Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wondrous Wildlife

 A ground squirrel, just chillin' by the side of the trail.  The wildlife was amazing, different from other places we've lived.  Below are samples, only what I could get a picture of.  Also seen but not pictured is an American Pine Marten (or some other weasel-looking mammal), Osprey (barely seen), deer, and some other birds.  Sadly no moose, black bears or eagles.

 Magpies invading our picnic site

 This coyote looks a little better fed than the ones in Arizona

 Yellow-bellied marmot on our hike to the Natural Bridge

 A beautiful male Elk that was seen often by himself in these woods in the middle of the day. 

 This herd was seen at 6am one misty morning, the largest group we saw.

 And I would like to thank my Canon Rebel T3 with my new telephoto lens for the shot of this cutie.

 Elk are very common in Yellowstone, we saw them every day, though not always as perfect as this.  It was amazing how they weren't afraid, allowing themselves to be seen so often.  Once, though, a female charged a group of tourists that were getting too close. 

This tiny speck is a Grizzly bear.  We could see it better using some nice person's binoculars, and it was one of Mason's favorite things about the trip.

Bison were probably our favorite wildlife given their uniqueness, closeness, and rarity, though we still saw them often.  They deserve their own blog post they are so cool!  So stay tuned....

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Yellowstone - Introduction

This summer's family vacation was camping in Yellowstone National Park.  In summary, it was a phenomenal vacation.  It was a lot of hard work, both preparing for and in daily activity.  We were camping with two small children, after all.  We never would have survived without our ingenious and thorough preparation.  Kevin did almost everything from packing (and didn't forget anything!) to buying individual/dual DVD players for the kids.  These players saved our lives. 

Erika bought quite a few small toys as rewards and car entertainment.  These she wrapped, so the kids got "presents" along the way.  It worked well to keep them behaved.

We did actually forget one thing - Mason's shoes.  Kevin didn't pack any, and Erika put the kids straight from bed (notice the PJs) into the car, sans shoes.  Day two in the car we went to a Walmart and bought a pair.  The irony is that Camryn had four pairs. 

We survived the car ride and arrived!  We ended up setting up camp with barely enough light.  Dada and Mason shared a tent and air mattress and Mama and Cami shared the tiny tent, with only thin pads.  Who decided that was fair?

Day one we spent in the Upper Geyser Basin.  There was so much to do there!  We walked the trails and saw so many geysers, hot springs, and steam pots.   Erika took almost 400 photos the entire trip, and hasn't had time to sort them all yet, so here is a sampling of day one.

Castle geyser
 View of the basin and Yellowstone river.

 Chromatic pool, a hot spring

The spectacular Old Faithful.  We saw this probably 4-5 times the entire trip and it was one of Mason's favorite things.  Then we went back to camp to finish setting up and have some campfire food!