Sunday, June 25, 2017

Yellowstone Day 3

Duck Lake is one of our favorite spots in Yellowstone.
Today we checked out of the cabin at Lake and headed south. We had one particular hike in mind, but we had heard it was a little muddy and might even have snow on it. Still, we drove south to West Thumb so we could hike Duck Lake. We got there early, and there was almost enough snow to turn us back. Luckily, all the snow and mud was still pretty frozen from the night. We did the hike, and it was as beautiful as ever. This time, all we saw were a few leeches. The rest of the day didn’t go much better as far as animal viewing goes.
There was still a lot of snow on the trail!
We love the solitude that we find here. We have never seen anyone on this trail.  
We saw some bear tracks along the lake, but we never saw the bear! 
Leeches! Our boys are terrified of them. 
We love being together no matter the trail conditions.
We drove out of Yellowstone to the south and stopped at Moose Falls. It was raging, and we took some great pictures. The spray was flying everywhere and the boys were freezing after a few minutes of being by the water. This was the boys' favorite part of Yellowstone. They all said Moose Falls was the best. 
Lewis Lake was still frozen over. It was pretty amazing to see. 
Moose Falls was huge!
The spray reached pretty far, and the boys loved that it was so cold!
You walk to the top of the falls on this trail, too.
Seth loves taking his binoculars on our hikes.
Dad loves the waterfalls in Yellowstone. 
I love my boys!
We have a goal to take more pictures together!
Mom thinks this bridge is cool!
Dad helped Seth leap over the water on the trail.
Mark took the leap all by himself.
Dax also insisted on jumping on his own.  
Dad had the best pose for his leaping picture.
A little while later we arrived at Flagg Ranch. Dad had researched a hike there called Polecat Creek Loop. It was a little long at two and a half miles, but we decided to try it anyway. Unfortunately, this trail is also used by horse outfitters, and it was horribly dusty except for a few spots that had moist horse dung. We didn’t see much along the way, and the trail wound through a nice pine forest. But last year the entire forest was burned, so we were walking among gigantic burned out lodgepole pines. Still, the boys were good sports and didn’t complain much.
The trail was quite dusty, but Seth was happy with his hiking stick.
There was a section of the trail that was beautiful. We saw lots of ducks, but no mammals.
Dad is always so good to help Seth when he gets tired.
The boys are great hikers. Mom and Dad are pretty proud of them.
The whole forest had burned, so I missed the shade.
We decided to reward them with lunch at a restaurant. We stopped at Sheffield’s at Flagg Ranch, which was a bit expensive, but it was really amazing. Dax kept picking at Mom’s buffalo salad, and Dad’s cheeseburger had huckleberry jelly on it. Everyone ate really well, so it was a successful lunch. The people working at the restaurant were very kind and helpful. They told us all about the bears that were hanging around in the Tetons. 
Mom and Seth loved relaxing in the nice Flagg Ranch restaurant.
We love spending time in this National Park, too!
As we were leaving the restaurant we ran into Melanie and the Webb children (Jason stayed home for job interviews), and we spent the rest of the day with them. First, we took a ride out a nice little road called Grassy Lake. It was the perfect habitat for moose, beaver, and bears, but we didn’t see a thing. Next, we drove down to the Colter Bay Visitor’s Center and checked in at the cabin. The boys started their Junior Ranger activities, and we took a short hike. This hike was called the Shoreline Trail and led right around a little thumb that stuck out into the lake. It was another two miles, but the kids were hiking with cousins, so they had a great time. We stopped to throw rocks into Jackson Lake a few times, and once we even took off our shoes and waded into the frigid water. The only wildlife we saw, though, was a tiny frog.
The cousins love hiking together.
Everyone, including Randy, had fun skipping rocks along Jackson Lake.
This is the tiny frog that we spotted. Can you spot it?
Everyone wanted a picture by the sign, but for some reason Mark is in the background. 
The water was freezing, but the views were amazing!
Look how clear the water is!
The older kids created a whole munchkin army. It was pretty hilarious.

After the hike we had sandwiches in the cabin, and by then it was getting late. After a few games of hide-and-seek, we piled back in the van for a late drive. We found a “bear observation area” with a lot of lookers and no bears. Then we drove out to Oxbow Bend, but it was flooded, and we only saw a few elk. Finally we drove all the way to the end of Pacific Creek Road, which is our favorite spot to see beaver, but there were only a few elk out there. To make up for the poor animal watching day, we plan to start all the earlier tomorrow. The alarm is set for 5 am, and we are hoping to have better luck!
We love the cabins at Colter Bay. They are spacious and comfy. 
We put the cot in the middle and it's a whole wall of beds. 
Down on Oxbow Bend, the river was spreading all over onto the road.
Normally you park in front of this sign, but there is so much water this year.  
The Oxbow Bend area is so beautiful.  
We only saw elk on our evening drives today.

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