Yellowstone

Last Friday through Monday, the boys, my mom, my grandparents, and my brother and I all went for a trip to Yellowstone.  We figure it's probably the last time that my grandparents will get to go, so it was nice to all be there together for that.  I've been to Yellowstone two times before, both trips I went with my grandparents.  Funny, they must like the place.  Anyway, it has been about 15 years since I was there (man, am I old enough to say stuff like that?) and so I was really excited to get up into the mountains and show my boys all of the things that I remembered about it.  Unfortunately, we spent WAY MORE TIME IN THE CAR than I had anticipated and not nearly enough time looking at stinky holes in the ground.  But, I'm over it, I've moved on, and looking back (well, it hasn't even been a week yet) I think the boys experienced some things that they wouldn't have otherwise.  In the end, I'm glad we went. 
One of my mom's cousin's wife has a family cabin in Island Park, Idaho.  It's about 30 minutes from the West entrance to the park.  It belongs to her family, the McKays; which just so happens to be of the same as David O.  Cool! 
The cabin looks pretty old but it was in immaculate shape.  They are really good about taking care of the place.  We all read the to-do list about three or four times each.  We did the whole thing too, so maybe we'll be invited back some day. 
The decor in this place was really cracking me up.  It's straight out of the 70's. 
The first night we got there it was pretty cold outside.  The inside of the cabin was only about 5 degrees warmer than in the inside and my grandparents were FREEZING.  The poor things, anyway, we turned on the heaters and started up a fire.  Then I promptly got altitude sickness.  I had a really bad headache and stomach ache.  I went to bed early and in the morning I woke up feeling fine.  The entire trip we were at a pretty high altitude but Grandpa did surprisingly well.  It's an average of 7,500 feet above sea level.  There was one pass we went through and my mom and I saw a sign that was 8,800 feet!  You could feel it too.  I had to chew gum and take a Tylenol just to get through it. 
There is plenty of space for a lot of people.  Two dining tables. 
And sleeping for 11. 
Hey Stuart, they have horseback riding pretty close too.  You could get the dude ranch experience in afterall.  I'm just throwing it out there. 
I was so happy to let the boys have some good old outdoors time.   The air was so clean and fresh up there you could really smell the pine. 
Evan and I found some wild mushrooms but no one was really brave enough to touch them.
Probably the greatest thing about Yellowstone is the wildlife.  They are everywhere and really close too.  It's so weird to me how close they can get to you and your vehicle.  Some of the buffalo were close enough to touch.  You don't want to do that though. 
We saw lots of Elk.
And we even saw two males fighting out in this meadow.  They were going at it for quite some time and had built up quite the audience. 
The females kept their distance.  They were crossing this river and staying on the far side of the meadow. 

As you drive through Yellowstone there is a lot to see.  The most interesting thing about the area is the geographical features.  They call this area an active geothermal one.  There are several places below the surface of the earth where the earth is hot.  There used to be active volcanoes all over in Yellowstone.  And, you all know about the famous Old Faithful geyser. 
We went there for sure. 
We even saw her go off twice, we stayed long enough. 
There is a newly erected education building. 
Complete with a kids room.
That the kids had to go in about three times. 
Sad story about this cute picture, the boys were really riding on Grandpa's lap and Justin got to pushing the wheel chair too fast.  They all three fell out.  At 80 years old, my grandpa couldn't exactly spring back up on his feet.  I was very scared that he had hurt something.  He did say he was sore but other than that, I think he came out unscathed. 
We saw two hot springs up close.  This one.
And this one.  I think it's called the "Blue Star". 
We stayed in Yellowstone two days and three nights.  On the first day we did Old Faithful then drove around in a loop.  We saw Yellowstone lake.  Which is huge, the largest one at this altitude. 
Then we drove over the bridge at Fishing Lake. 
 
Which you can no longer fish on.  But Grandpa was telling me how crowded it used to be with fishermen.  He said they were in there as tight as you could pack them. 
We didn't really do a whole lot of fishing.  Because no one had a license, but Justin threw a few casts out. 
Bison.
Upper Falls.
There was a cuter picture of us here but then I thought, no, put in the crazy one.  Evan is saying, aw man, do I have to go back in the car AGAIN?
This buffalo was in the median. 
And you can see how close this elk was to our car as well. 
Day #2: Yellowstone
I should say, day number two, the disaster.  But I won't go into it. 
Ryan really wanted a pair of binoculars for his birthday.  He ended up with two pair so I told the boys to bring them along.  We actually used them. 
Antelope.
More antelope.
Cutest picture of the whole trip.
This is a grizzly bear.  You can't see it very well.  I may go back and picnic in where it is for you or whatever, but then again, I may not.  Is anyone still reading anyway?  The boys really wanted to see a bear, and so did I.  However, they're really hard to find in Yellowstone now-a-days.  My mom says that when she was a kid they were as plentiful as the bison are today.  Weird. 
There were bison everywhere.  This group made us stop because they were crossing the road. I still can't get over how close they were! 


And that, is our trip! 
I've done too much traveling this summer.  I don't want to see another suitcase again for a while. 



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