Archive for August, 2011

Family Vacation 2011- Part 7

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Anna and Kevin had church to attend, so we went to the park solo on Sunday, July 17th. Anna had given us a map and circled what sites she thought we should see, and I so wish I could find it because it would help me identify some of our pictures and remind me what we saw.

We started the day seeing a moose! Which I totally loved because it was the one animal I wanted to see. It was a female moose, but it was still totally fun to see a moose.

We drove the “Going to the Sun Road,” which is the only road that goes through the park, but it also goes over the mountains. It is an awesome road, where you drive along side the cliff of the mountains, and it offered some beautiful sites.

When we first drove the road, we were in awe of all the waterfalls and views.

As we drove the road we made some stops. Logan Pass Visitor’s Center was one. It’s the highest point in the park, and it had huge snow piles on it still. Right by the visitor’s center we also saw mountain goats.

We stopped at Blackfoot Glacier lookout, where we got to see, and know we were seeing, our first glacier. There are several in the park, but it was hard to know what were just snow covered mountain tops and what were glaciers. (Side note, the glaciers are predicted to melt down to just snow fields by 2020 so go visit soon, because then they’ll just be snow.)

After we made the whole trip through the park, we stopped at the St. Mary’s Visitor’s center and then drove back and decided to take a hike. We hiked to Virginia Falls, which was a beautiful hike and one I highly recommend. (It starts as St. Mary’s Falls and then you continue one to Virgina Falls.)

After the hike, which we had our car unlocked for the whole time but nothing was stolen or taken, we drove on back with a just a couple more stops, such as McDonald’s Lodge, and whatever took our fancy.

It was a fun day. We ended it with dinner at the cabin and more talking. We played Uno on a few different occasions, so this may have been one of those nights, or Anna and I may have gone grocery shopping, I’m not sure, but it was a fun night with friends.

Visit Family Vacation 2011 Pictures-Part 7 for more information and all the pictures.

Family Vacation 2011 Pictures- Part 6

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Here are the pictures that go with the Family Vacation 2011-Part 6 post.


Please do not walk into the water girls. 🙂


Lake McDonald inside Glacier National Park.


The rocks near the shore were just begging to be thrown in.


The girls on our hike, Trail of the Cedars, with a cedar behind them.


Avalanche Gorge, Glacier National Park.



The girls in a cool tree.



Lilah by the creek.


The girls and I by the creek.


It’s primal. Little girls must throw rocks into any lake, river, creek, whatever it is.


What was overhead.


Us by a huge cedar.

Lilah picking the nose of the “nose tree.”


Jonathan by McDonald Falls.

Family Vacation 2011- Part 6

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

We got into Hungry Horse, Montana kinda late, I think a little later than 8 pm, but since sunset isn’t till after 9 pm, it still seemed early. We called Anna as we got there so they could give us directions to the cabin, and I was surprised to find out it was in a Bible camp. For some reason that had totally slipped my mind, or not made an impression. (They own the cabin and lease the land from the Bible camp. Kevin’s grandfather and grandmother are who originally built the cabin, and now Kevin’s family uses it and his mother volunteers each year as a nurse for a short period of time.) Anna and Kevin had a delicious meal waiting for us, so we were able to eat and get settled quickly that night

I’m sure we stayed up late. With being at a higher latitude and closer to the North Pole, sunset take place later in the day. I’m not sure what time it rises, since we were able to kinda sleep in each day, or not have to rise at dawn. So the girls went to bed closer to 10 pm each night, and the adults went to bed around midnight, though I think there was at least one night we turned in early.

Our first day in Montana, Saturday, July 16th allowed us to do a couple things, laundry and showers were first on the list. Oh how nice it was to get everyone clean and to wash our clothes! It was nice to not smell like campfire and to look more like regular people while touring and hiking the park.

After we got settled and errands done we went to Glacier and visited The Apgar Visitor’s center in West Glacier. Jon and the girls had to get their junior ranger packets to complete, and we wanted to ease into the park and slight altitude change.

