Yellowstone Trip Day 5

August 31, 2016 on 9:12 am | In Uncategorized | By Cindy | No Comments | Add a comment

Friday was our last day in Yellowstone and we headed north to Mammoth Hot Springs and the old Yellowstone Fort.  But before that, we had to stop at the Ranger Station.


The boys had been working on their Junior Ranger badge workbooks all week and our last stop was a class taught by a ranger.  Friday morning there was a class about birds that I knew Kevin would find interesting with the boys.  But before the class, we had to check out the hands-on displays.  Antlers for the win!


The boys had more fun than I expected playing with these horns and antlers!


Ricky had left his workbook back at the cabin, so he spent his time quickly filling out information in a new one.


Bobby, I don’t think that horn is a tail!


The ranger taught them about birds and bird calls.  My boys knew a lot of the answers already because their dad likes birds.


Bobby and I played in the dirt with his new bison, bear, and moose toys.  I definitely could not complain about my view as we waited!


Once their class was over, the boys were sworn in as official Yellowstone National Park Junior Rangers. (that ranger lady took her job very seriously)


Badges to prove it!  Plus a fun Centennial Year of National Parks pin.


Then we headed north in Yellowstone to the Mammoth Hot Springs area.  This area is famous for the terraces formed by the bubbling springs.


Sometimes the dad leads the boys off trail for a little un-approved exploring.


We found a grassy field by the old Yellowstone Fort to have a picnic lunch.


Then we did the walking tour of the old fort buildings.  We had a map and lots of info about each building.  I found it all fascinating and could totally picture what this place was like 100 years ago!  The boys found the deer who were just laying and walking around us much more fascinating.


I’m not sure if it was cool or creepy having them hanging around like this …


Posing with “Liberty Cap” in the background.


The spring that fed Liberty Cap and made it grow is now extinct.  One of my favorite facts was that one of those “terraces” is growing near the fort.  It is getting quite close to one of the historical homes and it is unknown which Yellowstone will try to preserve more … the natural terrace or the historical building.  I don’t know how fast that terrace grows, but they will have to decide in just a few years.


I wanted to see the “Roosevelt Arch.”  It is placed at the North Entrance of Yellowstone which was the original main entrance.  President Teddy Roosevelt laid the cornerstone in 1903 which is where it got its name.  It was a pretty impressive sight.


I really loved the mix of natural wonders and historical buildings that we saw this day.  It fed both of my passions!


And you can’t visit Yellowstone without the iconic Yellowstone sign picture.  Of course, my children are not always willing participants!


That’s better.


For all the selfies we take together, we had to get one by the sign as well …


And I thought this was pretty cool, too.  The halfway spot between the equator and north pole?  How could we not take a picture?  Bobby was asleep, so he missed out on this one.


Another selfie moment …


As we were driving (lots and lots of driving this day), we finally saw an actual bear in Yellowstone.  The boys did not think it was Yogi.


And that was our Yellowstone adventure.  I’m so glad we went.  I loved sharing it with the boys and creating those memories with them.  We will go back, probably not for several years, but we will go back.  We barely explored the park!


Renting the cabin was definitely the way to go.  It is called Neil’s Nest and is in Island Park.  The boys loved having all the space to explore and I liked the space inside – so much better than a hotel or tent!  We headed home Saturday morning.


It was a good family vacation!


Yellowstone Trip Day 4

August 30, 2016 on 8:29 am | In Uncategorized | By Cindy | No Comments | Add a comment

This was by far my favorite day.


We took the boys on a raft 5 miles down the Snake River.  It was mild and slow and absolutely delightful!


I loved the scenery.  I loved watching the boys learn to row.  I loved seeing otters, eagles, and a moose.


Kevin and I don’t necessarily get along when we are both trying to row in the same boat, but we made it work with the boys.  Bobby LOVED seeing the bald eagles.  And I loved hearing him say “bald eagle.”  Not just an eagle, “bald eagle.”


My favorite view of the day …


They were looking at this moose up ahead, but I was soaking in all five of my little people and Kevin making this memory together!


I don’t know that Bobby wanted to actually paddle, I think he just couldn’t resist the water!


At this point, Kevin was going on and on about all the fish in the water.  The boys were looking hard and would occasionally see some, but nothing like Kevin was going on about.  He’d be pointing to a whole school of fish and we’d maybe see one or two.  He was getting frustrated with us “blind” folks when he realized he was wearing polarized sunglasses.  Once he took them off, he realized that he was “blind” as well.  Ha!  It gave us a good laugh!


So once we got to the dock, he took the boys out to look for more fish – and he shared his sunglasses!


