Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oh, the places we went {Our trip out to Yellowstone}

 We got back Sunday night from our trip out to Yellowstone. I took a bunch of pictures but we have been to busy getting ready for the fair (which started today so everything is now dropped off), doing laundry and catching up around the house to really be able to do any blogging.

   I debated on whether you all really wanted to see tons of trip photos or not but decided since this blog also serves as a journal for me that I would go ahead and share a bunch. If you aren't interested then you can skip these posts. :-)

So in order of occurrence, here are some of the places we went to and things we saw (and this is just the first installment of pictures - I will have other posts on animals, flowers and other things.

We drove west much of the time on Interstate 94. It was a pretty drive. One of the highlights of the drive was going through the badlands of North Dakota. I didn't really get any good pictures as we didn't stop, but we did enjoy the drive through and hope to go explore there more some day.

 We traveled mostly on Sunday, getting up early so that we could drive and then go to church in Fargo. After church we drove to Billings where we spent the night at a hotel.

  On Monday we needed to cross the Beartooth  mountains to get over to Yellowstone. It was very beautiful and steep. There were lots of switchbacks on the road. We enjoyed that drive very much even though it took longer than we had planned.

 Part of the reason it took longer was because there was road construction. It caused us to stop for around 15- 20 minutes up near the top. It was by a beautiful lake and we enjoyed our stop thoroughly.

  When we arrived at Slough Creek Campgrounds in Yellowstone Ken's parents were there waiting for us. The had come in from Nevada. They had arrived the day before so they could get up early and get a camping spot in the unreservable campgrounds. They thought they had been able to snag the nicest camping spot in Yellowstone and there were others that agreed with them. We were blessed!

   We ate lunch quickly and set up and then I snagged a very quick nap and we took off to do a bit of hiking near the campground. We were right near a river, the mountains, trees and the plains (which were full of animals) so it was perfect.
 On our little hike we found a huge rock that was split in half.
 Megan led the way to the top with her granddad. (The others may have beat her if they hadn't been so distracted with climbing every big rock that got in their path.
Sharyl, Terry, Ken and I
 The next day (Tuesday) we drove over to Mammoth Hot Springs. It was a smelly but totally cool to see some of the weirder things that God has made.
 Terry had read about a trail that took us off the beaten track and away from the crowds and we found that very fun to hike on and be able to get right up close to some hot springs. This one was right along a ridge.
 Mara and I loved observing lots of twisted trees.

 This cone shaped rock was rather interesting. It really looked like a head from some angles.
 After going through the visitors center (which was interesting) we headed a couple of miles north to where the boiling river goes into another (cooler) river.
 We were able to wade in the cooler river which was now warmed by the Boiling River. It was a neat experience for the kids to feel naturally warmed water.
 The picture above shows the Boiling River (rather green) coming in.
 On Wednesday we decided to drive down to see Old Faithful. It was a lengthy drive but fun scenery and a good time to visit with Ken's parents. It is nice that our van has 8 seats so we could all ride together. On the way down we stopped to see fumaroles, boiling pools and other such fun.
 We sat and waited for Old Faithful to erupt. We were happy to find some logs in the shade to sit on and Sharyl told the kids a story and Ken pulled out cards so He, his Dad and I could play spades while we waited. (Ken's family loves games.)
 On our way back we stopped at Lake Village on Yellowstone Lake and Ken treated us to Ice Cream cones and the cute little general store.
 On our way back we stopped at a boiling mud pit which a bison was enjoying.
 The Dragon's Mouth was also there. Very cool to see evidence of the power of God!
 On Thursday we decided to go see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This was my favorite day trip. The views were beautiful!!! We also got a nice amount of exercise as we took a trail that had steps that led down into the canyon and then of course back up. I believe it was around 300 steps not counting the sloped areas on the path. We also hiked along a trail for over 4 miles. The first half of the trail that went up to Artist point was full of views of the Falls and also full of quite a few people - then for the next part of our hike we were on a lesser known trail that was fairly quiet.
 The kids loved posing next to the beautiful scenery and asking me to take their picture.

We tried to get a good family shot on this trip but that is much easier said than done!
 On the second part of the hike were found a lot of eco-thermal features that had no fences or warning signs around them. We would just start smelling something and there it would be. Very fun!! At "Clear Lake" there was a bubbling mud pool right on the edge and other bubbling (boiling??) areas in the lake.
 After getting back to camp we tried a bit of "swimming" in the very cool and swift river near our site.
  On Friday the destination was to go to the top of Mount Washburn. The trail we took was around 3.5 miles and 1,400 feet elevation up (and then of course the same going down). It was a nice trail though much busier than I had expected. There were beautiful flowers and some fun views.
 Megan and Jonathan felt really tired off and on (Aaron just kept going and going like the energizer bunny) but they always had more energy when the could do a little rock climbing. Regular snacks also helped them to keep going. A piggy back or shoulder ride for Megan helped some too.

 At the top the had a nice observation area. We were able to pick out the rode to our campsite which was twelve miles away and we could also see mountains that were 75 miles away.
 On Saturday we started our journey home again. We had a short day (just going to Billings again) so we had fun exploring in the Beartooth Mountains. The falls above were on that drive.
 While I took pictures of the falls, Ken and the kids headed to the other side of the road and started climbing. The kids just love doing that.
 The top of the pass was 10,900 feet - we choose to find a place we could climb a little higher and we were able to get up to 11,015 feet. It was rather chilly up there!
 Ken and Terry loved being able to know exact elevation and where they were using their GPSs.
 We got to play in the snow!
 Mara looked so neat picking wildflowers on the mountainside.
Jonathan sheltered from the wind and climbing again! I was reminded of how God is our Rock who is always strong and always a shelter for us!


All in a Day said...

Thank you for sharing! Emily has been talking about wanting to go to Yellowstone since this past school year.

Maryann said...

Beautiful pictures!! I can't wait to take my kids there one day!

Jackie said...

What a fun trip and what fabulous scenery. God's creation sure is awesome. Thank you for sharing. That is a trip I would love to take. I bet camping made it very frugal.


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