Heidi and I had kind of toyed around with the idea of making a trip up to Yellowstone the week after her Mary Poppins performance, but we never really decided on anything. So I was surprised when I woke up Monday morning and she announced that we should head up there that night. I was up for it though so we went. We drove up there that evening after the boys' baseball games and checked into our adorable hotel room. We then took the kids swimming before going to bed.
The next morning I realized that Stella probably thought we were going to a park, like one with slides and stuff, so I was trying to explain that Yellowstone Park was just nature. After this realization, I don't think she was that excited anymore, but she still ended up having a great time.
As we first got into the park everything was moving along smoothly until we were totally stopped in traffic. There were so many cars ahead of us that we couldn't see why. We were barely moving at all for at least half an hour. So I finally got out to walk and see what the hold up was. It was a herd of buffalo just standing in the road. Which I have heard happens all the time. I think that the buffalo know exactly what they are doing and are just trying to get us to stop coming to Yellowstone. It didn't work though because by the time we finally caught up to them and saw the 50 or so buffalo with babies and stuff just walking along the road we thought they were pretty cool. And it was Catcher's favorite part of the day. So it only made us like Yellowstone more, so the buffalo aren't as smart as they think.
The buffalo got us off to a slow start, but pretty soon we were hitting lots of spots: Firehole Falls, where we saw a female moose sitting in a meadow, and the Fountain Paint Pots. The sulfur pots are the only thing I really remember from Yellowstone when I went as a kid and I freaking love them. I remember seeing them for the first time and wondering why no one had told me something this cool existed on Earth. Years later, I still love them.
Pretty soon we were at Old Faithful with enough time to eat lunch and catch the famous geyser doing its thing.
We were in the car for a while after that as we made our way around the park. The kids were super quiet in the car as some watched movies and the others fell fast asleep. After about an hour in the car we stopped at the Mud Volcano site. It was a really cool spot, but Stella would tell you that the "Dragon" in the cave was scary and that it was a very smelly place.
We saw so many buffalo on our way to the Upper and Lower Falls. One even crossed the street in front of us again. I had to tell these people who were looking the other way at ducks or something that there was a huge buffalo RIGHT behind them. (I'm just like my dad--I can't leave people alone to miss anything cool.) Then we saw Lower and Upper Falls where we had a great view and Stella found a butterfly that she loved.
Okay, so by this time we were totally exhausted. We had one more stop that we really wanted to make before the drive home and that was Norris Geyser Basin. So we got there and there were a few different trails to take. We picked one and started walking. Then we reached a point where we could turn around or head a little bit further and see a few other geysers. We decided to walk a little further. Only we picked the trail that took us totally out of the way. I said to Heidi: "It's weird, I must be turned around because I feel like we are walking away from the car." Nope, my sense of direction was right on. When we found another map we realized we had walked this whole huge area that we would have never chosen on purpose. We just laughed and kept on moving. The good thing was it was probably everybody's favorite thing we did, plus I got some cool pics, plus it was late so there was like nobody else around us. But I was hungry and almost passed out from hunger before making it to the car (I didn't have any snacks because we were away from our car for like an hour more than we thought we would be). Anyway, it was worth it. I survived thanks to Cy who pushed Stella's stroller uphill through all the gravel when I thought I was done for.
We had dinner in West Yellowstone at this place with the best pizza I have ever had in my life, and after that we headed home which was unfortunately not uneventful because Heidi got pulled over. She was really nice to the officer though and so only got cited for having an expired license, so it ended up being okay. We were so tired that night and Stella fell asleep in like two seconds and it might be the first night ever that Heidi and I were just too tired to say goodnight to each other. But we had an amazing time making loads of memories with our cute kids and it was totally worth it.