I reach into my pocket to warm my hands and without fail I stumble upon a collection of pine cones, dutifully collected by my eldest. I notice that I’m smiling to myself and realise that these pine cones are bringing as much joy to me as they do to her. I’m walking a few steps behind my children as they explore a National Trust property. Every couple of steps they’ll drop to the floor or reach to the sky at the next snippet of nature they’ve discovered. Today we’re using the zoom on the camera to look at things up close, it’s a little like a pocket microscope for the field and they are in awe; a leaf, some bracket fungus an old piece of wood all look so different under the zoom. It’s only today that I’ve realised that my eldest has always loved the outdoors and adventure (the nature argument), however it’s coming to the youngest and it’s clear that a love of the outdoors can be nurtured very easily when there is so much to discover.
Ok… so we travelled for 3 weeks almost a year ago. It was a fantastic experience, we saw some ‘once in a lifetime’ things and and my two children still talk about it constantly! I would love to take them out of school and travel forever but if i’m honest this isn’t a realistic option right now… but perhaps one day. The thing is I keep getting asked when we are going back to Yellowstone, when we can go on Safari to Africa or by my Crocdile mad 3 year old when we can visit Australia Zoo. I’ve been telling myself the blog was just for the amazing holidays we might be able to afford once every couple of years then I remembered the essence of the blog is to get kids outside, exploring and enjoying a little bit of adventure. We have been incredibly lucky to do what we have been able to so far but we have also had some amazing adventures in our back garden too. I’m going to start looking at some of the amazing things we’ve done and write about them retrospectively but also hope to put a few bits in that help others do the same things too. I’m going to start with this little video of us climbing a local hill. The video was really easy to put together on my phone and my daughter helped me to do it. She loved designing the video, choosing the design, text and music and was absolutely made up when with the finished product. Although there is a lot of negativity around screen time with children its another way to let their creative minds loose and what a brilliant way to capture their memories!
Today we left Steamboat Springs and headed for our hotel near the airport in Denver. It was a long time in the car so Eliza and I watched some films on the iPad. First we watched Balerina and then Swallows and Amazons and then Inside Out. Swallows and Amazons was great. We stopped for a picnic at lunch time but there were lots of insects so we ate it in the car. The view over the lake was cool and there was a little boat on it. The road was really high up in the mountains and there was a lot of snow. (Daddy said the highest point was at Berthoud pass at 11300 feet).
We’re at our hotel now Eliza said she has missed everybody but I want to go back to our hotel in Steamboat Springs and the log cabin in Yellowtone to see some more bears. I miss everyone too and can’t wait to see Toby and my hamster again.
The best bit of my holiday was seeing the Mummy Grizzly bear with her two cubs.
So we slowed down a little and spent two nights in the beautiful Steamboat Springs. Unfortunately Martha bumped her head so we needed to take it easy for a while. A little walk along the river, a visit to a Toy shop where Martha chose a joke kit and Eliza some Tattoos (Not sure what insight that’s gives me to the teenage years!) and a visit to a fabulous library.
I’ve just asked Martha what she wanted to write about Steamboat Springs and she said she loved it and would like to live here.
Today we had a lot of driving to do. There was lots to look at but I went on my iPad a lot too. It took 7 hours and we didn’t leave until late so we could go for a swim in the pool first.
On our way we saw a really red river and I said it looked like a slush puppy when you mix blue and red slush. After a little while we saw the slush river (Hoback River) meet a normal one (Granite Creek) and the rivers were 2 different colours next to each other. I got out of the car with Mummy to have a better look and to take some pictures. The slush looked epic!
We saw three really long trains. We couldn’t see the end or the start of 2 of them but we were going next to one and Mummy counted how many carriages there were. She counted 191 carriages! I’ve never seen a train like that before.
We crossed into Colorado again and all took some funny pictures by the sign. We are now in a hotel and even though Daddy did all the driving he has gone to get us a Chinese takeaway 🙂
We are now in Steamboat Springs. It’s late so we will explore tomorrow. Mummy has just read the hotel information and it says there are a lot of bears around the hotel at the moment so we’ll keep our eyes open for them.
Today we went to explore the Tetons. We took a road through the woods and saw a bear and a moose. It was amazing!
We went to Jenny Lake but we couldn’t get a canoe because the water is still too cold so we went on a boat trip. I made a new friend on the boat and she gave me some of her Grizzly bear biscuit. The boat was cool and I liked it when we went fast.
