet and looking cool.

Wing dipped his head in the water to fix his hat hair and of course Parker couldn't be outdone by his Pops and did the same thing only a bit more carefully.

Leaving Jenny Lake

Thursday: West Thumb and Old Faithful

West Thumb smells stinky

Fisherman's Cone: In the early days of Yellowstone, Fisherman's Cone was famous. People would dress up in chef hats and aprons, go fishing while straddling the cone and when they caught a fish they would dangle it over the cone and cook it.

Yellowstone Lake and West Thumb

Lake meets geysers at West Thumb

West Thumb blue pool

Lilly Pads

Old Faithful: This time the geyser shot 150 ft in the air. Not bad!

Friday: Boating on Yellowstone Lake, 518 Buffalo, Bear, Upper and Lower Falls, Artist Point

We hadn't seen ANY animals the whole trip and the kids were starting to think that I was lying when I said that Yellowstone is full of animals and that we were bound to see 1 or 2 animals. We decided that we would take a road up to artist point and check out the water falls that day. On the way up the road we saw a sign that said, "CAUTION. Bison are wild and dangerous animals." We all got a good laugh out of the sign, because there are signs like this all over the park with ZERO animals to be seen. But, when we rounded the corner we saw a single buffalo! It was so exciting! We hopped out of the truck and took pictures, felt satisfied and moved on. Then around the next bend we saw two more buffalo! Wow! What a surprise! BUT, around the next bend we saw a grassy valley just covered in buffalo! I'm talking tons and tons of buffalo. They covered the whole valley and even were the cause of a huge buffalo jam (traffic jam) in the road. They came right up the truck and walked right along side of us and all over the sides of the truck. Sometimes they would just stand in the middle of the road twitching their tails and mooing/bahhing with much content. It was crazy!!

On the way home we drove back through what we call Bison Byway and the buffalo jam was even more intense. While we were parked in the road waiting to proceed forward, Wing learned how to make the bull call. I always knew that he was full of bull, but when he started mooing and bahhing at those bulls they called back and gave him the evil eye. I think he was accidentally saying, "Give me your buffy woman," because those bulls did not like him at all. Wing's bull calls scared the kids to death and even himself a few times when the bison would approach the car. It made for a wonderful time that we will never forget and laugh about for a long time!

Here's the bear story: After passing through "bison byway" we pulled over to see the upper falls and do a little hike. The ranger at the trail head said that there was a bear sighting on the trail that day and that it was a very rare occurrence. I told the kids that we better stick together to be safe and we were a little on edge, but took the trail to the falls anyway. Parker kept making bear sounds and grabbing Kate's waist to make her scared and we all got a good laugh. But we laughed the most when Grace went around a corner and froze in mid-step saying, "WHOA! What is that?!" She was so scared that she couldn't move! We all turned and saw a Marmot standing at attention protecting his lair and he was not a happy Marmot at all. His teeth were bared and his hair stuck straight up. We all tip toed past him so that he wouldn't jump. That Marmot gave us the creeps! The falls were just on the other side of the Marmot and was just beautiful. We admired them for a few minutes and turned back onto the trail to find that darn Marmot standing at attention once again. Another couple approached us and we warned them about the Marmot and felt like we did a good dead. Then the Marmot suddenly relaxed and wondered across the trail and started to eat some lunch. We laughed and carried on up the trail only to be stopped by a man and woman frantically mouthing the word, "BEAR!" Needless to say, we froze in our tracks terrified and saw the bum of a huge grizzly bear just ahead of us on the same trail that we were on! It was so freaking scary! Well, after the bear left the trail and we high tailed it up and hustled for the truck only to find that bear in the parking lot. We jumped in our truck and trying to track the bear and cut him off in the road. Parker and Grace were afraid that we wouldn't see him again and jumped out of the truck to get a better look, but Wing saw the bear way up ahead and pushed the truck ahead of the other cars to cut the bear off at the trail. P and G got nervous and decided to run and keep up with the truck and scared Wing and I to death because the bear ended up being quite close to us and them! The bear turned, looked P and G straight in the eye, turned and walked up the side of the mountain. G about peed her paints and P was speechless! What a day! After everything calmed down, Kate said, "Wow. A Mormont saved our lives today!"

And now off to Artists Point:

Saturday: Packing up Camp, More Bison Byway, Dragon's Breath, Artist Pots and Driving to Shelley to stay the night with the Hogges.

Bye, Bye awesome tent! (Kate is still inside sleeping.)

Last trip to the campground's potty and hair dryer.

We decided to hit one more geyser on our way out of the park, Dragon's Cave!

Not Dragon's Cave, but still stinky.

Kate and Dan.

Now here's some Dragon's Breath! (P and G forgot their toothbrushes.) Dragon's Cave is in the back. The geyser is inside of the cave and makes a snarling noise just like a dragon then spits out steam and water. Pretty cool and will make a great pic at one of Wing and Parker's RPG dates.

Some serious crusty! Grace loved watching the mud pots boil, pop and stink.

The trail here features a bunch of buffalo traveling down from their night quarters, across the street and to the grassy valley. Here's one in the parking lot.

 Extreme buffalo encounter in the parking lot #1.

Even more extreme buffalo encounter in the parking lot #2. This huge fella came down just daring someone to bug him so he could get a good gorge in on somebody. Yikes!

Thank you Wing, the Christensen's and Hogge's for a wonderful vacation that we will never forget!

1 comment:

A Real Kansas Housewife said...

Wow, that looks like a great vacation. I have been thinking about you and Becky. Miss you guys.


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