Hey we can hike 9 miles and still go do something else. Don’t underestimate us. See, the thing with Yellowstone is that everything you want to see is spread out by long drives. You have to make the most of the area you are already in or close to. So, after climbing up and down Mt. Washburn, we went over to see Yellowstone Falls at Artist’s Point. I had been there once before, and my memory of it was glorious. Of course I was a brand new mother holding my precious firstborn, so most of my memories at that time were glorious except for my new sour milk perfume and diaper blow-outs.
My memory was reliable. The Yellowstone Falls are so gorgeous that they sparkle. Truly!
The lookouts there were pretty crowded, but when you see this, it won’t matter. I stood there in awe again of such beauty. The girls were pointing out the yellow in the stone, and I decided that is what must make the sparkle effect or the water or the trees or the sky behind. It is a magnificent work of art in nature, and again I was whispering to myself, “Thanks be to God.”
So, on this big family vacation, when we see an awesome view, we try to improve upon it. We stick our children squirming and yelling, “Cheese!” in front of it and hope for a winner. It’s amusing to me, and during the family photo at Artist’s Point, I was also afraid someone might go over the rocks. They didn’t.
After absorbing the view for a bit, we let the kids climb on some downed trees. Do you say felled or downed because I know no one cut them down? This is a national park you know. Do either of those words strike you as funky?
After the trees, we went back to our camp. The drive is part of the adventure in Yellowstone. The bison make the roads interesting, and the views vary in foliage type and in beauty. We were on a mission to have a shower on this night. That much I remember after the big hike sweat-fest. If you read about our Grand Canyon trip, you will remember this is my least favorite part of camping. But, I was very glad for it that night motivated greatly by my own stench. We drove to the Grant Village showers, and they were pretty nice and clean.
When we arrived back at our camp fresh and clean, it was getting chilly again. I think we had spaghetti that night because the abundance of noodles is a great picture in my mind. My sister-in-law Beth cooked, and we were all grateful for a hot meal. We always tried to finish dinner before it was completely dark because we had to do dishes and get everything back in our bear boxes. The Park Ranger that checked us in had given us an intense, warning-filled orientation to camping in Grant Village Group Site D. We couldn’t even have chapstick in our tent! This is serious bear business people.
That night I heard rustling in the forest behind us. I really began to question our wisdom of have our tent a bit isolated and closest to the woods. Our children were all towards the back of the tent, and the freaky mom-paranoia set in for a moment as I realized they would be the first to be attacked. We blocked the door of course. But the door faced the other tents. I have this every once in a while at home too. I just get that Mama-bear (pun intended) protectiveness and want to sleep in front of their bedroom doors to make sure they are okay. I think God made me this way so that I will pray more.
I felt around for the bear spray can, but I couldn’t find it. Matt was already breathing deep, and I didn’t want to wake him. I felt my aching body relax; we had already stayed up too late around the campfire. Then I fell asleep. Don’t judge. Remember Mt. Washburn equals 9 miles people.
The next morning we were all still alive and ready for the next adventure.
To be continued…