Then we went to Jackson and had a drink in the Cowboy cafe. We had a look around and went in some of the shops. In the middle there are 4 big arches made from real antlers. Mummy bought me some flip-flops because I’ve been pestering for some for ages and they are really nice.
We had a Chinese for dinner and I used chopsticks. I ate all of Mummy’s prawns (they call them shrimp here) and lots of Daddy’s beef. At the end we all got a fortune cookie.
On the way home we went to look for more animals and we found a bald eagle.
Today we headed off through Yellowstone and out of the south entrance. We stopped at Grand Prismatic Spring as we haven’t seen that yet. It was amazing. There were lots of colours, reds, oranges, browns, blues and lots of steam. The colours are made from different coloured bacteria called thermophiles. You are not allowed to throw anything in because it will block the geysers and spoil it for everyone else.
On our way we saw a frozen lake. We looked on the map and it was called Lewis lake. We stopped to take a photo and I threw a snowball at daddy and put one up his t-shirt.
Into the Tetons and Jackson lake
We stopped at Jackson lake for a picnic lunch. It was beautiful. I threw some stones in the lake.
We got to the hotel in Driggs which is in a new state, Idaho and it has a pool so we all went swimming. We went to a pub for dinner and I made two new friends.
Today when we stopped I realised I had my shoes on the wrong feet and my trousers on back to front. Mummy said that was typical Martha and took a picture.
We went to the Lower Falls again but the road is open now so I saw it from the other side. We walked down a very big, steep hill and got to stand right next to the waterfall. It was amazing.
We went to look at more Geysers at Mammoth and we saw a black bear on the way. It was a long way away but we could see it on mummy’s camera. There were some Bison in the road and it was a traffic jam.
The geysers at Mammoth were cool. It was like being on another planet.
We saw some Elk lying in a field.
We walked down another big hill and Mummy and Eliza saw some bear hair. Daddy and I saw a ground squirrel. Daddy said it was a chipmunk but I said it was a ground squirrel. Daddy didn’t believe me until I showed him my book. I was right!
We stopped again to look at the view and saw a man with a spotting scope. We asked what he was looking at and there was some pronghorn on the cliff and they had just had a baby.
We stopped at the north entrance. It’s called the Roosevelt entrance. We stopped at the 45th parallel. This is half way between the equator and the North Pole. It was by a cool river with lots of rapids.
There were lots of nice views today because we did the upper ring road where there are less people. It was a long day and Mummy said you see lots of wildlife as it gets to the evening. Then we saw 2 coyote more Elk and a grizzly bear with 2 cubs. It was amazing and then best bit so far. I was so excited!
Today we went to look at Geysers on the West side of Yellowstone. We went to look at Old Faithful again and did a very long walk around all the other Geysers around there. I saw lots of different poo so I took pictures of lots of it so I could check what animal did it. You aren’t allowed to go off the paths in case the ground is on fire but some animals had and we saw their tracks on the ground. The Geysers were lots of different colours like a rainbow. We went to look at a waterfall and we all had a picture. I don’t want to write any more tonight because I’m very tired.
Oh and I took a picture of a Bison and it stated to do a poo so I checked the camera and I took a picture of it.
Each night we upload the pictures from Martha’s camera and there are lots of funny videos she has taken of herself whilst sitting in the back of the car. Unfortunately at the moment our wifi signal isn’t strong enough to upload video but we hope to add some later on in the trip.
Today we went to the Museum of the Rockies. It was brilliant because we got to look at dinosaurs and crocodiles. There was a crocodile part with real crocodiles, an olden days part, a dinosaurs part and a geology part. I went in the gift shop and bought some pretty rocks, one was a crystal, one a peacock stone and one a geode. Eliza bought some dinosaur shaped rocks. We went into the planetarium to watch a programme about space and time and gravity. My favourite part of the museum was when I got my rocks.
After that we went to a cool cafe that had a bison head on the wall. I had soup and some homemade bread and I got a cake to take with me.
We drove back to West Yellowstone and we are staying in a new wooden cabin. It has a toilet and shower, not like the other one. We have sent Daddy out for Cheesy Pizza and we are playing outside.
On our way here we stopped because Daddy thought he saw a bear but it was just a monument. We also stopped to see people white water rafting on the rapids. I really want to have a go but Mummy and Daddy said we’ll have to see as the rivers are really high with all the snow melting and going into them. They said I might have to go on a gentle river but I told them I would be fine on the river we saw the grown ups on.
West Yellowstone is at about 2000m above sea level and almost exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole. The coldest it’s ever been here is -54 degrees Celsius.