We first walked a part of Lake McDonald. The waters were so high that some stairs that normally lead to the waters front were covered with water on the first few steps. Of course every time we came near water the girls wanted to throw rocks in. I may have had this same impulse, though I was trying to skip rocks, but failed terribly.

We took a short nature trail, Trail of the Ceders, and enjoyed seeing Avalanche Gorge. The river and creek waters have a beautiful greenish tint, which comes from rock flour that the glaciers have ground up and is suspended in the water. The lakes have a turquoise coloring, and oh, it is so beautiful. I think Glacier National Park was my favorite park when it came to scenery.

After our short walk we stopped at some other places and then went home and enjoyed dinner and the company of the Cotton’s.

Just a quick thank you to Anna and Kevin for welcoming us into their cabin for the 6 nights. Anna has been inviting us to Glacier for a while and I’m so happy we were able to finally make the trip. It was a beautiful park to visit, and I’m so happy I didn’t have to camp out in grizzly country! They said that about Yellowstone, but it seems like there are even more bears in Glacier.

For pictures that go with this post visit: Family Vacation 2011 Pictures-Part 6.

Family Vacation 2011 Pictures- Part 5

Monday, August 1st, 2011

For the post that goes with these pictures read: Family Vacation 2011- Part 5.


Bacterial mats are everywhere. The colors come from what bacteria are inhabiting the water and correlate with what temperature the water is. The bluer the water the hotter it is. The orange and red are cooler temperatures, but still hot, and have different bacteria and organisms.


This spring is what fed the previous bacteria mat.

Twig Geyser. (These pictures come from Fountain Paint Pot.)


Scenery at Fountain Paint Pot.


Excelsior Geyser. See the people on the other side, that gives you an idea of how large this geyser basin is.


The Grand Prismatic Spring. It was so steamy you couldn’t really see to the other side. I was sad that I wasn’t able to see it well.


Then I read the sign that said it is often cloaked in steam. (I thought I’d get a better view, something similar to the picture, but from the ground.)


A cool picture of one of the other springs in the same area, the Midway Geyser Basin.


Lilah really wanted a picture of us walking into the steam, ironically she was walking in front of me and cannot be seen.


Firehole Spring. It was really cool to sit and watch because it had bubbles of water or air continuously coming up and erupting at the surface.


Great Fountain Geyser, it was said that it might go off at 9-11 pm the night we saw it.


My crazy family in front of Firehole Lake

The moon rising over Yellowstone Lake.


A huge heard of bison. It was the largest group we had seen. I’m pretty sure we’d seen most of them, just not together like this.


Newest Yellowstone Junior Rangers.


Roosevelt Arch, at the North Entrance of the park. I was so excited because I thought it was on a different entrance, and didn’t know we’d be exiting through it.


Some of the Rocky Mountains! It was so cool to drive along side of them.

Family Vacation 2011- Part 5

Monday, August 1st, 2011

On our final full day at Yellowstone, Thursday, July 14th, we decided to visit the places we had missed and one that we had already seen.

In our hast on the first day we had missed some pretty cool places on the lower loop, so we used our time going back and visiting them. We still did not visit every site in Yellowstone, but we saw most. If we were to go back, we’d plan on going to the places we missed, going on some hikes, and trying to be patient while we waited and watched some wild life in hopes to see bears and wolves. On our last day we passed two groups that had seen bears, and had we not been trying to get to Montana at a decent hour, we’d have waited to see if the bears came back. You could easily spend a week at Yellowstone seeing all it had, and I almost wish we had one more day so we could have done a hike and been able to visit each entrance/exit into the park.

On our final day we were able to see some pretty cool places, and it did not rain, so it was actually a slightly warmer day. (We had regularly been in and out of our jackets the previous days.)

