Hey, it’s pretty far from Cheyenne to Yellowstone. This made little and big people get very excited to see the park entrance. Then it’s still a pretty long ways to the old camp site, but there are beautiful views along the way. We chose to stay at the Grant Village Group Campground because of its central location. It was a lovely campground with tall trees all around. Also, the bathrooms were right across the way from our site. We set up camp quickly as we were losing daylight, and I’m pretty sure we had Frito Pie for dinner. Here is our home away from home.
Our tent is the one alone in the picture. There was another side to the campground that had two more tents, but I didn’t take a picture of those. Our campfire and picnic table was in the center, and there was forest all around us. It was lovely, and I hope to go back someday. All I could do when the stars lit up the night sky is to whisper a prayerful, “Thank you.”
We didn’t hang around too much that night, and I was glad for my warm sleeping bag that night! In the morning we ate a quick breakfast of cereal and milk, and the lunch crew got busy. This morning it is my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. They almost always have a good attitude. I love this about them.
They are making a thousand sandwiches in this picture. Okay, not one thousand, but four loaves of bread-worth. It seems like 1000 when you are making them. We usually do two loaves of meat and cheese and two loaves of peanut butter and jelly. People bring their own chips, fruit and cookies. Everyone carries their own water….except the little ones.
It took us awhile to drive to the hike Matt had picked out for us that day. Bison get in the road and block things up. Why did the bison cross the road anyways? Finally, we reached the trailhead for Mt. Washburn. Matt’s trail guide-book said that it was about 4 miles round trip, and it was supposed to afford spectacular views over the whole park complete with wildflowers galore and big horn sheep!
The hike began going up immediately, and I began to contrast this with our hikes at the Grand Canyon. The wildflowers gave us immediate delight, and Lydia (5 years at the time) liked pointing out the “tiny Christmas trees.” The view was incredible, and the incline wasn’t too strenuous. That two miles up went on and on, and we began to doubt our hiking planner. I wish you could hear my brothers-in-law giving my husband a hard time. There really is nothing like it….it goes on and on and on. The banter is funny, and there’s plenty of it. We hiked and hiked. By this time the little girls were pooped, and had found other means of transportation. As we rounded a turn, we saw the big horn sheep. They saw us too and went running away. I don’t blame them. We are loud, and by this time pretty stinky.
At the top of Mount Washburn, it was pretty chilly. There is a little station that has vault toilets and a lookout building. We sat inside out of the cold wind and ate our lunch. It was a little crowded in there, but mostly because of us. At that time, we discussed how the mileage was wrong with other hikers, and we realized instead of 4 miles round trip, it was actually 4.5 miles one way. We began to shove our sandwiches in quickly because the round trip was on our minds. Everyone had fared pretty well, but the kids’ legs’ were pretty tired. Don’t be nervous! We made it down. And we only saw chipmunks. Here’s some lessons we learned from Mt. Washburn:
1. Double check hiking guides, length of trail, and descriptions of hikes. Later we found out this was actually a strenuous route with high elevation.
2. Make sure you carry more water than you think you need. There is water at the top.
3. If you have children 5 and under, do some push-ups, pull-ups and shoulder strengthening before your trip. You’re gonna need it.
4. After you’ve been married for 15 years, you might start walking in sync (see weirdness in photo).
5. Take more water.
6. Maybe if we had checked the trail length, I would have had the energy to chastise my kids to stay on the trail. As it was, I just sat there with a sweaty 3-year-old in my lap and watched them scale the side of the mountain with glazed eyes.
7. After you check the hiking guide, Go Anyways. It is best to just go and do hard things. It is so good for your family, your kids, your bodies, your soul.
To Be Continued…