Monday, June 26, 2017

Yellowstone Day 5

We love staying in these cabins at the Tetons. 
On our final day of the Yellowstone trip, we slept in a bit. We had to pack up our cabin and turn in the Junior Ranger booklets from the Tetons. Then we set off on our favorite Teton hike, Moose Ponds. We did this hike two years ago and spotted a moose and her year old calf, and since moose and beaver were our final two animals to see for blackout on the Bingo Sheet, we were pretty hopeful.
This ranger was so cute with the boys as he went over their Junior Ranger books.
We made it to the pond, and there was a moose! She was standing across the pond munching grass. We walked a little farther, and a young male was standing in the pond not 40 yards away. We could see his horns sprouting, and we got a lot of great photos. Then someone coming up the trail from the other direction mentioned they’d seen a beaver sitting on a rock. We hustled up around the corner and arrived just in time to see him slinking down through the bushes. The boys were so excited for a blackout! They were hugging and dancing. This really was a perfect trip. And we have a saying now: Moose Ponds never fails!
There are so many beautiful spots in the Tetons for pictures.
This hike starts right by Jenny Lake.  
We saw the mama moose first. 
Here is the young bull. You can see his antlers just starting to grow. 
The moose was just across the pond from us! 
We were able to get a really good look at the yearling. 
This is just after the boys were celebrating about seeing a beaver. I missed the hugging!
We saw a spotted towhee, too. 
When we turned around to head back down the trail, the moose was trotting through the water.  
Here you can see how he has half his winter coat still. 
Seth always "goes fishing" by water.  
We saw a Red Naped Sapsucker, which is a type of woodpecker.
Lots and lots of beautiful views.
After the hike we had a picnic lunch outside of the Jenny Lake Store. There isn’t anything else open there because of a huge construction project, but we found a bench and Mom made sandwiches. Then we started down toward Moose. We had one more stop in the park planned. We wanted to try a short drive called Schwabacher Road. The drive is only 1 mile, but it led to the most beautiful place in Grand Teton National Park. There was a short walk to a small beaver pond that was crystal clear. The boys spotted several frogs and Mom showed us a great blue heron. We wished we’d found this place sooner. It will definitely be on our future itineraries.
We can't believe we didn't know about this beautiful spot before. 
We spotted this Yellow-rumped Warbler.
And a blue butterfly that Seth was excited about.  
There were gorgeous looks at the mountains. The boys loved spotting frogs.
Here is one of the many frogs we saw.
We even asked someone for a family pic!
The big new adventure planned for yesterday was a ride up the Jackson Hole Tram. It was pretty expensive for our whole family to make the trip, but we decided it was worth it. We rode with Abby and Grandpa in the tram, which takes twelve minutes to rise almost 5,000 vertical feet. We crowded into the tram with up to 100 other people (it probably wasn’t quite that full). Then we left the summer-like 72 degree valley and went up. The actual ride was awesome! You zip up the mountain at 14 miles per hour. Each time you pass a support, there’s a little dip and you feel your stomach drop as the car sways back and forth. When we got to the top, we stepped out onto the snow and the temperature was only 54 degrees, but the wind made it feel colder than that! We were glad we’d taken jackets. We got out and walked around a little, and then we stopped for a waffle at 10,000 feet. There were three kinds, but none of them were very good. Still, we all had good time. The boys were most excited for a few snowball fights. In fact, we rode down, then back up, then back down again because we still had plenty of time before our last adventure.
This is the group riding the tram.
It's like riding the subway with a few benches, but mostly standing. 
There's Grandma, Stephanie and her two kiddos who didn't ride.
The views are beautiful as you ride up! 
Seth liked riding with Grandpa.
You can see the Tetons off in the distance. 
We made it to the top!
It was quite cold compared to the valley floor with tons of snow. 
Mom doesn't get too many pictures with her dad!
The kids were so excited. They were jumping and running everywhere. 
Seth attacked his dad with snow!
Dax had the same plan!
Dad decided to attack Mom. 
We walked out onto the snow a little bit. 
The waffles weren't nearly as good as we hoped at the price we paid,
but we can say we ate a waffle on top of the mountain. 
We were glad that Abby tagged along with us. 
Here we go back up the mountain.

One of our favorite places to go is always the Bar J Chuckwagon. Dad has been going to this show for about 20 years, and he got Mom hooked on one of our first trips. We love the cowboy dinner, but especially the cowboy music. Last night for a special treat, Babe Humphreys, the father of the Bar J even performed on stage. He’s 82, and we hadn’t seen him on stage in the last 18 years. It was a really fun night, and the boys love the show, too. We are so glad we can stay late to do their show and still get back to the Ferlan’s house in Idaho Falls before midnight.
Seth made me take about 10 shots until I got his scared face right. 
Grandma bought tickets for all the kids to ride the train.
Seth and Dax rode with these cousins.
Mark rode up front with Raymond.
We love going to the Bar J.
Here's the whole clan that came to the Bar J this year! 
Dax laughed and laughed. Mark did, too, but he was sitting behind me.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Yellowstone Day 4

We didn’t have to move cabins this morning, so we decided to get up early and go looking for animals. There’s been a famous grizzly bear and two cubs down the highway, and there are rumors of other bears, too. The boys only needed four more animals to blackout their bingo sheet: beaver, moose, bald eagle, and grizzly bear. We hoped we could get a few of them.

