08.14.17

Yellowstone National Park

Hey ya’ll. This post had been delayed so much. We’ve had a busy busy summer, but how can we not with 5 kids. But now things are settling down since school is starting up again. In June we took a long family vacation to the Tetons and Yellowstone. It was a great trip. These two parks are so close together. It makes the most sense to just see both while you’re in the area. The Tetons are majestic to say the least. Yellowstone is also amazing, but in a cool eruptive kind of way lol. Yellowstone is a giant national park. There are many many places to stay in the park and you spend a lot of time driving from one site to another. We stayed at Bridge Bay Campground on Lake Yellowstone. It’s relatively centered in the park so there isn’t too much of a drive to see the sights. We stayed for 5 nights in Yellowstone and for our family, it was a good chunk of time. It was the beginning of June so the weather is unpredictable. We had a day that was cold and rainy, but then there were nice sunny days too. Our timing was perfect actually because the day we left it ended up snowing 4 inches!!! I am SO glad we missed that. I love snow, but not when I’m camping.

We went and saw as much as we could. Tom and I took the older three kids there one summer 5 years ago. This time we added Audrey and Elliot to the group. Since I can’t list everything we saw there because the list would be too long, I’ll just tell you the highlights. We saw the Falls and The Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone the first day. It was beautiful! There are several hikes to take down and around that area. We didn’t hike too much because we had 3 – 4 year olds and a baby lol. Audrey made sure we knew SHE WAS ALLERGIC TO HIKING! If you’ve ever been to Yellowstone you know that there are hundreds of geysers and springs right off the road. We stopped at many of those too. One day we went to see Old Faithful and walked around that geyser basin. It was so cool to see them all again. Old Faithful is just old now haha. Not too faithful since we waited forever for it to erupt. It did finally erupt so that was good. By the end of that day though the storm clouds had rolled in and it was pouring. We had a nice buffet dinner in the lodge there to celebrate Tom’s birthday. That was a treat because we weren’t too excited to drive back to the campsite to freeze our butts off. I felt so bad for my sister and her kids. They were tent camping next to use and their camp was flooded. They ended up coming into our camper until 11pm that evening because everything was cold and wet. We turned the heater on and enjoyed each others company until it stopped pouring. Well everyone except me of course lol. Elliot made sure I was in bed with him by 8pm. So I just got to hear everyone else socializing haha. The next day we went to see Grand Prismatic and some mud pots. It was SO windy! People were losing hats all over the geysers. You can’t just walk out and pick them up without risking your life so they just stayed there. I’m sure the rangers have a tool to pick them up but there were at least 20! It was very crowded but we got to see a lot. The wind was not pleasant though. We enjoyed the evening with everyone coming to our campground to eat dinner with us and hang out. Bridge Bay could have been a nice place to stay, but not on this visit. I’ll review the campgrounds separately on my blog though. On the last day we drove to West Yellowstone to visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and on our way we saw a wild Grizzly bear in the woods! There is nothing so cool as to see these giant bears in the wild! We saw one last time we were in Yellowstone too, 2 for 2! But seeing them up close at the Discovery Center was really cool too. We learned a lot there. It was a cold rainy day so I’m glad we decided to go there and walk around the town a bit. We loved the gift shops. It was our last night there with everyone so we had dinner back in the park with Tom’s parents. Then we headed back to camp for our last evening in the park.

The next morning we woke up and packed up. We knew snow was rolling in and we wanted to get out of there. Thank you Lord for providing good weather to pack up in. The weather report said it would be cold and rainy but it was sunny until we started driving out. We stopped one last time at the gift shop on the way out to taste the delicious Huckleberry ice cream. Everything there was Huckleberry! It tasted like half blueberry and half strawberry. Funny enough the color looked like a strawberry and blueberry mashed together too! Then we were off back to Texas. We planned a long extended drive back to give Elliot only a few hours in the car (he hated the car). Our first stop through the dark clouds and wind was Casper WY. We stayed at a Hampton Inn and boy were we happy to see running water, heat, and electricity! Did I mention we had to dry camp in Yellowstone? It was tough with 7 people, but we did it! We had a generator that we ran and then propane. Not having sewer or running water was challenging but they had bathrooms with running water.

It was a great trip. Definitely a trip we will remember for the rest of our lives. It’s such a blessing we were able to go with Tom’s family and my family together. Camping trips are very special for families. There is something so great about taking everyone out into nature and having some distance from all the technology that so easily runs our lives. The kids were reluctant at first, but by the end of the trip they had embraced the camper life.

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