Our first stop was at Fountain Paint Pot, not to be confused with Artists Paintpot, which I originally had the wrong name of Artist Point in my previous post. Fountain Paint Pot had some similar features, but with more mudpots and springs, but it also had very active geysers, small geysers, but active. On this clear, yet humid day, there was tons of steam coming out of the springs, and geysers, and we really got lung fulls of the rotten egg steam. It was hard to breath at places and annoying when you couldn’t get a good picture.

Our mid-morning stop was at Grand Prismatic Spring, which also had the Excelsior Geyser. Both were so beautiful to see, when and if the steam cleared. The beautiful blue colors of the water were gorgeous and the steam offered you a refreshing hard-boiled egg sauna outside, which both warmed you up while you were in it, and made the day feel even cooler once out of the steam. After seeing the spring we sat and ate our lunch outside with a view of the Firehole River.

Since those were they only two things we planned to see we also drove the Firehole Lake Drive, which offered some fun springs and geysers to see. One geyser, the Great Fountain geyser, we learned was going to possibly go off that night, with the start time of somewhere around 9-11 pm, but we decided not to go back and see it. It would have been a great show, since it is a pretty high and long lasting geyser, like for hours, when it does go off.

Since Jon decided to become a junior ranger, we went and saw Old Faithful for a second time. He was needing to time it, and was still needing the papers to fill out and complete. We sat and waited a while for this second eruption, pretty similar to the first, but this one lasted for 4 minutes, about twice as long as our previous eruption. We enjoyed a small meal once more at the cafe, just to tide us over till we got back to camp. Sadly, once we returned we found out that someone had stolen our firewood! It was a sad night, but we made the most of it by buying some kindling, basically wood cut up to smaller pieces, and then enjoying some ice cream instead of s’mores. (We tried to gather some wood from around the site, but most of it was too small.)

We did what organizing we could that night to prepare for leaving in the morning, which we got up super early for, but still not early enough to leave by 9 am.

We packed up and left on Friday, July 15th. On our way out we stopped to get the junior ranger badges and some snacks and I was so excited that we left through the historic Roosevelt arch that was built in 1903.

Our next destination would be Hungry Horse, Montana. One of the best parts of the trip to Montana was traveling along the Rocky Mountains, which I thought was really fun and super cool.

To see the pictures that go with this trip visit: Family Vacation 2011 Pictures- Part 5.

Family Vacation 2011 Pictures- Part 4

Monday, August 1st, 2011

To read the post about these pictures visit Family Vacation 2011- Part 4.
(It’s actually one of the shortest posts)
We took nearly 800 pictures on this trip, and I don’t want to have tons of long posts, so that’s why I’m breaking them up.

You can click on any image to enlarge.


A picture of the Yellowstone River’s Upper Falls, from the Lower Falls trail.

My cutie-pie with the Yellowstone Canyon behind him. You might know him as Jonathan.


Us at the brink of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.


Lilah took this cute picture of Eden.


The Yellowstone Canyon.


An up close and personal picture of the Lower Falls.


The osprey nest we saw, through our binoculars.


The Lower Falls, from far away.



Adorable sisters.


Lilah saw Obsidian Cliff with Daddy.


Mammoth Hot Springs


A nursery of mama and baby elk. The Old Fort in the Mammoth area is the only place that has planted grass, and the elk have always come and eaten it.


Lilah with a petrified redwood. Her and Daddy took they walk, while Eden and I kept dry and looked at it from the car.

This pictures makes me laugh for a few reasons: It was cold and windy on this mountain, hence our cuddle pose, Eden’s hair is crazy, my eyes are closed and Lilah’s expression is funny.


Baby bison. Ahhhh.


Can you find the grizzly bear?


OK, neither can I, but I outlined the area we saw him in.

Family Vacation 2011- Part 4

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, was our second full day at Yellowstone. The day looked more promising, but still cloudy so we headed off to go explore the upper loop in Yellowstone.