We left the cabin at about 5:40 am and drove down to Pilgrim Creek Road. We saw a few elk, but the road and fields around it were flooded. At one point we had to cross a 5 inch deep stream. Luckily, the roadbed was gravel so it wasn’t a problem. The next day this road was even closed! After that, we tried Signal Mountain. The drive was pretty, but the animals just weren’t out. Finally, we tried our favorite, Pacific Creek Road.
The sun coming up on the Tetons was beautiful.
The boys were pretty tired and not so sure about the early start.
We’d only been as far as the pavement on Pacific Creek, and by the time we got there, we still hadn’t seen anything but empty beaver ponds. We turned up the dirt road and saw a few more elk. We followed the dirt road all the way to the end where there is a trailhead for Two Oceans Trail. Everyone was tired and grumpy and disappointed, but Seth asked if we were finally to our hike. This hike is 6.5 miles, and we knew we weren’t up for that. Actually, we weren’t really up for anything as we hadn’t planned on hiking, so we hadn’t packed anything. But we started up the trail anyway. We found a little creek over a bridge and played the boys favorite game, Pooh Sticks. Suddenly, everything seemed a little better. We did about a mile of the hike, and it was beautiful. Everyone was smiling, and even though we only saw a few geese, we had a grand time.
Two Oceans Lake is a beautiful spot. We can't wait to come back and do this hike another time.  
Everyone perked up when we crossed the bridge. 
Pooh Sticks is our favorite game. 
It's a serious competition. 
I love watching them enjoy the outdoors.
We usually have some sort of stick on our hike. 
We really enjoyed our morning hike.
Seth takes the silliest pictures. 
The views and the lake were gorgeous. 
We started back toward our cabin at Colter Bay, and on the way we ran into the grizzly and her cubs. They were about 75 yards away, and she was lying right in the stream flat on her belly. The cubs played around trying to climb the trees. The boys really loved it! She was only out for about five minutes and they she wandered into the trees. It was a perfect sighting!
The Grand Tetons are such a beautiful sight!
The grizzly bears were hanging out in the shadows when we first pulled up.
They moved into the sunshine. It was fun to watch the babies play. 
Our favorite part was when the mama bear plopped down in the water.  
Back at the cabin we had breakfast and showers, and the kids played games. Then we started off for a real hike. The Webbs wanted to tag along, even though we were going on a three miler called Swan Lake and Heron Pond Loop. The hike was really pretty with a few exceptions. Dad and Seth had to run back to the car after the first quarter mile, which added an extra half mile for them. But they soon caught up and enjoyed the hike. The highlight was when Dad spotted a bald eagle soaring over the lily covered pond. It was really beautiful.
The hike begins by part of the lake. 
The four oldest cousins were great leaders on our hike.
I love when we can get a family picture! 
We were excited to see a bald eagle. 
You could hardly see the geese swimming through the lily pads.
Trying to get all 6 kids in the air was tricky.
They loved that they had matching backpacks, and matching hiking sticks. 
Swan Lake was beautiful as you walk along the edge of the lake.
After the hike we came back to the cabin for lunch. After sandwiches, we hit the road as we were supposed to meet Grandma and Grandpa in Moose for dinner at 5 pm. On the way, we made a stop for another hike called Leigh Lake. This hike begins at the Jenny Lake area, and it was very busy. There were paddle-boarders, swimmers, canoers and hundreds of hikers. Still, we enjoyed the nice flat hike and made it all the way to Leigh Lake. It is amazing how much we’ve hiked the boys around on this trip. Looking back, in these four days, we’ve done a total of thirteen hikes! Granted most hikes are short, that is still a lot for our boys. They haven’t complained for a single step, though.
We have hiked a lot these past few days. 
We love String Lake. We spend time here every time we visit. 
Leigh Lake was beautiful, too!
Mark is always looking for something to see.  
Mom stuck her foot in first. 
Then the boys decided they needed to cool off, too!
Beautiful, beautiful Tetons!
Oh Dad! 
We continued on down to Moose and did a quick drive out Wilson Road, but we didn’t see anything. Then we met Grandma and Grandpa and the Ferlans and Webbs for dinner at a pizza place in Moose. Mom and Dad shared pizza and nachos, and the boys all had pasta and fun with cousins. Afterward, we went out in the parking lot and they ran and played tag and statues for another half hour. We also took a quick walk down to the river. 
Seth with Grandma and Grandpa.
It was fun to be all together for a bit.
These crazy kids make me laugh.
They were all amazed at how high the river was.
Mom with two of her four sisters. 
We love this cute girl. 
We spotted a hummingbird.

On the ride home, we decided to take a drive out Gros Ventre Road, even though it was getting late, and we’d gotten up early. We drove quite a ways out the road and saw a beautiful four point buck, still in the velvet. After we turned around, we saw three big horn sheep, which is something we didn’t even know existed in the Tetons. We had such a fun day, but we still need to see that moose and beaver!
We spotted this beautiful Mountain Bluebird. 
The Bighorn Sheep were right on the side of the road.
The rangers didn't even believe that we saw them. 
We also spotted an Osprey.

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