Destination: Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole Wyoming
Date: July 2011 and October 2012
|Our brood at the upper falls near the Yellowstone Grand Canyon|
|At the west entrance of Jackson Hole|
All six kids from left to right, Leah 6, Clay 9, Bella 4, Bailey 12, Lexi 6 and Colton 15
|The cute little theatre that we watched the summer playhouse show Seven Brides for Seven Brothers|
|The kids learning how to row on the Snake River|
|Patches my kids earned going white water rafting|
|Don't worry my camera had a good zoom lens I didn't ever get this close!|
Yellowstone National park July 2011
One day we decided to drive the hour long ride to Yellowstone National Park to see some of the worlds most fascinating geological sites. Just driving up there was fascinating since we passed so many of the beautiful Teton mountains to our left.
|It is so beautiful that it almost looks like we are standing in front of a mountainous backdrop|
This is real, I promise
|The photo I've dreamed of taking my whole life |
Too bad it's missing Lexi and me
|The three little girls loving communing with nature|
|Map of Yellowstone the lower blue circle is what we followed during our July 2011 visit|
|Absolutely beautiful. It really looks like a painting|
Here you can see the nature that is so beautiful to the eye that it truly does look like you’ve walked into a painting. Until this point in my life with the dozens of countries I’ve visited and cities I’ve gone I have never seen something so beautiful with my own eyes. The best part is that I think my kids enjoyed it almost as much as I did. They truly were in awe of the beauty.
One fun thing we did on this trip was have the kids wear matching shirts. I like to use this method for finding my kids in busy areas during our trips, and it worked like a charm in Yellowstone. Plus it let all the other tourists see that we were a family and so many people were so kind to my children and even giggled at their misbehaviors because they saw there were so many of them. At a family destination like Yellowstone it served a purpose and showed our family camaraderie, even though, sadly, Trent and I didn’t have shirts to match.
In October 2012 we decided to make another day trip over to Yellowstone. This time we entered from the West Gate entrance that runs along the Idaho border. There was a cute little town that borders up with the entrance of the gate and is fun to stop for any Yellowstone souvenirs. My kids got some cute shirts that read “Yolo Stone” which were fun to take back to Texas. I should also mention that with so few National parks in Texas and very little public land Yellowstone is quite out of the ordinary for us. That in combination with the trees, and so much wildlife, and cooler weather, its no surprise why we like to visit this beautiful place. Yellowstone is also the worlds first National park that was founded March 1, 1872. In 2012, coinciding with our recent visit, the park was celebrating 140 years of operation!
|Mammoth Falls, Yellowstone|
|It was a cold and sunny day visiting the falls|
Since there is so much to explore we decided to go to a different site to see that we had missed the previous year. Heading north from Norris Geyser Basin we traveled the 21 miles up to Mammoth Hot Springs. On the drive up we passed Obsidian Cliff which is a historic landmark. Back in the early 1800’s Native Americans quarried for obsidian here for tools and trading. The cliffside sparkles with the beautiful obsidian that cascades down the cliff face. Once we hit Mammoth Hot Springs we were able to overlook the terraces composed of travertine (calcium carbonate.) Of course that wouldn’t give me any idea of what to expect so what I will say it looks like a huge lightly roasted marshmallow with water beautifully trickling down the face of it. It was white with some orange colorations and absolutely gorgeous. Walt Disney’s designers couldn’t have done it better themselves.
|A geyser at Norris Geyser Basin and Bella and Leah during our picnic lunch|
Back down at Norris Geyser Basin we walked the path around some of the geysers and hot springs that had acidic water actually bubbling at the surface. Watching nature like this was pretty awesome for both parent and child. The kids loved running along the wooden boardwalks from one geyser to another, and we parents had a great visit and beautiful walk in the park. This path was around a half mile and easy for the kids but did have a few stairs at the very end so we did have to lift some strollers to finish the walk. Not all paths are stroller friendly, but most are very accommodating, and marked stroller trails can be found on the maps that the park rangers give you as you enter the park.
Last thing I should mention that I did not know on our previous visit is the Junior Ranger program that is available to kids. It has a few things to look for and find and teaches the children about the park in a little booklet that is available at any of the visitors centers. Once the child finishes the booklet they can go to any of the park rangers and be sworn in as Junior Rangers and receive a patch for completing this goal. I wasn’t aware of this program until I witnessed it first hand watching a ranger swear in another child with great seriousness. Though we missed it this time around you can rest assured that I will be prepared for the next go round and my kids. Well at least the little ones will be Junior Rangers soon!
Safe and Happy Travels!