More Montana 2016

The rest of the week was jam packed. Did I mention that the Dehaven’s came to visit? They always bring the fun. And Jeff shared his pictures too!

 

We rodeo’d in Livingston…

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We creeked…

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Which lead to a lot of this….

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Do you see the fish right in front of Baylor?!

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And after taking a year off from our last Yellowstone Park visit, we again braved the winding roads with all 7 of us. This trip went far better and we even made it all the way to Old Faithful without murdering each other and only one person vomiting. Success!

Stephanie studying the warnings carefully…

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The amazing Grand Prismaticsimg_4923

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I’m so bummed – the colors of the pools are amazing – but it was barely 32 degrees and so the steam made it hard to see.img_4962img_4987

Old Faithfulimg_5027

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A tourist died earlier this year jumping into one of these pools. It’s so hot, by the next morning, they could only find a few bones….img_5086

We also got to see the Beehive Geyser. It’s less predictable than Old Faithful, erupts for a shorter period of time but is as intense. Plus you can get a lot closer!

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And the Old Faithful Lodge was fantastic. At 112 years old, it’s seen some amazing history. Also I’m sure it’s haunted.

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And it wouldn’t be Montana without visiting the Long’s for some horseback riding lessons. The girl’s favorite, Duke, was donated to a school to be a therapy horse. They get reports once in awhile about how happy he is to be ridden every day! Thankfully the ladies were happy to give Heidi a try – and they now have a new favorite.

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Auggie is still not sure he’s a fan

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Auggie with the safety checkimg_9918

And we drove kids and a dog around in a gater. While taking selfies. This looks safe, right?

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Yellowstone Adventures

Our Yellowstone adventure as a group of 7 looked more like the Griswalds headed to Wally World. We were packed into our rental SUV…but still, 7 people is a lot to squish into one vehicle. Not to mention Auggie was a particularly unhappy camper that day. We also imposed a “no electronics rule”. No iphone or ipad games. We were in nature, dammit. And everyone was going to look out the window and enjoy it by God.

We also had a loaned “Audio Tour through Yellowstone” CD. It. Was. Awesome. Mostly because for every feature that it described, it usually included a cautionary tale that was less cautionary for us and much more hilarious. It went something like:

And that brings me to the story of little Andy Shmandy from Portland Oregon and his dog Moosey. While visiting Noris Gysier, Moosey left the boardwalk and jumped into one of the boiling pools. Andy, defied those around that were trying to restrain him and jumped in after Moosey. He was able to climb out, but was severely burned over 90% of his body. While first responders were removing his clothing, his skin came off with it. He was transported to Salt Lake City where he later died. His last words were “that was pretty stupid, huh?”. 

No really. I’m not making it up.

The stories were so gruesome, they were hilarious. We were sure to remind each other often about each victim often. Stay on the boardwalk kids! You don’t want to be the next Andy Shmandy!

Warning: picture overload ahead

I love that you immediately see elk when you drive into the park. They are really really close to the cars and you realize how big these guys are.

(Side note: run fast little elkies! Please don’t come home to my home in the stuffed form!)

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First stop: Noris geysers. But first, a warning illustration. Who the hell draws these?

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Everyone of these pools is hotter than the boiling point of water. But they don’t bubble because of the altitude. The color comes from a special form of bacteria that only survives in super hot water.IMG_7278It’s like the surface of the moon

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IMG_7303 IMG_7305 IMG_7318We caught one of the geysers going off

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The Griswalds Do Yellowstone!

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Not the happiest camper….

IMG_7291  But he does like a camera so that helps – take a look at his shoes. He loves them because they look just like “dada’s”, but he wears them between his second toes!

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“Pose in front of the boiling hot water!!”

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The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is amazing. The only problem is that it never looks real in pictures. The dads win parent of the year award for carrying each girl UP the 200+ steps from the bottom of the canyon. Jeff still can’t feel his shoulder. Auggie fell asleep in the car so someone had to hang back and nap with him. I was happy to fill that position.

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These two kill me.

