Back from Yellowstone

We went on vacation at the end of summer to Yellowstone National Park. I had never been to Yellowstone before, but my husband had gone with his family many, many, many (OK, you get the picture) years ago. When my husband went to Yellowstone, bears were a big problem. Or rather, the humans were the problem. He said the bears would approach the cars on the roads through Yellowstone and people would actually feed the bears out their car windows! The rangers have done a great job educating the public about the dangers of bears, and the garbage dumps have been removed from the park. So the bears no longer expect food from people and generally keep their distance. We didn’t see one wild bear. We had to visit them in the Grizzly and Wolf Center just outside the park.

We did see several bison. They look harmless enough but we were warned that they can charge, reaching speeds of up 30 mph. We also saw bald eagles, muledeer, coyotes, and assorted small animals.

We’re a pretty active family, so we went white water rafting one day on the Galatin River in Montana and another day we went on a six-mile, ranger-led hike to Fairy Falls in the park. Because we had a hearty group, the ranger took us a mile further to see a geyser. Yellowstone’s landscape is incredible – geysers, hot springs, fumeroles, and mud pots comprise the thermal features of the park. On the morning of the hike, we had to meet at 7:30 AM. Driving into the park at the hour with the temperature at about 38 degrees was amazing. Steam and mist filled the air and hung over meadows and rose from the rivers.

We stayed at a lodge in one of the cabins that ringed the lodge. The lodge occupied several acres of land that contained a pond and a river. We had a private hot tub on our back porch, which was great after a chilly day rafting on the river (one of our fellow rafters was a contestant on Season 9 of Survivor – I told her that made me feel better in case we got stranded on the banks of the Galatin – LOL). We also went to a rodeo one night, and my younger son chased a calf around the ring along with other 9 – 11 year olds to pull a ribbon off the calf’s tail. He and another boy were the strong favorites until they muscled each other out and a girl waltzed off with the prize! Our lodge had a place for a campfire too and all the ingredients for s’mores. So we went out, built out own campfire, and slapped together some s’mores.
Of course we waited around for Old Faithful to erupt. The rangers time it for every 60 to 90 minutes depending on how long the previous eruption lasted, and they post the approximate eruption time in the Old Faithful Inn. The Inn itself is also incredible, built in the early 1900's. There's an even older hotel by the lake, which was built in the 1890's.

We had a great time, and the boys were almost ready to go back to school yesterday. Me? I’m ready for another vacation!


Carly Carson said...

I've been waiting for this post! Great pictures. I love Yellowstone!!! I've hiked all over the park and I always worry about bears. I've seen both the black bear and the grizzly. Our car was charged once by a buffalo and we have some "nice" video of me shrieking while hubby coolly films it all.

Nicole North said...

Beautiful pictures!! I want to go to Yellowstone! Looks like fun!

Carol Ericson said...

Carly, our hike was my favorite part of the trip. We got waaay too close to a bison. We were behind a stone fence, and he walked right past us. My younger son made some noise, and the bison looked at him - yikes! We were ready to run down the stairs.

Nicole, I got so many great pictures, and I'm not even a very good photographer. The color of the sky was amazing and ever-changing because of the clouds and the mist.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

This is very cool, Carol! You make me want to go there really bad, I've been dreaming about it for years. Someday, I hope. :) Great pictures!

Carol Ericson said...

Stacey, Yellowstone really is a unique place. I'm hoping to hit the Smoky Mountains next summer when I to go Nashville for the conference.