What, you don’t have one?
Last Saturday we decided to take a break from moving prep to take the kids to Yellowstone one last time before we leave. That makes it sound like we went all the time. Sadly, even though Yellowstone is only about 80 miles away, we have only been one other time in the 3 1/2 years we have lived here. Mike and I have been to Yellowstone many other times and we did take our kids on a big trip here the year before we moved to Idaho, when we lived in Kentucky. When we first moved here we thought about getting an annual pass and going on weekends. That didn’t happen. Fortunately, we are not moving so far away that we can’t come back for a longer vacation. But here was our day:
We only had one day in Yellowstone so we planned to hit just a few things. We entered the park from the West Entrance and after getting stuck in a traffic jam thanks to a bald eagle we headed to Old Faithful first. We checked out the new visitors center (which was wonderful and educational) and ate a picnic lunch while waiting for Old Faithful to blow at the scheduled time. Then we checked out the Old Faithful Inn (because we love it and stayed there once- and want to again). We decided to skip the other geysers in that area to see other things like paint pots and the hot pools.
Our next area was the Canyons. We skipped the visitors center this time and went straight to the falls. We took a hike down to the lower falls which was a bit much for the kids (and for me and Mike who had to carry them a great deal) because it is switchbacks and very steep. But the view is amazing and you are standing right on top of the falls.
Finally, we choose to head to the Mammoth Hot Springs area. This was a place I hadn’t been for a long time and wanted to see. It did not disappoint. Also the park headquarters is there and the buidlings are cute. They also had a great fast food type restaurant where we ate dinner and had ice cream. By the time we walked through the hot springs it was about 9 p.m. and getting dark. It was also raining, but we loved it because the crowds were gone and we were prepared for rain.
We also saw lots of animals. We saw the usual bison and elk (we hardly slow down for those anymore). We did see the bald eagle welcoming visitors to the park. At the canyons we saw a nest of Osprey with chicks just 2 weeks old (at least that is what the ranger said). We didn’t see a moose- but that’s ok since we saw one recently at the Grand Tetons National Park. On the way to Mammoth we saw another group of cars parked and figured it was an animal but we were surprised when just 50 feet off the side of the road we saw a grizzly bear!! Never in my life have I or Mike seen a bear in Yellowstone. It was exciting to see. We didn’t take a picture, just slowed down the car and looked for a few minutes. The kids were given a paper at the park entrance with animals and birds to look for in the park. They found a lot of them but they were excited to check bear off the list.
It was well past dark when we started driving back to the West Entrance. The kids were worried that we were going to be locked in the park. That was not the case, of course. As we watched the rain come down, I was glad we weren’t camping out like so many other visitors. We were able to drive home and sleep in our beds. That won’t happen the next time we go to Yellowstone.