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Can you see the lip gloss on her eyes??IMG_7332

We did pretty well with the wildlife sightings. This guy was just off the road scratching his head on a tree. It was awesome. IMG_7264 IMG_7269
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We passed a horse drawn wagon. Some go out for tours, others for overnight camp outs and they are original to the park.

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The wildfire devastation is still very visible. Some is very old – from the fires in the late 80’s. Some is more recent.  I was really surprised to learn that they don’t thin the forest to prevent large fires. They found after the “Summer of Fire” that a lot of the pine cones will only open when introduced to the extreme heat of forest fires, thus self regenerating the forest. IMG_7355 IMG_7365

Baylor and Morgan had the way back seat to themselves. They are fold down seats so they were a little isolated in the back. At one point they asked the moms for lip gloss. We made the mistake of not asking for it back. Eventually we looked back and realized they had “done” their hair and used some of the lip gloss as eye shadow. Then they passed out.

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Fish That

PW and were able to escape the banshees for the better part of a day and do some fly fishing on the Yellowstone River. The river is really spectacular and we were lucky that it was a great day for fishing. Our guide was none other than Matthew. Yes, the same Matthew that Matthew the deer is named after. He is as good a hunting guide as he is a fishing guide. His home is the wild Montana country so he is an expert at all things outdoors. Not to mention a good friend and very funny.

We started off slowly – the weather turned cold and we waited out a rainstorm for about an hour. The wait paid off as the fish were suddenly very hungry. Matthew said it’s because they know after the rain that the river is going to mud up from the run off so they eat a lot in anticipation of not being able to see their food for a few days. I didn’t care what the reason was, I was just happy that we were actually catching something! We caught so many that we stopped counting – it made the day really fun.

One of Matthew’s signature phrases is “yup, good, fish that”. He would tell me where to cast and then judging where the nymph fell, he would tell me to leave it (“fish that”) or to recast. The beauty of being in a row boat with Matthew at the ores is that he could maneuver the boat to make my cast work – and me feel like I knew what I was doing. I actually didn’t realize that was happening until PW pointed out after. Which is why Matthew gets paid the big bucks.

Point of Rocks

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First fish of the day – and yes, it was cold enough for a hood!

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Did you know that trout talk?? I did not. That fish was squeaking all over the place and freaked me right out.
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Manly fishermen only hold their fish with ONE hand!308

This picture cracks me up. Matthew had on his trademark serious face (and was probably sick of my pictures and or bad fishing skills) and PW is heaven. 316

Lelowstone National Park

As Baylor would say – or Yellowstone to you and me.

Peter is always dying to take a day trip into the park. I am always looking for ways to talk him out of it. We do a lot of driving while in Montana and strapping the kiddo in the car for another long trip seems a little cruel – for her and I as I always am the one trying to entertain, soothe and distract her while in the car. Not to mention I hate car trips – I think they are boring, I get car sick and I never get to drive. Whiney? Maybe. But you drive to San Diego and back in the back seat with a kiddo who is so very over being in the car and let me know how you like it.

Despite all that, I didn’t have a lot to try to talk PW into this year. I can’t ride horses (and neither could he – if he gets to drink and I don’t, then he doesn’t get to ride….) this year and there’s only so much hiking we can do so I gave in and told him to plan the trip. And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The park was packed, but we were able to get around fairly easily and hit a few of the sites; Norris Geyser, lunch in the woods, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and some wildlife. B had a moment of get-me-out-of-this-car, but once she got to see some elk up close and personal, the rest of the ride was smooth.

Norris Geyser Basin. It looks like the surface of the moon…

It doesn’t look dangerous, but the temperature of the water is boiling

The color of the water was amazing.

Boiling mud

Steam vent

After Norris, we headed to a campsite to have a picnic. As we wrapped up, B got her first look at a permenate porta potty – basically a hole in the ground with a toilet seat. She screamed and refused to use it. Plan b involved finding a smooth log and let her go as nature intended. She decided that peeing in the wilderness was awesome.

Next up was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I had no idea what to expect and I was totally blown away when I looked over the the little wall to the canyon below.

The color of the water was spectacular

There are like a thousand stairs that take you to the bottom of the falls. I am putting this on the list for next year!

Some bison

Daddy and his girl. And his favorite Beet Seed hat.

The girls