This is a long-delayed blog post for our trip to Yellowstone NP. Since this trip we have been extremely busy with coaching football and a new addition to the family (welcoming our new little hiker, Waylon Elijah).
Yellowstone was extremely beautiful and definitely lived up to the hype, both the good and the bad. Good, as in the beauty and scenery, bad as in all the people (and dumb people at that).
We made the trek up through Idaho and met up with Bill and April inside the west entrance at the Artists Paintpots. It was here we got our first whiff of the sulfer smell of Yellowstone. I could not believe how beautiful the geysers were in person.
(note, I've pretty much tossed out the idea that I could be a photographer with a big fancy camera, so I'm just using my iphone camera and at times, the Hipstamatic camera app, which I love).
The first hot pot we saw at the Artists Paintpots
The bubbly paint pots
The kids checking out the paint pots
Looking below on the boardwalk and back toward the parking lot
Caiden at the paint pots
Working our way back to the car and stopping for a little picture
After the paint pots, we headed further into Yellowstone to meet up with Bill and April at the Norris Geyser Basin and did the loop hike there. Again, a lot of cool features and obviously a lot of stinky geysers.
Lots of dead trees around the geysers. Kind of cool how they die off, but just stick around
Red colored pool
Bear paw tracks next to the boardwalk
Bailey did a lot of hopping off benches and rocks
Caiden and Lanik chilling along the trail. They lead the way
Approaching the visitor center another trail heads off in another direction
Daylight was fading so we headed to our campsites at Canyon Village. Upon setting up we proceeded to get POURED on by a big rain storm. We headed over to the visitor center to kill time eating and checking out the various shops. The rain eventually let up later and never came back (thankfully).
The next day I got up early and went over to get a picture of the Lower Falls from Lookout point to see the sunrise.
Same spot with the Hipstamatic lens
I ran back to camp to eat breakfast and we all headed over to the lower falls trail and worked our way down. The force of the waterfall is incredible while at the same time struck fear in me to no end (especially with my kids around). Looking at the falls from this point made me shiver thinking about accidentally falling in and knowing I'd have zero chance at survival.
Family picture taken by Bill Church
My portrait by Bill Church
Near the large falls along the yellowstone river there were a lot of buffalo hanging out
After the falls we headed up north to the Mammoth Hot Springs area. The drive was horribly long, but the views were unique and I'm glad we were able to go on up there.
The upper part of the mammoth hot springs trail
Snapped a pic of this cool formation on our way out of Mammoth
I really wanted this AWESOME tee shirt, but couldn't quite afford it, plus I'm probably not cool enough to wear it.
After getting back from Mammoth we headed back over to the lower falls of the Yellowstone river, but this time we went to the south side of the falls and did the Uncle Toms trail down the wet, steep stairs to the bottom of the falls. I loved this view of the waterfall
When we finally made it back up the trail to the parking lot we drove down to the Artist Point view area and snapped a pic of Caiden
The next morning I woke up early to take sunrise pictures with Bill, but since there were no clouds he opted to sleep in. I was up reading a book and could not fall back asleep, so I ran back over to Lookout point and tried to get a decent selfie, but the sun was so bright I couldn't open my eyes
I ran back to camp to help pack up so we could head on out to the grand daddy of the park: OLD FAITHFUL. Along our way there we stopped at Midway Geyser Basin. This was actually my favorite place of all. The colors were amazing here.
It was cool seeing the hot geyser above with the cool wind blowing the steam around while the geyser trickled down into the Firehole River
Heading up the trail
We left Midway Geyser area and headed to Old Faithful. This was obviously the most insanely crowded area, but we had to do it. There had to be a thousand people camped out every time the geyser spouted. It definitely was faithful in its spouting.
We saw a much higher gush than this, but I was tired of taking pictures at this point and got lazy
After all that madness we decided to ditch 99% of the people there and do a 1 mile hike (most of the people there were too lazy to get out of their car, let alone hike a mile to some other cool spots in the park) out to see the most awesome hot spring, Morning Glory
Caiden attempted to carry his sister in the Kelty carrier; it lasted about 20'
Family portrait by Bill Church
Another cool geyser on the way back toward the cars
We quickly left the mad house at Old Faithful and headed toward our campsite at Grant Village. On our way there we passed over the Continental Divide, so I took the opportunity to get a photo op
After getting set up we hiked down to Yellowstone lake to hike around a bit and take a couple of pictures. I failed to mention that all the water was high and all the rivers were running abnormally fast due to the major snowpack we experienced the previous winter. Yellowstone lake had buried a foot bridge in this area that you can't even see.
After our camp in Grant Village we packed up and prepared for the long drive back home. We opted to take the drive continuing south through Grand Teton NP, which was beautiful, but we did not have time to stop for pictures (that's another place I'd love to spend time at alone).
Over-all I'm glad I was able to see such beautiful scenery. I'd love to get into the backcountry a bit in this area someday, but not with kids as I can't stand the though of them being attacked by bears (side note; a week prior a man was killed by a bear where we first camped so it was a bit creepy). I'll be back to this park again someday, especially if it's a good down-time for tourists.