Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Horse Camp

Last week Natalie attended horse camp in the morning Monday-Thursday.  Needless to say, she LOVED it!  Everyday she got to ride a horse with the instructor who taught her how to pull the reins to steer the horse, how to stop, how to get going and how to trot.  She also learned that she is supposed to post (stand up and sit down while on the horse to lessen the bouncing) but she couldn't do that but they didn't expect her to after one week.  Everyday she got to groom a horse.  She also helped to give a horse a bath.  She came home dirty, tired but so excited to go back.  She even asked if she could go another week and during the year.  We will have to see about that.

The last day there was a horse show where we could see what she had learned.  Since she is so small,  young and inexperienced she had someone lead her horse.  There are long lead ropes where the instructor can stand in the middle and just turn in circles as the horse walks or trots but Natalie's horse, Memphis, does not like the rope so she had a girl run the horse around the ring.

 Each girl had a chance to tell what their favorite part was of horse camp and also tell a little something about their horse.
At the end each girl got a ribbon for their horse and a certificate.  It was definitely a good experience for her!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Teddy Roosevelt National Park

Our last nature stop was at Teddy Roosevelt National Park.  We stayed in Medora, ND which is quite the touristy town.  Everything is cash only which was a surprise to us and you can't get any groceries in the town and we had a kitchen to use.  Oh well, live and learn.  We did see the Medora Musical which was fun but hokey.

We started out our visit to Teddy Roosevelt with driving around the southern unit.  We saw A LOT of bison and some prairie dogs along the road.  We also saw wild horses which I though Natalie would love but she was kind of in a funk that day.  As we drove back from the northern unit we saw the horses again along the highway.

I really enjoyed the landscape of the park and the striped rock formations.   It was hard to catch the beauty and vastness of the park.  There wasn't tons of hiking so we did a lot of driving and walking to overlooks.  Like I said, Natalie was in a funk and the only way we got her out of the car at the first stop was to give her the binoculars and tell her to see what she could find.  Luckily she perked up.

 It was very windy at the top of one of the hills and N2 wanted to look like they were flying away.
After touring the southern unit we still had time before the musical so we decided to head up to the northern unit not knowing it was an hour away.  But we are very glad we drove up there because we thought the northern unit was more beautiful than the southern unit.  When we first got there we found a place to get out and climb.  It was definitely hot!  N2 loved to climb around on the rocks.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Random Yellowstone

These pictures didn't quite fit in with other posts so I figured I would just create a random post.  You could still see the devastation from the wildfire that went through.  Trees are growing back and getting bigger but there are so many dead trees still standing.

We stopped at some of the smaller waterfalls along the roads.  This first one is Gibbon Falls.
This one is Firehole Falls.
We went out for a drive one night to see wildlife which we didn't see but we did see beautiful colors in the sky!

Here are pictures of my kids.  I really liked the tree that were standing by because it curved out both to the right and left plus curved farther up on the trunk.

Brian liked to take pictures of dead trees and I found the roots of a fallen tree very interesting.

We saw lots of wildflowers when we were out west and I took pictures of some of them.  I loved the fields covered in yellow flowers.  There were spots along the road where people were taking pictures of their kids in the flowers.  I decided not to because I figured my kids wouldn't cooperate.

There were two shades of lupines.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mud Volcano

On the day we were leaving Yellowstone we stopped at Mud Volcano once we had packed everything up.  We had thought there would be mudpots here but there weren't any.  Maybe it was too rainy and the mudpots got watered down?  This was by far the smelliest place we visited-so much so that I almost wanted to hold my nose and Rachel had to keep something up by her nose.  I think one of my kids help their nose at one place but I couldn't get a picture (it may not have even been at Mud Volcano).

Noah really loved Dragon's Mouth Spring.  We watched it for a while and then after we walked the whole trail, he had to go back to see it some more.  It just steamed and steamed from the cave and would push waves of water out.  The entrance to the cave had green rocks all around it.
 Brian realized that we didn't really have any photos to prove that we were together with Dan and Rachel on this trip so this was his way to remedy the situation.
 At Mud Volcano, we also saw Churning Cauldron which really lives up to its name.
Right next to this cauldron was this spot with bright green grass and things growing by the water.  It was so unexpected since everywhere else in Yellowstone, plants don't live that close to the hot springs.  This spring must not have been hot.
We then drove to North Dakota via the northeast entrance to the park.  That is where we saw a bear cub that we think was a black bear.  Once we got out of the park into the Beartooth Mountains we saw 2 more grizzly bears and got caught in an ice storm.  Our trip to Medora, ND took us 9 hours instead of the 6 that google maps said it should take.  The speed limit on the mountain roads was 70 mph and we moved about 25 mph.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Other geyser basins

We didn't have a chance to visit the minor geyser basins on either of the days that we went to Upper geyser basin so we headed back over in that area another day.  We started at the basin that has Great Fountain geyser and we happened to pull in there about 15 minutes before the time frame started of when it could erupt.  We decided to sit and wait for it.  At first Great Fountain didn't impress me-it was pretty small and it seemed to be petering out.  Then it exploded!  I'm glad we didn't leave.

I liked watching the waves of water make waterfalls over the edge of the terrace.
We could see another geyser, White Dome, in the distance (not that far) that had erupted while we were waiting for Great Fountain.  Someone told us that it erupts every 30 minutes.  After Great Fountain erupted we went over there, waited a few minutes and watched White Dome erupt.

We then headed to see the Grand Prismatic Spring at Midway geyser basin because Brian remembers seeing a huge colorful pool when we was a kid.  The parking lots in these areas are a joke.  Passengers get out of their cars before pulling in to the parking lot and then go wait for someone to leave and stand in the spot until their car arrives.  We got stuck in this parking lot for 20 minutes just waiting behind people one day so Brian decided to park along the road so we didn't waste another 20 minutes trying to park.

I loved all the colors in this geyser basin.  Grand Prismatic Spring was all steam covered so you could barely see the vibrant colors.  But there were colors elsewhere and interesting patterns.

We headed to Lower geyser basin and got to see two small geysers go off plus pretty pools and spewing mud.  It rained on us as we drove from Midway basin to here.  Here are Clepsydra geyser and Jet geyser.

After that we headed to Norris geyser basin where Steamboat geyser is.  We couldn't do the small loop because they were building new boardwalk so we skipped the small loop.  We decided to do the 2.6 mile loop but we were also trying to stay ahead of thunderstorm so we walked very quickly.  Luckily there wasn't too much to see.  Most of the pools were not so pretty and the geysers weren't doing anything.  I think you could skip Norris geyser basin.

This is Emerald Spring
Steamboat geyser
This is the most action we saw at Norris

We then drove up to see the terraces at Mammoth.  It poured rain the entire drive and entire time we were at the hot springs plus all the way back to our campground.  I think this was the day it rained for the longest period of time.  We did avoid the thunderstorm at Norris though!  The terraces were so disappointing.  Mom and Dad told me that they had changed but I didn't anticipate hardly finding any terraces at all!

Here is one terrace starting to form
This is what is left of Minerva Terrace.  Some of it is still running but there is no water in the white parts.  I'm not sure it was worth the drive up to Mammoth since it is quite the distance.