Whew! Sorry for the delay in posting. We are still having the time of our lives but we are so busy in the doing that we havn't made time for the writing.
(this is mom's post)
When we last posted we were on our way to the Grand Tetons. From Utah it was an incredible scenic drive to Jackson Hole, WY. If you ever get the opportunity to travel north of Logan, UT passing through Logan Valley and Bear Lake it is a must! Jackson Hole is a very quaint and chic western town. The downtown is cute as a button! The Grand Teton mountains are spectacular! We began seeing all kinds of wildlife---moose, buffalo (bison) and such. We stayed in a cabin at Signal Mountain Lake where Dad ate his fill of bison chili and we watched American Idol with a sweet old couple we met from South Carolina.
After Grand Teton National Park we went straight into Yellowstone National Park. It is like no other place on earth, really. It is a geolist's dreamland. It just so happened that, on our science rotation, we are studying Earth Science this year. How handy is that? Yellowstone covers over 2,200,000 acres and has the most concentration of geysers in the world. It was cool to spend a few days living and exploring on top of a very active geothermal land mass. Yellowstone is constantly changing (earthquakes and such) but good OLD FAITHFUL is going strong! We stayed at the Old Faithful Inn right beside the Old Faithful geyser. It is well over 100 years old and full of character.
Old Faithful (you're probably wondering who took this amazing picture. It was Madison. Ok this is Madi. :)
As we were driving through the park, the snow was piled high (higher than Dad is tall) onboth sides of the road. The lakes were mostly frozen. It was beautiful. Later that day we got a few hours of snow. It was awesome! It stormed for a while and then clear, beautiful blue sky came and stayed with us the rest of our stay. I am so glad that we got to be there with all the snow. It made for a unique experience and we didn't have to deal with crowds of tourists!!! Of course, we had to build a snowman. It was kind of funny because some of us were in shorts and took our shoes off and sunk into several feet of snow during the process.
The wildlife is AMAZING! There are literally thousands of bison and elk and we were lucky enough to spot not one, but 3 of the 124 wolves in the park. One of them was right beside us near the river. But that is not the most incredible wildlife experience we had. You are not going to believe this but we saw a bison actually give birth! We were just a few yards away from her! We had seen a line of bison walking along the river when Mom saw something unusual about the back end of one of the bison---and it wasn't scat! It was 2 little feet sticking out. So we pulled over and watched as the mommy would walk a little and then lay down a little and very quickly she gave birth right there in front of our very eyes! It was amazing! The mommy immediately began cleaning the baby although she came out pretty clean looking already. We stayed there for about an hour so we could see the baby take its first steps. We have it all on video.
We have a National Parks passport that we have been stamping at all national parks and monuments. It's too bad that we didn't think to buy one until after we had gone to Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert and Yosemite. Oh well!
I did not realize this, but Yellowstone has its very own Grand Canyon. It was beautiful. As we walked through much of the park's boardwalks, Mom had a little trouble with the strong sulfar smells. It seems that baby doesn't care for that particular smell! We saw some great films at the visitor centers. The whole time we were in the park we were trying so hard to see a bear. Just as we were about to leave the park there he was---a little black bear, awww.
Next we drove through an absolutely gorgeous valley. We had learned that when you see cars pulled over and/or cameras lined up on tripods, you better stop your car and check it out. We saw a red fox and 2 of her little ones. She was actually tame and came right up to us and let us feed her. We did not feed any other wildlife but her. She was actually a semi-resident at a campground.
We spent the night in Cody, WY. It was quite the western town. It was settled by Buffalo Bill. We actually stayed in the hotel he built and named after his wife, Irma. It felt like stepping back in time when we walked into our room---very cool! We went to the Buffalo Bill museum. It was one of the best museums I have ever seen. It was very hands on. We also went to church there. We got there just as they were starting and the bishop was welcoming everyone to their ward conference. I think I laughed out loud in the chapel because that makes 3 Sundays of ward conferences for us on this trip!
We spent the night in Sheridan, WY last night and made our way to Rapid City, SD. We stopped at Devils Tower (the first national monument). There were TONS of prairie dogs. They were so cute! We will be checking out Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands tomorrow and then we thought we might pop in to Minnesota and Wisconsin just for the heck of it. We're making our way back to good ole NC and will hopefully get there on Saturday or Sunday.
Swimming at the hotel pool
"That's all folks!"