Day 91 - Yellowstone National Park - Wyoming (USA)

Trip Start Mar 29, 2013
Trip End Aug 17, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Friday, June 28, 2013

Our thoughts are today especially with the lovely Standing family. Quite how a year has passed since we lost our dear friend Phil. Kate you are incredible, the bravest and kindest person we know, despite all you have lost. Giant hugs to you and the boys, so sorry we are not there for you today.

Today had been one of those days where cracking open a beer at 9am seemed appealing. Dylan has had a shocker of a day. So pleased we don't get too many of these. Taya thankfully has noticed that her parents are pretty busy with her brother and has been a superstar.

Thankfully we have a fun packed day in Yellowstone to help ease the burden. Somebody commented on our trip that they didn't know how we did it as they had just had toddler tantrums and a hungry baby on a shopping trip to Croydon. Our response, we still have those, just in a nicer setting. Today was one of those days, and we were definitely pleased not to be shopping in Croydon too!

Rich and Taya have a lovely early morning stroll. Rich is sorry to not have the camera with him as he walks to the river and lake. They spot a deer and its baby, and some Canadian geese. This sets up our Yellowstone animal spotting day nicely. Our route for today from Fishing Bridge is up through the Hayden Valley area we saw some of yesterday, to Canyon, then up to Tower Roosevelt, and to the to north east of the park to the Lamar Valley.

First spot of the day is three people running very quickly up a hill towards the road, followed shortly afterwards by an enormous bison. We are struck by how big and hairy these animals are at the front compared to their smaller and smoother bottoms. We are delighted with our bison spot, however we are unaware of quite how many we will see in the park today. Probably upwards of 200 spotted today, including a group with small brown baby bison. Dylan says they are not with their parents, they are with their nannies, grandads and grandmas. We get him to point out which is which. Bison - tick.

Rich gets out at a turnout to take a photo of the scenery, and comes across a few people who have spotted a bear in the distance. He fetches the rest of the gang and we excitedly run to see what we can see. We spot it, but it quickly disappears behind a tree, so we drive the van higher up the road to give us a better look. The bear is a browny red colour and we are told its a brown bear by other on lookers - more pointy nose and no large hump to the neck like the grizzly's have. This is the first wild bear we have ever seen, and we are thrilled. Brown bear - tick.

The road works further up the park slow us down so we don't quite make the Lamar Valley in time for lunch. We find a scenic picnic pull in instead, and have our lunch in the RV. Emma drives and Rich is chief lookout whilst we drive through the Lamar Valley as the children nap. This area is dubbed the Serengeti of America. It has huge open plains with a river running through it, mountains in the background, and it is peppered with hundreds of bison. We are unable to spot anything else amongst the crowds but we are unfortunately moving by, albeit slowly, and don't have the luxury of sitting gazing for hours to see what shows up.

Not long after the children wake up we are looking for somewhere to stop, and we find a place full of cars mainly dumped at the side of the road and spy a park ranger. We of course with our slightly larger vehicle can't find anywhere to stop, so we wait until the next pull in. We have found a grizzly bear this time. Again it's quite a long way away, but can be seen pretty well with the naked eye, and well with the binoculars. Dylan explains in his own words to new people arriving, "there is a grizzly bear just over there, it looks like a tiny dot but its a bear, moving over to the left by the trees". Thankfully not many people listen in their excitement since its actually moving off to the right. Grizzly bear - check.

On our drive we also spot two little pronghorn's - small tan and white antelopes. Pronghorns - check.

In the Lakes region of the park back towards where we are staying we stop to look at our first geothermal areas in the park. The first is Sulphur Cauldron right by the side of Yellowstone river. Big pots of bubbling mud, and a yellowy green pool of boiling water. We explain about magma to Dylan, he seems to understand. In his words magma is hot liquid inside the worlds ball! The second geothermal site here is Mud Volcano, another boiling pit of mud. Dylan tells us that its hot, we ask him how he knows, "because of the steam and hot bubbles"! Well excuse us for asking.

The mean parents have put Dylan's bus in time out until the morning. Emma gets her comeuppance when she has to explain to the policeman, the soldier, and the beefeater, individually, why they have no bus to ride in.

The really mean parents have also put the iPad in time out today, so no bedtime iPad stories. Rich instead has to recount Billy's Bucket one of his favourite books from home - twice!

We finally get to crack open those beers we have been longing for. A cheers to Phil, and a cheers to our animal spots today. The nighttime activity is swatting horrible mosquitoes which bite through clothes despite us being covered in insect repellant! Nasty little things.
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