Good morning, cuteness! Look at this scenery! While on lunch-making duty, this was my view. The kids were having a blast exploring and making “forts.” This is one of the reasons we love camping with kids. They can’t do this in a hotel room.
And just when I thought the scenery couldn’t be better, we had a visitor to our forest!
Everyone ran for their cameras. Oh, what a beautiful morning! It was a lovely elk. We watched him for awhile. He seemed a bit anxious to get away from us. We understood. We didn’t have time for showers last night.
Our first destination for the day was Old Faithful. I’m usually pretty good at preparing our kids for the different things they will see by giving them background and history. My husband is the science guy. But, for some reason I didn’t do it with Old Faithful. I guess I assumed that they knew what it was. I forgot they didn’t see all the cartoons that I did as a kid. Wasn’t Old Faithful in a lot of them? One of our daughters (8 at the time) thought it was a statue, and she kept asking us where it was. 🙂 Let the education begin!
We made it to the viewing area which has benches and usually a crowd. There are rails blocking anyone from getting too close which is necessary because the water that erupts is over 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The geyser had just erupted, and since it would be an hour or so until it went again, we went shopping! There are many historic buildings around Old Faithful. The Old Faithful Inn (built in 1904) is a magnificent log hotel, and we all enjoyed exploring it for a bit. The Old Faithful Lodge is in it’s original form too (since 1928), and it’s site was once of the original tent camp lodging areas before hotels were built. We shopped in the Lodge. My brother-in-law got ice cream. Yum. The kids successfully picked out souvenirs, and we went back out to wait for Old Faithful.
Just when the kids were getting pretty impatient, Old Faithful erupted. It does not disappoint. Everyone was impressed. We took some photos after that, but I can’t find any. We sat on a bunch of felled trees and had a picnic. The kids were also filling out their Junior Ranger packets. There was an altercation that had something to do with pen-sharing. I blocked it out.
After this, we went on a hike, of course, which started at this beautiful place.
We were hiking a trail to Fairy Falls which we knew for sure this time was 5 miles round trip. The guide also said that this trail was in a “Bear Management Area” so we were hoping for some bear sightings…sort of. The first part of the trip is on an old freight road, so it is easy going. Then you weave your way through a forest. It was a little Lion, Witch and Wardrobe-ish but without all the snow. When we reached the Falls, we were tired but invigorated by the beauty. It didn’t take long for shoes to come off and for feet to go in the water. The water was frigid, and no one wanted to actually swim in it. It was that cold. On the return trip, I realized that I had not seen one bear. Maybe they are too “managed.” We were a bit disappointed. Still it had been a lovely hike and our stomachs were reminding us that we needed dinner.
We made time for showers, and I have never been so glad. I didn’t know at the time that it would be the last shower I would take on this trip. Yikes. Dinner was great, but I can’t remember what it was. My night to cook came later. All I can think is spaghetti, but I know that can’t be right. At this point in the trip, food is good no matter what it is. I know we had s’mores, and we were very relaxed. The kids felt right at home playing in the woods, dirt, and around the campfire.
It had been another glorious day, and no kids complained to be tucked into their sleeping bag. This being our last night in Yellowstone, we stayed up pretty late around the fire. There was lots of laughter and fun and stories.
We also made our plan for the next day. We were heading to the Grand Tetons where you cannot make a reservation ahead of time (except for the Group sites which were full). So, my parents-in-law offered to leave very early in the morning to get us campsites because they are nice and generous and will do anything for their children and grandchildren.
To be continued…