That afternoon was spent chilling at the cabin we’d rented.  It was right off of a national forest, so there was a fence, but plenty of room to climb on fallen trees and explore.  The boys chased squirrels and chipmunks and taught Bobby to call them “cute chipmunks” not just “chipmunk.”  Months later, he’ll still correct us if we try to call one a chipmunk and leave off the cute!


The boys found lots of these little frogs around the cabin.  They caught them and created a nice habitat for them to play in until Momma ruined the fun and made them put the frogs back in their real home.


We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  We told stories around the fire.  Ricky had a book about the “real ghost stories” of Yellowstone, so we shared some of those.  The boys were disappointed that they weren’t more spooky!

Here is just some cute sitting around the fire footage.  Nothing special.  Just real life us.

There you go.

Yellowstone Trip Day 3

August 29, 2016 on 9:48 am | In Uncategorized | By Cindy | No Comments | Add a comment

Our second day in Yellowstone National Park led us to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone section.  As we drove there, we only saw a bison here or there, no big migrating herds, but we did catch sight of a couple fluffy bottomed antelope.


Once we got to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, we drove to some view points to get our bearings.


If I remember right, that is the Lower Falls you can see behind us.  The landscape here was truly spectacular!


Then we loaded up our camel-baks (having learned our lesson from the day before) and took the boys along the South Rim Trail.


This was a 2+ mile trail that mostly followed the Yellowstone River.  It was still pretty early so we had the trail to ourselves.


At one point along the trail, we passed some powerful white water.  The rapids were strong and LOUD!  Apparently a little TOO loud for Bobby …


Kevin and numbers 2, 3, and 5 went on an out-cropping to get a better look at the rapids.


Numbers 1 and 4 held on for dear life!


As I watched these men of mine (trying not to think about them being swept away in the current), I had to marvel at this world.  I was filled with an immense gratitude.  I was grateful to live in this world; grateful to live so close to such a spectacular area; grateful to be able to show my boys amazing things like this; grateful my two year old knows that rapids in a canyon are really loud!


Kevin made me take a picture of this bird. Neither of us can remember why.  He likes to take pictures of birds.


After our hike and lunch and some more Yellowstone exploring, we stopped at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.  It is located just outside the West Yellowstone entrance and is a refuge for grizzlies and wolves that can no longer live in the wild.  It is a work in progress, but the boys loved being able to sit and watch these animals so close.


Ricky could have sat and watched the prairie dog display for days and Bobby was all about the different wolves.


I thought the wolves were pretty cool myself.


Especially when they all started howling.  That was probably my favorite part – the howling!  It makes me smile!  At least it makes me smile when I know the wolves are not hunting me.  If I were in the wild and heard that same howl, I’m not so sure what I’d think!


We also got to see the grizzlies get fed.  It was pretty fun watching them forage for the produce under and around rocks where the keepers had hidden it.  There was a class of sorts we went to where they taught us what to do if a bear is chasing or attacking you.  Pretty much, you protect your face and torso and pray – lots of praying!


A quick pass through the gift shop, complete with a picture on this couch!  The boys really wanted to bring it home with us.  Sorry, kids, no room in the suburban!


Dinner at Pete’s Rocky Mountain Pizza – good pizza, good bread, good company.


And there is another day.

Yellowstone Trip Day 2

August 28, 2016 on 2:48 pm | In Uncategorized | By Cindy | No Comments | Add a comment


Our second day of travel led us straight to Yellowstone National Park … and into a 20 minute delay as we waited for this herd of bison to travel wherever they were going.


It was a big herd and they don’t move very quickly.


They were all around our car – popping up on each side!  Kevin was very strict about the staying up of windows (except when I wanted a picture) because they were close enough that it was easy to feel tempted to pet one!


This was our day to focus on the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone.


Thanks to Old Faithful’s predictability, we knew we had some time, so we started a hike up to an Old Faithful overlook.


It was chilly when we started and we underestimated the boys’ thirst – should have given them their camelbaks!  But the view from the top was delightful!


That’s Old Faithful not going off off behind us …


We tried to time our hike back down the hill so that we would get to Old Faithful when it was about to go off.  However, there was a “+/- 10 minutes” warning on the posted sign.  As we got to the bottom of the trail, it turned so that we couldn’t see the geyser location any more.  I made the boys run just in case the geyser was -10 minutes!  We made it!   This is the beginnings of Old Faithful’s eruption behind Kevin and me …


She picked up some more power…


As the crowd was waiting, it seemed that there was an unwritten rule that everyone had to be very quiet.  Rusty didn’t read that rule.  He babbled and babble and gabbed and gabbed.  I believe it was after he said, “I know a trick that gangsters could do …” that I told him to count to 100 in his mind and not use his voice.  That may have gotten a chuckle from the people surrounding us!


