This was by far the fullest day we had-we headed out for Yellowstone around 10:30 AM. I had previously not been farther west than Oklahoma, and I sort of assumed that all the major landmarks to be seen out west were somewhat lumped together. (Wouldn't it just be so convenient if the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore were within a a couple hours of each other?) But wow, after driving through (only PART) of Yellowstone over the course of most of a day, I realize how sadly mistaken I was. Although, part of the reason our driving was slow initially was that we would stop whenever we saw other people pulled over, because that meant an animal was nearby. Our first big animal sighting that day was actually a grizzly bear! We got to see him pretty close up...although other tourists decided that they needed to be even closer to the bear (maybe no one told them bears have killed people?) and the ranger had to keep backing them up.
We also got stuck in construction for half an hour...
And then of course there were the multiple bison that we passed walking down the road- sometimes right in the middle, causing the road to be more or less one lane. These things were huge! And frankly, the bison looked kind of like depressed Eeyors with their slouchy backs and expressionless faces.
Anyway, our first, and featured, stop was Old Faithful. Unfortunately it went off just before we got there so we had to wait another hour or so to see it. It was interesting to learn that Yellowstone has more geysers than anywhere else in the world combined- also that Old Faithful, though not the largest geyser, is one of the only geysers of it's size that erupts predictably and to such consistently great heights (perhaps the only one? I can't remember now.) It's sort of hard to distinguish the water vapor from the actual clouds in the sky...but hopefully you can make it out.
Anyway, the final destination (aside from viewing wildlife) was the upper and lower falls, which are part of a canyon in Yellowstone. Sam, Andre and Jeff's Dad walked down to the falls-I'll have to post some of her up close pictures sometime. The view was incredible!
Finally, we headed back home- saw a herd of bison on the way (and I'll throw in a couple extra picture of animals we saw earlier)...but mostly got back just in time to eat and go to sleep.
Friday, July 9th:
After so much excitement Thursday, Friday was relatively calm. Of course I got my coffee, then we spent the day in town souvenir shopping. There were some really cool shops...one was called "Made" and only sold hand crafted or re-purposed items. I loved it, but everything was much too expensive. We also ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant called "The Merry Piglets." Odd name, but the food was great! We finished up the day with our last cookout at Jackson Lake...some family pictures and more much needed rest.
Saturday, July 10th:
We didn't do much...grabbed breakfast, finished packing and headed for the airport. Parting glances at the beautiful mountains...then we flew back home. (Another 5+ hours total of flying, but again Charlotte did great!) Now we'll relax at home and with another baby coming, maybe we'll be ready for our next vacation in 3 more years??