Thursday, July 17, 2014

Island Park Independence Day

I'm pretty sure we've got a new annual tradition...
spending the Fourth of July in Island Park and Yellowstone National Park!

We had what, I think for me at least, was one of the most awesome camping trips ever over this last holiday!
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've only been into Yellowstone one other time before this even though we live so close. I didn't necessarily like the crowds, but it wasn't too bad and we did just a day trip in and out.

This buffalo above was the first wildlife we saw as we drove- got us all excited! The little boys love the bison episode of Wild Kratts that was on recently, so they were stoked to see a real one. This one would prove to end up boring, though...

I had thought Old Faithful erupted every twenty minutes or so, but apparently it's more like every 80-90 minutes! We got lucky and only waited about twenty minutes or so :)

This cool spot above was one of my favorite things we saw all day in Yellowstone! It's called Dragon's Mouth and is part of the Mud Volcano exhibit- really a cool, colorful spot that is perfectly named!

Without a doubt, my personal favorite part of the day was seeing three bachelor elk in velvet along the shore of Yellowstone Lake- wow! They were literally close enough Taron and I could have reached out and touched them. In just a short while, they'll be battling each other for the cows, but for now it was sure cool to see them chillin' together. Those velvet antlers are beautiful! 

We stopped to eat at the Lake Lodge- what a cool building and beautiful, wide view. I could've sat on this porch for a good long while...

Last stop, we saw the Upper and Lower Falls. The hike down to see the amazing Lower Falls was intense (at least for me!), but it was worth it! Taron and Ryder powered back up like it was nothin', while Cooper and I rested off and on. What amazing scenery- I was thinking as we hiked that it was almost hard to believe how much awesome is packed in to one place!

Mighty hikers on the way back up :) (I was about to start feeling a lot less mighty after this pic, I tell ya!) But I'm glad the boys paused for a pic with me- I sure love these awesome dudes! Taron sure made our trip smoother- he is a great help and a lot of fun. I have to admit, having teenagers is pretty great and I enjoy them more now than I maybe ever have before. By the way, Keaton stayed with his Mom for Fourth of July fun with her this year- he was sure missed though!

Ha ha- see what I mean about how more bison were soon to trump that first one that was laying down?! This big guy was walking right down the road and practically rubbed against our Expedition!

Back in Island Park, we got in a lot of fun activities in our last few days. Fly fishing, tubing, swimming, and a trek up to the top of Sawtelle. It was amazing to see both the Tetons and the Sawtooths (vaguely) from up there- what a view! 

We tried going to the fireworks that Island Park does over the Reservoir, but didn't get gone quite soon enough from camp, or realize just how packed it would be! We parked along the road and started to walk toward the water, only to have the fireworks start long before we arrived! So, we caught a few fireworks over the trees this year, but that's it- ha! Next time we'll know. :)

This is a place that Stephen grew up coming to often and I have fond memories of also. We sure love where we live and the blessing of being able to take advantage of the awesome outdoors around us!


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