Day 2 in Yellowstone and we met up with the rest of the family at Fishing Bridge.
I love the fact that as soon as we got together the cousins would hook up and have fun no matter where we were (even if they were just complaining together about more sightseeing)
They seemed to not be able to resist the snow that was piled in random places. It was plenty warm outside but there were patches of snow everywhere. In fact the first night Steve's family got to their campsite they had to spend 1/2 hour digging their tent space out from under the snow!
The kids dug into any snow bank they found for impromptu snow fights.
While we were here Taylor lobbed a good one across the road and had the misfortune of hitting Liesl square in the face (unintentionally) she was not happy about it. Luckily he was able to smooth it over...then she admitted that she deserved it for messing around with Jared and accidentally pushing him knee deep into mud the day before....yep good cousin bonding time.
We took the kids into the visitor's center while the guys were getting information about a good trail to take in the area.
- One trail was closed due to bears...but it was a hard one so that was OK.
- 1/4 mile trail pretty but wimpy
- 2 mile trail longer but we would get to see more. We picked this one even though the ranger said there was possibly a mother bear and cubs on this trail and a charging Buffalo.
Somehow on the way over Steve changed his mind to do the short trail.
(with the bear attack we heard about a few days after we got back this probably was a good choice)
With all the snow came water...so this log was going over the trail to keep us out of it. A couple of us ended up with a foot in the water anyway...
Then we got these guys just looking for trouble...I was waiting for a funniest video offering with a broken log and teens in the water or something...but we moved on before anything exciting happened.
Made it to the water
Now hiking back again...All of our eyes are closed in this picture ;)
We met a nice family on the trail who took this for us. I thought it was cute that her son had what looked like a "bear bracelet" on. It had bells on it so a bear could hear us coming.
After our hike we went to the Bridge Bay Marina for lunch. The rest of the family had an advantage at meal times...they had their camping food with them wherever they went so bears wouldn't get it back at camp.
We were at the mercy with whatever was available...so we had a hot pocket and burrito in the gas station like marina since their "sandwich shipment" didn't come in the day before. I asked when they would get more "next week" they said.
After lunch we rented boats for an hour to go and cruise around Yellowstone Lake. We were considering the "normal" lake cruise but this ended up being much more fun, cheaper and we could do it when we wanted to.
We had to get our instructions...
Then divide up boats. We decided that there would be 2 fast boats and then one slow boats for those who wanted to go slow....Jeff and I ended up with the younger kids...on a "fast boat"
Jared and Jarek took turns driving the teens on the other "fast boat"
That left Dale, Mo, Steve and Tahna on the "slow" boat.
Luckily the marina gave Jeff a map of the out of bounds areas, we were only supposed to go on part of the lake.
The older cousins loving it on their own...
The adults only boat trying to take pictures of everyone else.
It was the best way to explore the lake. So fun! The kids probably thought it was one of the highlights of the trip.
Dale's boat...the "slow boat" ended up being the fast, crazy, almost tipped everyone into the water trying to go over the wakes boat...or so I hear.
Fortunately we all made it back safe and sound.
Next we thought we drive up to see some more geysers. On the way we stopped at this rapids....
The rapids were great in and of themselves but even better was the cutthroat trout that we saw jumping up the waterfalls to get to their mating grounds.
Just like salmon they would jump up the waterfalls to get back to where they needed to go.
We stood there for a long time watching them. You can see one guy's tail out of the water next to the rock...they would hang out there for a bit at the bottom of the falls and then every once in awhile you would see one jump, sometimes they would make it and sometimes they wouldn't but it was amazing to watch.
Got to our destination...you can smell we found the right place...you can't tell the kids love the smell...
Walking up to Dragon's Mouth...
This thing would spout and sputter right out of the side of the hill, spraying and gurgling I guess it used to spray as far as the side walk but now it's calmed down.
It reminded me of Pete's Dragon, I could imagine him just inside the rocks trying to scare us away from his lair.
All part of the experience.
Interesting how perspective changes things and you can see so much more by just stepping back....
This just looks like a crack in the mud
Then you realize it used to be a much larger body of water steaming up through the soil...in fact this used to be a volcano shape that one day blew it's top off and this is what's left...
Step back even farther and you can appreciate that some of those admiring this wonder are afraid they will lose their lunch.
We got a tip that a Buffalo was close to the trail on the top of this hill so we quickly got going to see if we could catch a closer glimpse of one.
At the top of the hill Jacob was getting tired and kept complaining "Can't we got back now???" "Why are we up here anyway"
I tried to explain to him that we wanted to see the Buffalo...."Where is it??" "I don't see it" he asked
It was right in front of us.
"OHHHH" he whispered.
He was very close to the walk way so we just tried to be nonchallant and walk by him (if you are too much in their way they can charge you).
Look at that winter coat coming off in sheets!
This guy kept grazing closer and closer to the walkway.
When this guy in the tan shirt got close to him he looked up and grunted...I think we were all sensing a potential charge. He walked by and everyone stopped walking until he lumbered across the walk way and made his way
To the other side...
Where he could roll in the dirt in peace.
These guys were huge up close!
So happy to be here!! :)
I loved that everything had names...most of which went along with some feature about it.
This hillside had a bunch of downed trees.
I love to read the signs because I didn't think too much about them until I read that there was an earthquake in 1994 that made the ground too hot and it cooked all the trees and they fell over. Crazy, never would've known.
One more stinky stop as were driving back to our places.
Stinky in the smelly sense that is :)
We were off to drive to our next hotel by Lake Lodge while the rest of the family went back to camp. On the way we saw this herd of Buffalo...
Complete with cute baby calves. Then the park ranger had to come to break up this traffic jam.
Checked into our Lake Lodge cabin. It didn't look like much on the outside but the inside had just been renovated and they were actually the nicest rooms we stayed at in the park, despite the fact there was not Internet or cell service anywhere in the area (drove Jeff a little crazy)...again it got us away from the mosquitoes.
Since there was still daylight after our cafeteria supper we loaded up on bug spray and thought we'd go for a walk.
We found these in a tree...at first I thought it was some kind of witch hit a tree decoration in the wrong season...or 1/2 an elf costume....oooohh then I realized they were probably waders for fishing!
Very glad we followed these signs...so our hike consisted of a walk around the cabins.
Ashley found an Ashley size walking stick....
and Taylor found one for himself too...somehow these conveniently got left behind though :)
We kept passing this "snow cave" on our way in and out so Ashley had to come check it out.
Probably some other kids project.
Let's get back so we can go to bed and get ready for tomorrow.