Monday, November 21, 2016

2016 Grand Adventure, Days 24-26: Museum of the Rockies and Yellowstone National Park

You can find links to any other 2016 Grand Adventure posts at the "home page." 

Day 24: We drove from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Bozeman, MT. We left at 7:30 am and made it through customs just before Second Son threw up. (It was bound to happen at least once.) We drove and drove and drove, stopping briefly for meals. We drove all the way through Idaho, though we did stop so the kids could get out and say they've actually been there. Our poor old van climbed up mountains and then drove down them again and again. We finally arrived at our hotel at 12:30 am, totally exhausted. I'm sure some of the mountain views on the last third of that drive were tremendous, but it was dark so we'll have to go back for them someday.

Total driving for day 24 - 814 miles. And we're never doing that again. Ever.

Day 25: We visited the Museum of the Rockies for a few hours in the morning. This is now one of my favorite museums. If you really want to know what life as a paleontologist is like, this museum is the one for you. It's full of dinosaur skeletons, of course, but there are collections of fossils with explanations of how paleontologists study and compare them to understand what dinosaurs were like. Absolutely fascinating for anyone interested in forming hypotheses and meticulously examining data. So...the kids liked the bones and were ready to move on.

a row of skulls for comparisons
We hopped back in the van and drove south to Yellowstone National Park! We were so excited about this national park! And it did not disappoint. We'd had a picnic lunch and were on our way to Old Faithful when we spotted a bear and her two cubs. Totally awesome and completely safe because we were in the van with plenty of distance between us. First Daughter got the best picture. We're not experts at telling grizzly bears from black bears, but we think they are grizzles.

After the exciting bear siting, we stopped at Artist's Paintpots for a short hike. Kansas Dad and I wanted to see mudpots and this was a great walk for us. Second Daughter thought the smell was terrible. (In fact, Second Son doesn't have great memories of Yellowstone as a whole because so much of it smelled like sulphur and other gases he didn't enjoy.)

We recorded a video of the mudpots, too, because pictures just don't do them justice.

We visited Old Faithful next. The children were duly impressed by the geyser. My pictures aren't as interesting as many you can find online, but we were there.

Finally we began the drive to our campground...just in time for the rain. Poor Kansas Dad had to, once again, put up the tent in a drizzle. Our site was a muddy mess. The night was rainy and cold though our tent kept us nice and dry. It wasn't very fun taking Second Son to the bathroom in the middle of the night (though it rarely is while camping).

Total driving for day 25 - 179 miles.

Day 26: We had intended to stay a second night at Yellowstone but it was really cold when we woke up and snow was in the forecast. Being a bit tired of camping in the cold and wet by day 26, we decided to cut our trip in Yellowstone short (and skip the night we'd planned at Grand Tetons) and instead drive down into a warmer valley.

But first we revisited Old Faithful to see it erupt in the snow. Kansas Dad and the kids stood out in the winter weather, but I watched from inside and took the opportunity to call my dad where there was phone service. It was properly snowing with accumulation on the ground as we drove out of the park.
Grand Tetons - with clouds
We drove south through the Grand Tetons National Park and then headed east into lower elevations. We ended up at a random campground in Wyoming but the 27 mph winds convinced Kansas Dad he couldn't easily put up the tent. The children were thrilled to hear he'd rented a tiny cabin. When we started unloading, First Daughter bounced right in and declared it "smaller than Little House on the Prairie!" She was right. It was our first "cabin" of the trip and it was nice to be inside from the wicked winds that night.

Total driving for day 26 - 237 miles.


  1. Love hearing about the adventures again!

  2. Blogging has really fallen off. I'm finding the combination of all four kids in school and the oldest in 7th grade (7th!!) is a bit overwhelming. I still haven't found my regular rhythm. Or perhaps my regular rhythm is "chaos."

  3. Yes, perfectly understandable! It's pretty chaotic on our end, too. :-)


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