My family just spent four days up near Yellowstone National Park on the Montana/Wyoming border. I thought it would be fun to share pictures because some of you may not have been there before. Maybe you are even thinking of a trip there soon. Well, I do have pictures to share, but our recent trip to Yellowstone felt something like a Chevy Chase movie. We were definitely able to enjoy the gorgeous scenery there, but oh my goodness, we sure had some hurdles to jump as we were trying to enjoy our long weekend camping trip.
Camping in the Yellowstone National Park Area
Our Yellowstone Vacation went a little something like this…
Thursday morning we packed up the cars and took the five hour ride to Yellowstone. It was me, my husband, and our 5 year old daughter in our car and my mother, sister, and my 17 year old daughter in my mom’s car. We were optimistic that it would be a wonderful little vacation. The drive itself was pretty uneventful until we got to our campground. As we pulled in at the campsite office we discovered that my mom’s relatively new tire was flat. Not just a little low on air, mind you, but FLAT. Pretty much riding on the rim. The joy of vacation we were feeling began to deflate. A nice man that worked at the campground was kind enough to inflate mom’s tire with an air compressor so that we could get over to our campsite with all of our gear. Mom has AAA, so she planned to call them to change the tire once we got settled.
At the campsite we stood there for a minute talking before we started unloading our gear when all of a sudden…BANG! It literally sounded like a gunshot.
The tire ruptured. Marvelous.
Anyway, the AAA guy came and changed the tire (mind you, my husband is perfectly capable of changing it, but she pays for AAA and we had a campsite to set up, so yeah…). Fortunately mom’s spare was a full-sized tire, so it was only a minor inconvenience. Once camp was set up we started a fire, had a few marshmallows, chatted, and then headed to bed, ready to enjoy the rest of our vacation.
Until midnight, when my mother came over to our tent and woke us up. Miss M (the 5 year old) had thrown up in their tent. Now think about this for a minute — we were away from home. No closet full of extra blankets nearby. No warm water with which to clean up said child. Oh, and by the way, she puked all over my sister. So… the child came to our tent, got cleaned up, got her pajamas changed, and curled up with mom and dad. I didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of what had happened until the following morning when I woke up and saw this:
Turns out Miss M (the 5 year old) did some pretty serious damage in their tent and my mom and sister had one solitary clean sleeping bag left. They’d unzipped it and shared it like a blanket. You know it gets down to the upper 30’s during summer nights up near Yellowstone, right? I felt soooooooo badly. Rough night for them. I wish they had told us how bad it was so we could have shared what gear we had!
Next morning Miss M was feeling better. While sleeping bags, pajamas, and blankets were being washed at a local laundromat, we visited a few shops in West Yellowstone. We bought a few souvenirs and hoped that the day would be better than the last.
Here’s the 17 year old-enjoying some campfire corn on the cob the next day. That was tasty stuff…
Yellowstone National Park
Finally we headed to Yellowstone National Park. We saw some pretty cool stuff. If you haven’t been there, you really ought to check it out. Here are a few pictures:
Such beautiful scenery there…
Here is a little video of one of the geysers that we saw…
It was so amazing to me that this stuff is all natural. No movie special effects. It was so cool. After seeing the smaller geysers, we headed to the main attraction — Old Faithful. When we got to Old Faithful’s parking lot, which was our final destination for the day, my husband said, “Crap!” He then proceeds to tell me that he left his wallet in the restroom by some of the smaller geysers we had just visited about 1/2 hour earlier. Well, not many things strike fear in your heart like knowing that a wallet is missing, so we turned the car around and went back to see if the wallet was still there. Of course, we knew it wouldn’t be, but we had to check. No wallet. We headed back to the campsite to get to a place where we had cell phone signal to call and cancel his debit and credit cards. We also tried calling Yellowstone’s Lost and Found number several times. No one answered, no voicemail, nothing. Ugh. We were not looking forward to the headache he would have on Monday trying to get a new driver’s license without having one to show them as ID, but we were determined not to let that ruin our vacation.
In the morning my husband built a fire and I happily made some foil-wrapped, campfire-cooked breakfast sandwiches. When I checked on them a bit later, they were BLACK.
Into the trash they went. I went to a nearby convenience store and bought doughnuts.
The next day we went to Yellowstone Park again. This time we took the northern route up to Mammoth Hot Springs. Along the way we got stuck in a buffalo herd. It was pretty close to an hour before the Park Rangers were able to get all of the bison off of the road. Normally I don’t like traffic jams, but this one was FUN! It was so fascinating to watch those beautiful animals. I even saw a little baby bison nursing right there in the middle of the street. It was amazing!
Along the way to Mammoth, we also stopped at a gorgeous waterfall…
When we got to Mammoth, we saw these beautiful elk just lounging around, even though there were people all over the place. They watched us like we watched them, but they weren’t afraid at all. Just hanging out, lovin’ life.
While in Mammoth, we thought we would stop in the Visitor’s Center and see if they could help us reach the Lost and Found people. There were three workers at the desk, two girls and a guy. We shared our plight with them and were told that since it was now Saturday we would need to wait and call on Monday. It turns out the Lost and Found is not staffed well on Fridays sometimes. The guy seemed like he didn’t have any ideas and one of the girls was totally writing us off and unconcerned, BUT then there was Heather. Wonderful, kind, helpful Heather. She had the idea to call the Visitor’s Center at Old Faithful to see if anyone turned in the wallet over there. Holy crap. SOMEONE DID. Faith in humanity restored! So we got back in our car and took another LONG drive down south to Old Faithful. We got there, got the wallet, and were so tired we didn’t even wait for Old Faithful to erupt. Lame, huh? I was just DONE with tourist-ing and wanted to get back to our campsite and rest. Not many people can say they have been to Old Faithful twice and never seen it erupt. I can. We were relieved to get the wallet back, but I was relieved that our tourist-ing was coming to a close. Don’t judge me.
The next morning I attempted to build a decent campfire (failed) and then had my husband do it. In my defense, I could get one started; I just couldn’t keep it going. We are camping again next month, so I’ll try again then. Anyway, before we packed up all of our gear, we needed to eat. With the assistance of my 17 year old, I made another attempt at campfire-cooking the breakfast sandwiches.
This time the breakfast sandwiches turned out better. The trick seemed to be setting them around the outside of the fire after it had died down a little and checking them frequently. They didn’t look amazing, but they were pretty good camp food!
After breakfast we packed up, headed home, with no further unfortunate events. It was a great weekend getaway, but my own bed has never felt so good! I am so thankful to be home! Are you vacationing this summer? Where?
See you next time!