June 30th we headed out to Wyoming. We drove to Casper, WY and spent the night then headed to Livingston, MT for an overnight before entering Yellowstone National Park through the north entrance in Gardiner, MT.

WP_20170706_09_56_47_Pro

Friday and Saturday we enjoyed a relaxed drive with stops to eat and play at playgrounds. We ate delicious dinners at Silver Fox steakhouse and Neptune’s Brewery! Ivan loved the sushi and the server was delighted that he would order himself and enjoy sushi so much! We also ran into a car show in Sheridan, WY, with many diverse cars to look at.

neptunes_brewery

Great food, entertainment, atmosphere, and beer

Sunday: We entered the park and explored along the way to our campsite at the Madison campground. We hiked all over Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser and Artists Paint Pots.  Due to the danger of the geysers and hot springs I wore Ivan on my back the majority of the time. It was good to let him get out and play when we had picnic lunches or back at the campsite at the end of the day.

IMG_0546

Monday began with a Ranger led hike around Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin. We then hiked up to an overlook point and around to Solitude Geyer. We saw many hot springs at Biscuit Basin and then took the short hike to Mystic Falls.

IMG_0840

We decided that on Tuesday we would explore the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, so we took a ranger led hike along the rim. We trekked the 328 steps to see the Upper falls on Uncle Tom’s trail.  After getting showers, clean clothing, and lunch we headed off again to drive along the Yellowstone River to Mud Volcano where we saw 2 Bison enjoying themselves near the steam.  We went to Sulpher Caldron to see more hot springs and bubbly water. Ivan loved the stop in at Lake Village Visitor’s Center to play in the sand/water of Yellowstone Lake. We continued the drive around the lake and found a picnic spot with a view and ended the day at the Midway Geyser Basin to view Grand Prismatic Spring.  Nick and I both agreed that it was a bit disappointing since there is currently no trail to a higher vantage point. After a long day we were glad to be back at our tent to sleep!

WP_20170704_17_26_40_Pro

Wednesday was our final day in Yellowstone and we decided to take it easy. We also ran out of coffee so Nick was dragging. We headed to the original store near Old Faithful and got some coffee on the large patio with wooden rocking chairs.  We toured the old turn of the century Old Faithful Inn and watched the eruption from the balcony. After lunch we then headed over to watch the video at the Visitor’s Center. We then headed out to the Firehole River area to do a scenic drive and just happened upon an erupting geyser. This was the only other one we saw fully erupt.  We paused at Firehole River Falls before finding an area in the Firehole river that Ivan and Nick could swim. We ended the day with a campfire and hotdogs and meeting new camping neighbors.

IMG_1557

Moving day was Thursday. It rained overnight so we packed up a soggy tent and headed to Grand Teton National Park and to the Colter Bay tent cabins. Thankfully ours was clean so we could “move in” and set up the tent to dry. After lunch and repacking our tent we headed to do the drive all the way through the park to the south entrance and visitor’s center. After exploring the visitor’s center and catching the park video we headed out to do the Jenny Lake scenic drive. We took in the view at the top of Signal Mountain and ended the day playing at the Jackson Lake beach area at Colter Bay with a picnic dinner.

IMG_1594

IMG_1805Grand Teton does not seem to have many varieties of small hikes so we meandered along the Lakeshore Trail then arrived at the Colter Bay visitors center in time for a lunch snack and a National Geographic Documentary about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone in 1995. It was interesting and Ivan did great throughout as well.  We then decided to go check out Jackson Lake Lodge and get coffee. We drove out to a scenic lake a bit away from the main area of the park and ended up back at Jackson Lake Lodge to go swimming.  We all enjoyed the pool and shower before getting on a boat tour for dinner.  The boat tour was a fun last splurge and we enjoyed the steak and fish dinner on Elk Island.

Saturday we were on the road by 6am and with only a few stops made it home in about 10 hrs.  It was a long drive and Ivan did great and we were all glad to be back in our own bed.

Highlights of the trip include:

  • Seeing wildlife: bear, bison, birds, moose, deer, pronghorn
  • Experiencing Ivan spreading joy to multitudes of strangers
  • Watching the thermal features and learning about the geography
  • Playing license plate game and spotting all but one of the 50 states and many Canadian Provinces as well
https://vimeo.com/225198996
https://vimeo.com/224830010