Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Yellowstone Day 1

We stayed at Stephanie’s house in Idaho Falls on our first day of Yellowstone vacation. We were sad that Dad had to work two extra days, and that meant cancelling our first night, but those two work days paid for the trip. Steph made us breakfast early, and we were in the park by 9 am.
We spotted this swan before we entered the park.
One of the things we really wanted to do this year was hike Harlequin Lake for the website. Unfortunately, we learned that there was a “Strong Bear Warning” because a mother bear and her two cubs had been spotted in the area. So, for the first time we bought some bear spray and Dad carried it in his hand all the way up the trail. We didn’t see any bears, but we did see some fresh bear poop (it looked like baby bear poop), and Dax spotted a snowshoe hare right on the trail. It was a gorgeous hike, and a perfect way to get started on Yellowstone.
Harlequin Lake is beautiful.  
We love watching the birds here. 
Dad and Dax had matching sunglasses on this trip.
Dax spotted the Snowshoe Hare. 
Mom held the bear spray for the picture. 
Seth was a litte bit nervous of running into a bear on the trail.  
We saw this mama goose and her goslings at the parking area for Harlequin Lake. 
We watched these bison run through the river.
It was so interesting to watch that I forgot to even take a picture or video.
We stopped at Norris for a few minutes to get the kids started on Junior Ranger stuff and ask about a few trails, and then we headed to hike number two, which was Sheepeater Cliffs. We’d never tried this hike, and we didn’t really know what to expect. The drive out to the cliff was less than a quarter of a mile, and the cliffs were right there. The boys spotted a marmot, and we were about to leave, but Dad had heard there was an out-and-back hike that was less than a mile.
We stopped to see Gibbon Falls along the way to Norris.
The boys are always climbing.  
We had to sit in a little construction, and this is how Randy waits.  
We spotted a bunch of marmots climbing Sheepeater Cliff.
We started off along the cliff and the trail got sketchy pretty fast. Soon we were climbing over deadfalls, and leaving the trail because it went too close to the river. It was flat and rocky and not too difficult to maneuver, so we continued on. Finally we came to a rock slide. We decided to climb across, and though Mark banged his knee a little, we made it safely. Suddenly, up ahead we could see the river dive down. Since the river is pretty full this Spring, we could also hear a roar. As we continued on, we knew that we’d be coming to a pretty nice waterfall.
Sheepeater Cliff is pretty unique. 
Mom and Dad take a picture at the end of every hike now.
The boys love trails that are adventurous like this.
Seth is always happy if there is water to throw rocks into.
This trail quickly became one of our family favorites. 
Seth snapped this photo of mom with a purple wildflower that he found for her. 
The cliffs got steeper and the roar got louder. We grabbed hands, because a fall would mean the end of anyone. It was about 70 feet down to the river, and no one would be able to survive the turbulent water. After awhile we turned back and there was a beautiful waterfall. Probably the best description of it would be a chute, because the river narrowed down, and the water cascaded, but never really fell. It was pretty awesome. On the way back, we even saw a doe and a buck.
The "waterfall" was beautiful. 
Dad is always looking through his binoculars.
It was absolutely gorgeous on this hike. 
We saw this very clear bear track. It was so exciting! 
We had to squeeze through these bushes on part of the trail.
We saw two deer on the way back to the car right on the side of the trail.
Seth and Dax demonstrated how you can go over or under.  
Seth picked dandelions for Mom the entire trip. He secretly slipped this one into her back pocket!
We had lunch in Mammoth, where we saw the elk, and then went on to Wraith Falls. This is our traditional hike, and this year Mark spotted a snake along the trail. A little while later we got to the Petrified Tree turnoff and there were a million cars pulled over. We stopped and saw a black bear and her 4 month-old cub. We watched them for quite awhile before the wind picked up and the raindrops started to fall. We knew it was time to go.
We stopped at Undine Falls just outside of Mammoth.
Sometimes we have moments when they like each other.
Mark proclaimed Wraith Falls his favorite falls in Yellowstone.
Our favorite part of seeing this elk was the lady in the car next to us who was so excited that she pointed out the window and mouthed the word, "moose." We laughed and laughed!
We spotted mama bear first. 
About 10 minutes later, the little cub came out into the open.
That cub was cavorting all over the place. We loved it! 
Mom took about 6000 pictures.
By that time it was midafternoon, and we wanted to spend the bulk of our day in Lamar Valley. We had some really awesome sightings including a fox that ran really close to the van. We saw bighorn sheep and pronghorn that were fairly close to the road, as well as mountain goats that must’ve been a mile off. We even spotted two coyotes running alongside us about fifty yards away.
We saw two bighorn sheep on the side of the road.
The fox ran right past our car. It was awesome!
Dad spotted a coyote, and then Seth said, "I see another one." He was so excited to be one of the spotters on this trip!
Soon we arrived at our favorite hike in the park, which is Trout Lake. We love this short steep hike, because we always see something amazing, and this year we planned to go to an extra lake called Buck Lake. We got to Trout Lake pretty quickly and then turned off the trail, as there is no marked path to Buck Lake. Still, we found it easily. It’s only about a quarter mile further, and along the way we saw buffalo, chipmunks, and deer. When we got to Buck Lake we counted seven different kinds of ducks there. We didn’t see a single human, though, which was nice.
We love the hike to Trout Lake.  
Buck Lake was beautiful, too! We were so glad we ventured over.
When we got back to Trout Lake, we decided to go all the way around, as we always do. Trout Lake is awesome, and we saw frogs and a whole pile of snakes all curled together. Then we saw the most amazing thing of all. There was a grass log extending out into the lake, and there were four otters cuddled right on top of it! We watched for nearly a half hour as they dived into the water, paddled around, and climbed back on the log. We were only about 20 yards away, and they didn’t seem to be bothered too much by us. It will probably be a long time before we spot something that amazing again!
There were four otters laying on the log.  
The wet otter was definitely in charge. Anytime someone new showed up to watch the otters,
he would dive in and then grunt at the new visitors.  
Trout Lake is in a gorgeous location.
Seth is always finding beautiful flowers for Mom. Luckily he only picks dandelions.
He was exited for these little purple ones. Seth knows that Mom loves purple.
There were 3 snakes all cuddled up together. 
We hustled back to the Yellowstone picnic area and had dinner, and we saw a pretty cool red-tailed hawk sitting on a stump watching over the campground. Then we hurried to our last hike of the day, which was Tower Falls. This year Dax really wanted to hike all the way to the bottom of the falls, and even though it was late we started down. This trail drops directly into the canyon. It is only about a half mile, but it is steep. The crummy part was that the trail no longer goes to the base of the falls! When we got down there, we found that it stops at the river and that’s it. Dax was pretty disappointed, but there was nothing to do but climb back out again. By the time we did, it was 8pm, and we had a long drive back to our room at Old Faithful.
The boys love exploring. Randy was proud of his picture of Seth jumping!
We pulled up and saw this hawk on the post.
He later fewer to the tree and Randy snapped this amazing picture. Obviously it's a red-tailed hawk.
Dax loves Tower Falls. This is his favorite spot in Yellowstone.
There was a lot of snow as we crossed Dunraven Pass on the way to Old Faithful.
This year, to try something knew, we decided to stay a night in the Old Faithful Inn. It is really beautiful, even though the rooms aren’t that great, and you can hear people thumping around in the rooms near you. Still, we like the feel of the place. It is rustic and fun.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! Look at all those animals you guys saw!! So neat!!


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