Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 9,10,11,12 -- We have Junior Rangers!

Day 12, July 11th, Yellowstone NP, WY

Jessica and Sophia completed their Junior Ranger Program Activity books and were awarded their "Bear Patch" at the Visitor Centre by a Ranger today. They are so proud!!

In the morning we did our first family hike at Storm Point. We went with a group for this as I did not relish meeting any bison or bears in the woods on our own. Again we learned so much from the Ranger and had the security to know we were headed the right way as we walked 3.2 km through forest, field and beach. The best part was seeing the yellow bellied marmots. Jessica did this hike well and Tom had to carry Sophia the last kilometer or so.

We all took a nap in the afternoon and then went on another Yellow Bus evening tour. The first stop was to look for Beaver at Fishing Bridge and we saw him for about 20 min! He was munching his own dinner and then swam under the bridge (Sophie and I saw him swimming under the water) and then he stopped off to gather up some grasses to take back to the lodge. We saw our grizzly again, pelican, osprey, otter?, elk, deer and more.

Day 11, July 10th , Yellowstone NP, WY

Today we did a boat cruise of the Lake - the highest in North America which is the crater from a past volcanic eruption. We learned about the trout in the lake and many geology points including that the lake is tilting a few inches as the land "breathes" and rises /falls due to the lava flow just a few miles below the surface. Visitors have been coming hear for the last hundred years via stagecoach and a hotel room was $4 a night including all meals and electricity!

So far we've seen Grizzly, Pelican, Marmot, Bison, Elk, Mule Dear, the Violet-Green Swallow (which I think is so beautiful), Osprey, Swan, Canada Geese, Mallard Duck, ducks, and many types of wildflowers.

This night we went for dinner at Lake Hotel. The hotel is over 100 years old and the dining room was beautiful and food was delicious. Tom had Bison Prime Rib with Lobster and Truffles; I had the Hawaiian Sword Fish with Risotto and the kids had mac and cheese. We had a great bottle of Merlot from Napa Valley and my 2 favourite desserts combined into the Creme Brulee Cheesecake. Our waiter was excellent and again the girls behaved so well in this setting.

As we were leaving we saw they had music and stopped to listen . It was the Lake String Quartet. They played pieces from Sound of Music to Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven. We bought their CD and at intermission met them. The one gentleman there said he noticed our 2 beautiful daughters and he was married to one of the ladies in the band and they had 2 girls as well. One of the ladies showed Jessica the difference between a violin and a viola. We've enjoyed listening to their CD in the car including their rendition of "Kashmir", which Sophia loves.

Day 10 - July 9th, Yellowstone NP, WY

Yellowstone National Park resonates somehow with both Tom and I. We feel like we're in a special place and somehow just being here feels like "home". We both said we will be back a few more times and like to spend a couple weeks here when we're retired. Because this was our 2nd trip we didn't rush around to see Old Faithful, the hot springs and even the bison were just common sights to us. We learned a lot about the geology, forest ecology and the animals from the Forest Rangers who led our tours.
Friday was an early morning photography tour with Doug Hilborn a professional photographer. What a great tour! We got up at 4:45am and boarded the Yellow bus at 5:45am and we saw Grizzly, took pictures of wildflowers, reflection shots of the Tetons, landscape photos in Hayden Valley and Lake Butte overlook. We learned so much about our digital cameras - Tom on the EOS and me on the PowerShot. The girls were fantastic and Doug commented that they each had their Fisher Price Camera too! This was a 6 hour tour returning at 12:00pm . The girls behaved so well. They enjoyed the hot chocolate at breakfast and taking their own wildflower photos.

We went to talk about weasels in the evening and the Ranger brought some pelts which we could feel. Weasels are cool little animals, they help keep the rodent population down; the ermine is used for royalty wear in Europe and the badger and wolverine are also weasels. The Ranger took the kids into a nearby field to spot Weasel holes -- it was fun for them and us too!

Day 9 - July 8th Cody, WY to Yellowstone National Park, WY

We left Cody and headed west, driving through the mountains in a tunnel. Just after the tunnel was Buffalo Bill Dam. We stopped off for a look and it was built by a family to irrigate the land and make it farmable. The engineering here was so good this Dam is still working and it was built by hand mostly in the early 1900's . This is actually the model the Hoover Dam followed.
Pictures of the DAM.

We entered Yellowstone on the East Entrance Road and it was only an hour to our RV park. We stopped off at a pullout to make lunch. On our left was a small waterfall above a valley of wildflowers and on our right was spectacular mountains and valleys. As we ate our lunch in the RV Tom pointed out this Gigantic bug on our screen door that I then made him get up and go outside to shoo away before it somehow crawled in -- it was 2" long at least with 4" antennae and Tom said it flew! Yikes.


  1. We are enjoying reading your blog so much! Sunita, you really have a way with words. I could put myself right there along with you. I can't wait until it is our turn.

    We are very comfortable here in Cedar Beach and even went for a swim in the pool today (yes, we are allowed). Our only gripe is.....EARWIGS!! There are millions of the little critters. Going shopping tomorrow for some Borax powder to spread around the wheels and pipes.

    We rode our bikes right around the lake today and it was most enjoyable. Interesting to see that old holiday cottages and the monster homes that have replaced some of them. We ended the ride with an ice cream from George!

    Looking forward to your next installment!

  2. P.S. Congratulations to the Junior Rangers!