Well, we're back from yellowstone, and I must say that I, for one, am not glad. True, I spent most of the time walking wishing I was sitting and most of the time sitting wishing I was sitting somewhere else, my husband did something horrible to his back, my mom wasn't well, my dad spent his entire trip trying to help out and relax at the same time (which, sadly, never worked), my daughter threw fits at every mention of geysers because of the smell she knew was coming, and my son--well, my son is 4. All the same, it was Yellowstone. One of my most favorite places in the world. We drove up early friday morning through Idaho to the west entrance. I have to say that we only stopped twice for pottys and one of those times was also for lunch so it doesn't count. We went to the visitor's center at Madison to get the kids started on their Junior Ranger badges, which was more of a hassle than I would have thought. The Junior Ranger program is apparently for kids over 5, which the nasty woman told us in a very haughty voice, because you have to be able to read to complete it. Like every kid can read at 5 anyway. So we said what if we read it to him, because he's 4 and a half and if his big sister is going to do it then so is he. She told us that he would actually have to do all of his work because, "Yellowstone really wants the kids to work for themselves and earn these badges" we looked at her like the moron she was and informed her that yes, of course he would do all his own work, what were we anyway? So we got the papers and took pictures of the buffalo and the elk and the bald eagle that we saw and headed on to Old Faithful. I love old faithful, but mainly the inn. I don't know why, I think it's because it's so unlikely. The wood is either insanely straight or insanely bent and it all works out to be fantastically awesome. I usually don't mind that the bathrooms are down the hall either, but this year I had two little ones who can't ever get through the night without getting up at least once. There was also a big mess with my mom's wheelchair, but that's for her blog. We had dinner that night in the cafeteria that's just on the other side of the geyser from the inn. I love that place, it's huge and they have just about everything to eat, from buffalo meatloaf to trout to spaghetti and meatballs. The problem is the aforementioned distance from the inn. Zoe rode the whole way on my mom's chair, but Jimmy walked with Chris and my dad and me informing us very politely the whole way over that he was hungry and tired, "legs hurt...macaroni...legs hurt...macaroni...legs hurt..." you get the idea.
The next day we drove up through Norris and Canyon down to Lake Yellowstone where we were staying in the Lake Lodge Cabins. I like these cabins because you have a bed, a carpet, a bathroom (including a shower, thank goodness), and electricity, and yet you are still in the middle of the woods in a cute little cabin where coyotes eat bunnies all day and night. seriously. We like to stay at Lake because we always take a Jammie Run up the Hayden valley very early in the morning to see the buffalo and usually a bear or two. Well unfortunately it was too early to see many buffalo, and we were two seconds to late on two seperate occasions to see bears. hmph. But we drove up and saw the falls and then up to Mammoth where I haven't been in years. It was Father's Day too so we gave presents and cards and had fun. On the way back for dinner however, after we had split up for the day, Chris and I came across a huge traffic jam, the kind of which is unmistakably labeled "BEAR SIGHTING". We jumped out with all our cameras and kids and ran across the road and saw a Momma Grizzly with her little cub, cute as can be, not 25 yards off the road. So cute! I had just about given up on seeing a bear that trip and boy was I wrong! I've got a bunch of pictures that are unfortunately at this moment in Pennsylvania, so I'll have to post those later. When we got back to the cabin to tell my parents all about the coolest bear sighting ever, we found out that it was my dad who actually spotted the bear in the first place and caused the huge traffic jam. So it was a dream come true for everybody.
After two days at Lake, we went on to the tent cabins at Colter Bay in the Tetons. Zoe asked me and my mom what Tetons means. We told her big pointy mountains. Chris hates camping, and the tent cabins make it a little better, but unfortunately not much, you see, he still has to walk to the bathroom. In the dark. Through the woods. In, again, the dark. In his defence though, the ranger told us that two days before we got there there was a bear in the cabin we were checking into...not the best thing to think of when you remember again that my son is 4! But it was nice because he had been so good in Yellowstone trying to remember that he had to stay on the boardwalks and trails and not run wild because of hot pools and buffalo. In the tetons he could run wild between our cabin and my mom's and not worry about anything. It was so funny though, because he wanted to be everywhere with everybody. If anyone was doing anything other than what he was doing, he would jump up and follow them until they gave him something to do to help. Poor grandpa got the worst of it, mainly because everything he was doing involved the car or the fire, both fascinating subjects for a little boy. I decided that I had to do some dutch oven cooking, so we had huge a breakfast and dinner the day before we left, so big in fact that we basically skipped lunch because we were still snacking on the extra scones. Mmm...scones...
Another fun bit was the breakfast buffet on the last day--they had a huge platter of fruit and I asked the girl who was refilling things if she knew if the fruit had all been cut together. She happened to be the Garde Manger and had done it herself and said yes, but when I explained that I was allergic to cantaloupe she immediately offered to cut me some honeydew seperately. Which I thougth was very nice and I ate the entire bowl she brought me because it was the ripest best melon I've had in a long long time (which is even longer because you can never get honeydew by itself). A few minutes later I started feeling a familiar feeling in my throat and started drinking everybody's water trying to keep breathing! We asked the manager to check if they hadn't been as careful with the honedew as they said and she checked and they followed the allergy procedures with seperate knives and boards and tables, so apparently I am now allergic to ALL melons. poo. I love melons. Maybe someday before I die they'll come up with an allergy cure and then I'll eat melons all day. Especially watermelon. oooh. watermelon. I love watermelon. a lot. a whole lot. Oh well. Till then, I'll just have to eat strawberries.
Well this post is already too long, so I'll end it by saying that we had fun and now we're home and if I don't roast in my own juices I'll post some of our pictures soon.