I have been anxious to finally share these images from our recent trip to Yellowstone National Park this summer. This year we wanted to do something on the lower end of the budget scale and camping was the plan. My husband has always wanted to go to Yellowstone. I never really had the desire, but once I started doing a little research, I became pretty dang excited. We decided to drive half way, stay the night in a hotel, and drive the rest of the way the next day. It was about 12 hours total of driving and made much more manageable by breaking it up and letting the kids play with their tablets. We didn’t have many specific plans except to eat dinner at the Old Faithful Lodge and camp. We made reservations for both of those things months in advance because spots fill up fast. We got a campsite in the Bridge Bay campground right near the Yellowstone Lake. There were lots and lots of people at the campsite which was good and bad, good because if a bear came in the middle of the night (like one did) then we would have less of a chance of getting eaten. Two of our good friends met us up there and camped with us as well.
Half of the time I took photos with my phone because of convenience and less than ideal lighting situations. I haven’t even uploaded those yet, so some of the stuff we did doesn’t show in photographs. The first example of that is our first full day there we rented a boat and rode around Yellowstone lake. It was serene and beautiful. Not many people on the lake at all and we could see some thermal features close to the shore. Even when you are there it is hard to wrap your head around how big the park and the lake are. The park is bigger then some small states I am sure.
I think my favorite things at the park were the thermal pools. I was a little freaked out before we arrived because there are more injuries and deaths caused by these then anything else in the park. Thankfully the boardwalks are pretty safe and if you stick to the trail you are not in danger. We took a walk around the West Thumb area and there we saw many of the prettiest thermal pools. Some have steam coming out of them, some don’t. Some look pretty shallow and some look like they go on forever. The colors correlate to the temperatures of the pools. When you are there it really feels like you are in some alien land.
A rare picture of the four of us. Thats what you get when you have your friends on vacation with you.
I didn’t realize how many people were at the park until we got to the parking lot of Old Faithful. Cars upon cars upon cars and so many people about. Old Faithful was going off about every 40 minutes when we arrived so we lucked out and saw it twice while going to and from dinner. We lucked out the first time because Beehive geyser was going off not far in the distance at the same time as Old Faithful. It was actually bigger and longer. We were told to eat at the Old Faithful Lodge. Unfortunately, we all chose the buffet and were not too impressed. The regular menu items looked great and next time I will chose something off of that for sure.
After it rains there is a misty fog above the roads. The picture didn’t do it justice.
Poor Madi after our Lightening Mountain experience. We arrived to the Artists Paint Pots feature which I really wanted to see. Most of the features are right off the side of the road once you park. Artists Paint Pots is not, it is a 1.1 mile loop. We arrived to the parking area as everyone seemed to be leaving. The clouds were starting to look dark like a storm was coming. We decided (or mainly my husband) that it was fine and we had enough time. So all 4 of us, and some of us wearing short sleeved t-shirts, took off for the walk. As soon as we were just feet away from the feature, the rain came and then the hail and it was crazy. The hail was hitting us hard, the kids were freaking out, lightening was super close, and I was pretty terrified that we would get eaten by a bear or struck by lightening. We had to run, each of us holding a kid, and make loud noises to keep away the animals. Everyone was soaked and muddy but we made it out alive. Dave said it was his favorite part of the trip and he nicknamed it Lightening mountain for the kids.
Such pretty valleys and thermal stuff going on at every turn.
One of the prettiest sunsets I have ever seen.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone was another amazing site. I am scared of heights and didn’t spend much time looking out at it but it was beautiful from what I could see.
My wolfy kid. She loves wolves and was howling for me.
You will start to notice a trend that Mylo looks poutty faced in many of these photos. I am pretty sure he had a great time though.
One of my big plans for the trip was to take the kids pictures for 2016. They have both turned a year older and I have yet to do their pictures. I got them camping kind of shirts, let them get all dirty, and then tried to take their pics. It didn’t work out too great and they didn’t cooperate much. I forgot how hard it is to photograph my kids especially the both of them together. So, lesson learned, I need to actually carve out time just for their photos for the year and just take what I can get on vacations. I do love that they have binoculars in these photos. If you go to Yellowstone, bring binoculars. Some of those animals stay really really far away and you will only see a moving little speck if you don’t have binoculars.
Both my kids decided to fully enjoy the camping lifestyle and hang out barefoot whenever they could. It made me cringe a little at times, but hey they got some good grounding time in.
Near our campsite there is an amphitheater where they do nightly shows. We arrived early and the kids acted on their very own stage. I am pretty sure it was their favorite part of the trip. Don’t let Mylo’s grouch face fool you, these were taken before we let them free.
At Yellowstone we didn’t see as many animals as I thought we would. We saw a coyote, a bear that looked like a speck, an elk, wolves which I didn’t technically see, and some bison. The kids really really wanted to see more animals so we stopped at Bear World in Rexburg Idaho on our way home. We saw bears, baby bears, a moose (my fav from the trip), and more. Great way to satisfy the kids.
We made a few pit stops on the way home and visited some friends and relaxed in our nice comfy hotel room after nights of sleeping in a tent. The kids were all about that Pokemon too. It was crazy how many people in Idaho and Utah we would see of all ages playing as we were out and about.
I am so glad that we went to Yellowstone and I would love to go back. We saw about half of the park from the car, including a few walks and hikes to see features. Next time I would love to go up to the areas we missed. There is so much beauty to be seen there it truly is an amazing place.