Here she is going full force in this picture with Ricky.  Now all five boys can say they’ve seen Old Faithful erupt!


We followed the boardwalk around the hot springs area there at Old Faithful area.


Some of these springs were crystal clear…


And some were bubbling.  At each one Bobby would point and say, “bath tub!”


Rusty can always find something to do … even if it is chipping away at a log railing after turning it into a seat.


Love in Yellowstone!


In touristy areas, you often find funny signs.  At a pit stop, Kevin and I both took a picture of this particular sign, in our respective bathrooms, to make sure the other saw it.  Bathroom sign picture taking … a sure sign of love!


Ricky happened to look down at a patch of clover as we were walking by, and spotted himself a 4 leaf clover.  He held on to those leaves for the rest of the day!


Even in a place as busy as Yellowstone, you can find a quiet place for lunch.  We found these picnic tables and the boys were in heaven exploring while I made lunch.


Kevin may have needed to answer to the explorer in him as well…


I sure love adventuring with my men!


See.  I was loving it!


After lunch, we stopped at a few more hot spots.


The colors were dazzling and the smell was stinky.


And, boys being boys, we had to talk about how scalded and burned they would be if they fell in to on of these hot springs.  Thankfully, there had recently been a story in the news about a man who had fallen in and his body was never recovered.  It made for good fodder for “stay on the trails or else.”


They really didn’t like the stinky steam though.


Just one nice picture with all my boys.  That’s all I wanted.  Instead I get Ninja Billy, Nose-picker Bobby, and who knows what’s going on with Tommy.  Good thing that’s how I love them!


It was a really good day, but a bit long for the Small Fry.  He didn’t nap during any of our driving and all the walking just wore him out.  At our last stop, Kevin hefted him onto his shoulders to speed up our slow parade.  Kevin then called out to me, “He’s gone limp!”


He wasn’t actually asleep, just very, very relaxed.  Cute little thing!


And there you go!

Yellowstone Trip Day 1

August 7, 2016 on 9:39 pm | In Uncategorized | By Cindy | No Comments | Add a comment

I had never been to Yellowstone and really wanted to take the boys on that adventure.  We decided that this was the year!  We made a week of it and left on Memorial Day.

We started our trip with a stop by the cemetery to say hi to Dad.


Yellowstone is about 4 hours away but our boys are good travelers so that’s no biggie.


We decided to break up the drive anyway and spend our day at Bear World.


Bear World is in Rexburg, Idaho.  They have a lot of rescued animals there from Yellowstone and the surrounding areas – animals that just wouldn’t make it in the wild.


Part of Bear World is a drive-thru-don’t-unroll-your-windows-no-stopping park.  You get to drive through the animals’ habitat.


There are goats, elk, bison, a white elk, grizzlies, and brown bears.  Probably a few others that I’ve forgotten.  It was really neat to just watch the animals … living!


The boys thought it was pretty darn cool, too!


Another part of the park is kiddie rides.  


Bobby especially loved riding the circus train…


I really liked these giant spinning bears (think Disneyland Tea Cups)!


I liked it so much I video taped it … HERE


The little roller coaster had a limit – 7-8 people max!


The rise and drop ride had 6 seats – perfect for me to catch a picture of my brave men!


There was a lot of giggling!


Bobby loved steering the car…


Love these boys!


Wild riders …


Zoom, zoom…


It was all silliness but a good time!


Another part of the park is petting zoo.  There were 2 one-day old fauns for us to look at – but don’t get too close!


You don’t get to hang on a deer very often!


I loved the pot belly pig!


Bobby thought it was pretty interesting.


Hi, family!


Ricky just sat and watched the faun most of the time.  He seemed fascinated by these babies.


Bear World was winning the boys over!


It wasn’t too crowded, even though it was Memorial Day.


And their French Fries were shaped like BEARS!  Tasty and adorable!


Another part of the park was a viewing area of the baby bears.


They were absolutely adorable!


They played and rolled and tumbled – I could have watched them all day!


We drove through the safari area a second time.  I would definitely recommend a stop by Bear World to anyone…


Because I thoroughly enjoyed myself!


After getting our fill of bears, we continued on to Island Park and the cabin that we rented.  However, we forgot to stop at the grocery store, so we didn’t really have dinner food.  We decided to try out Connie’s Restaurant.  


The boys had some yummy spaghetti and meatballs and I think only one had chicken fingers!


The food was quite good and it seemed like the locals frequented the place.  I don’t think they get a lot of kids in there, but they seemed pretty patient with ours.  We even got complimented on how well behaved they were.


They are pretty awesome in my book!