We started our day at the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River in the Yellowstone Canyon. It had been raining kinda hard the day before, but at this time it was just cloudy. Here we had to hike down around 8-10 switchbacks to get to be right at the waterfall. It was an amazing view and totally worth it. Going up was rather hard and we had a few rests to help the girls, and this out of shape momma.

We then stopped to get a distant view of the falls, but with this stop we got the treat of seeing an osprey nest on top of a little cliff. It even had some babies in it! We had our binoculars, something I highly recommend if you go to the park, and were able to see the babies a little better than just with our naked eye.

Lilah had been reading the Yellowstone newspaper and read about a junior ranger patch, so we stopped and picked up the packet for the girls so they could become junior rangers while at the Canyon Village Visitor’s Center. We then spent some time looking around and finding some of the information needed for the packet.

As we drove the upper loop we enjoyed little stops, like Roaring Mountain and Obsidian Cliff. We then barely made it in time to Mammoth Hot Springs to hear a ranger talk, which is one of the things the girls needed for their junior ranger patch. (Any ranger talk would do, but this would be the last one of the day that we’d be able to attend.) While at this talk Jon saw some adults with the junior ranger paper, they too were earning their junior ranger patch, so he then went back and forth about earning his. Since he had to complete all the pages, earning his patch would mean a repeat visit to Old Faithful, eventually he decided he would earn the badge.

While at Mammoth Hot Springs the weather turned gray again, and shortly after we left it started to rain.

The upper loop had less sights to stop at, but it was a beautiful drive. We saw some some gorgeous mountain ranges and were able to enjoy the fresh air once the clouds cleared. (That was most of our visit, clouds, a little rain, sun, repeat. It did keep the temperatures cooler.)

Once back to camp we prepared dinner and this was the night I was finally able to shower. Hallelujah! We went as a whole family with plans that Jon and the girls would hang out at the visitor’s center, which was fortunate because it was also the night we were able to watch a grizzly bear! Again, we watched through the binoculars to get a better view, but you could easily see it with your naked eye. He was chasing some bird around and playing in the river, so I don’t think he was very hungry, but mostly just playful. We didn’t get a good picture of him. because it was dusk and he stayed in the brush area.

After my shower and the bear commotion we were able to enjoy a nice night around the fire and Jon and the girls worked on their papers for their junior ranger badges.

To visit the pictures that go with this post go to: Family Vacation 2011 Pictures- Part 4.

July Highlights

Monday, August 1st, 2011

For half of July we were on a trip, so it was so hard to keep track of fun things that were said or done. I hope to keep better track during August.


Wanting emergency information in case we forget about you and get lost while we’re camping. “Maybe I’ll tell someone my address and they can take me home.”

Writing in your journal for our trip.

Working hard on your Junior Ranger badges at each park.

Walking around camp and getting dirty.

Finally getting to use your poncho on our last day at Glacier while we were at the Many Glacier area. For any little rain drop you had wanted to use it, but we always made you wait and it would stop raining. This time it not only rained, but it hailed while we were hiking back to the shelter of the lodge.

‘Well since they’re domesticated they live in stables and might need to be kept warm.” You said this while talking about ponchos for horses with your dad.


While visiting a cemetery in Monroe you said, “I bet some people in there were killed by wild animals.”

Drawing pictures of different lakes on our stop.

Saying, “That’s so beautiful,” to all the new sights we saw.

Working hard on your Junior Ranger badges at each park.

I put the cupcakes for your birthday on the counter, so the frosting wouldn’t be so hard from being in the fridge. While waiting for Lilah to finish her dinner I was checking e-mail, then I turn around to see you eating a cupcake before we had a chance to sing happy birthday to you! Daddy let you have two cupcakes, the one you had already started to eat and the one we had your candles in while we sang to you.


Changing your underwear while in my sleeping bag. Gross!

Working hard on your Junior Ranger badges at each park.

Growing a beard during our vacation, and now keeping it. I still get poked by your whiskers when we kiss.