Friday, August 7, 2015

Yellowstone National Park

Checking in after a little vacation from blogging! Sorry to all my social network friends who I have been ignoring. This summer has been crazeballz, and it was good to turn off the devices for a few days. We recently took a trip to Montana for a dear friend's wedding, and decided to throw in a trip to Yellowstone at the tail end of wedding season (I still have one more this weekend, then I am officially done). I am happy to report we are still on a high from our time away from it all. Despite the ridiculously cold nighttime temperatures, I am pretty sure this was one of our best vacations yet.

Since we tent camped and made most of our food on camping stoves, we really did not end up spending too much money on our adventure. I bought us a new tent and a few camping supplies for the trip, but I consider these as lifetime investments, and not trip-specific expenses. We also borrowed a lot of supplies from my dad, who is an REI hoarder.

Unfortunately, sometime between our attendance at the wedding and our arrival in Yellowstone, my camera finally decided to crap out. For this reason, I did not get many great photos of our adventures, not for lack of trying.

Shortly after I snapped this shot, a grizzly bear stood up and started walking toward us. I visited Yellowstone at least once a year as a child, and the one thing I learned was that if you stare long enough at any one spot in the park, eventually something magical will happen. Of course, I am a nerd and think seeing animals in their natural habitat is magical, so maybe the average human doesn't care.

Our friends H&E joined us for the first few nights of our stay. It was good to have moral support from others enduring the below freezing nighttime temperatures, and their presence was oh-so fun around a campfire. And Everett loved having extra people around who were willing to throw rocks in the water with him.

I'll pay anyone money to find me a replica of this stuffed sheep.

I mean, this was the view from our campsite. Who cares about the cold when you have this view?

We were all laughing because this deer clearly regretted her decision to walk across the hot terrain. She was literally tiptoeing.

Jeff, Everett, and I hiked up the hillside to watch Old Faithful go off from a different perspective. It was nice to be away from the crowds, but a little rough going up the mountain with a giant toddler on our backs.

This little guy was Everett's favorite part of the hike. Ev could not stop laughing at him (her?).

We also caught a few other geysers going off, and took many normal-for-us pictures.

My favorite geothermal site in the park would have to be the Grand Prismatic. It. Is. Gorgeous.

Someone lost their umbrella...

I love science.

After H&E left, we had some other special visitors arrive in Yellowston. My dad and step-mom came to help us adventure a little more.

We booked a private boat tour and went fishing on the lake for a couple hours. The experience was worth every penny. "Everett" caught 2 fish, but we had to throw them back to keep the native fish population safe. The fishing restrictions in the park are very green. You even have to use special hooks so as not to harm the fish in case you catch one that needs to be thrown back.

Here we are with our awesome captain, an accountant-turned-mountainman.

For anyone tent camping in the park and looking for a break from camp food, the Old West Dinner Cookout in Tower-Roosevelt is an excellent splurge. We opted to take the wagon ride, rather than horses for three reasons: 1) we had a 2-year-old; 2) riding in those horse lines is boring (I always prefer private trail rides); 3) it is significantly cheaper.

The meal is an all you can eat steak dinner with incredible vegetarian-friendly sides. The cornbread muffins with butter and honey were my personal favorite. Yummmm. There is a little stream running through the area, and Everett had a jolly time splashing around before and after dinner. I didn't take too many pictures of him doing this activity, as I was lamenting my crappy camera performance at that particular moment. Despite my personal strife, it was another experience worth every penny.

I believe the main reason our trip was such a success was due to the fact that I invested a lot of time making packing and to-do lists. I even took 2 days off work specifically to make last minute purchases and get things at home in order. I think we only forgot one thing: a tablecloth for the campsite - but I'm also not 100% sure I actually bought one...I just remember seeing it on the shelf at the General Store...and it wasn't even necessary. Too bad I can't find the receipt.

That is all for now. Hopefully you will be hearing from me about a new camera soon! And thank goodness for the weekend! Phew, what a week.

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