Joyful Liberation

Joyful Liberation

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yellowstone: August 2011



We had an AMAZING trip to Yellowstone last week! It had been 4 years since our last trip and definitely time to get back.


On our way.  We love our RV...aka..Maude :)

As soon as we entered the park a Bison was walking on the road :)


We decided to pull over and tour the hot pots and geysers on our way to the campsite...












Then we stopped to see Old Faithful....

Willow wanted to cuddle the ground squirrels...




Once we got to our site at Bridge Bay, Mara and Christian started fire for smores :)

Dinner of fajitas and smores for dessert....






The next day was full of adventure....

First stop...Fishing Bridge.  We needed to go there so Willow could find out why you can no longer fish off of the bridge for her Junior Ranger program...in case you are wondering, it is because it is a nesting ground for the trout and they were being over fished by all the fisherman.




We saw some HUGE fish in the clear water....

And Willow found the babies in the grasses :)





Then we are off to Hayden Valley to check out the big animals....


A little bubbling hot pot...



Bison hanging out by the mud volcano area...

This is the Dragons Mouth hot spring.  It gushes jets of steam, while making gurgling and growling sounds.  A very cool place to start our tour of the Mud Volcano trail area.



So many colors and textures on the rocks near the Dragon's Mouth Spring.






This may look like a macro shot of mud cracks, but it's not.... yes, they are cracks in dried mud, but each scale is 10-12 inches across and the cracks were 6-8 inches deep.  They were quite impressive.










After leaving the Hayden Valley area, we made our way up to the Canyon area and were greeted by this small herd of Elk.


We pulled over at the Brink of Upper Falls and saw this rainbow over the water...Yellowstone is so magical!





So many kids were carrying their DSi's...not because they were checked out and playing games but because they were snapping photos :)


Then we went to the other side of the canyon where you could see the lower falls and to do a hike to Lily Pad Lake :)










It was so quiet and so peaceful here....






Then Mara had to totally freak me out....



Willow got a "Buddy Bison" from the gift shop...you are supposed to take pictures of him at different sites and upload it to a website :)  All the proceeds help the park.

Back on the road...
More Bison :)




Back at camp, Mara entertained us, while David cooked up some burgers...

David, Josh, Willow and I rode our bikes down to the down to the dock at Bridge Bay and saw the bats flying over the water eating bugs :)


The full moon was incredible! We walked down to a ranger program about the wolves in Yellowstone and it was so bright!

The next day we headed out again with another stop in Hayden Valley...




We climbed up on top of Maude and the Bison surrounded us.  It was so cool! They were so active!



Then it was time to check out the Sulfur Cauldron...


More Bison on the road :)




Mara. Christian and Willow rode in the loft with a great view of the animals...




Future game designer...lol

Off to Norris Geyser Basin...




Wolf footprint...












Goofy kids :)

One tired Willow and one very sweet Josh :)






Bear footprints! A ranger pointed them out to us :)













Then we were on our way to cool off in the Firehole river...

We had so much fun swimming!






The next day, David woke up early and just started driving while we were "sleeping" lol  we all woke up and got to see the fog on the water and the beautiful sunrise.  We were headed up to Mammoth to soak in the Boiling river...








Along the way we stopped to see the Canyon...



Cute little ground squirrels :)



In Mammoth, the elk were hanging outside the hotel :)





we had breakfast on the 45th Parallel :)

Then it was off to soak where the Boiling river meets the Gardner river...










A short hike in and you are in a magical pool!  But don't get too close to those waterfalls! You would have 30 sec to get out before you suffer 3rd degree burns! However, that boiling water mixing with the freezing snow melt water is perfect! Just got to find that perfect balance :)






After soaking we had some lunch in Mammoth and then headed back to the Norris area.  We pulled over at this meadow and hung out for a few hours.  We were all exhausted from getting up at dawn...we are so not morning people!








little trout :)








The we headed back to Canyon to turn in Willow's Junior Ranger program.

The next day we were off again to find some adventure...

So happy and free, she LOVED Yellowstone so much!






We pulled over to watch these elk and heard them calling to each other.  The baby had been separated from its mom and wanted her.  It was the sweetest thing!  Check out the video below :)






It started raining and we needed gas, so we headed into West Yellowstone.  We stopped and grabbed some shots at the sign :)

The sun came out and we headed back to the Firehole River for some swimming...





After swimming we headed to Midway Basin to check out the Grand Prismatic Spring...






The colors here are AMAZING!



















Then is was back to Old Faithful and to check out the lodge...













Our last morning...all snuggled together :) No,we did not sleep like this but we used to! I miss those days when my kids were wee ones and we all slept in one big bed ( a king and 2 twins pushed together on the floor ;) ) They grow up so fast.  I am so glad we can still get these family vacations in before they all leave!  Oh, and Aspen...next time you are so coming! ;)
Check out our videos...

Hayden Valley...
 

The baby Elk..you can hear them calling to each other, so sweet :)
 

David, Josh and Willow swimming in the Firehole River :)



'Till next time...

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I am a mom to 5 amazing kids and married to my best friend and love of my life. We co-habitate with 1 cat, Asha, 2 dogs, Maggie May and Juniper Wren, a Chinchilla names Ozwald, and a Hamster named Fat Panda. We have lived in Salt Lake City for 13 years by way of Tennessee and Oregon. I love to be with my kids, knit, run, craft, sew, paint,travel, hike and play :) I love our crazy life!