Yay hiking!

Hike along the lake in Yellowstone, Grant Village

West Thumb Geysers at sunset

Yikes! Geysers!

Geysers, you say?

June 25, 2017
We woke up lateish while Lynne went to the store to get supplies for the next 3 nights in Yellowstone. The kids and I sauntered to the hotel breakfast, then swam in the nice outdoor pool for a bit. I’d forgotten how cold you get when getting out of a pool in the west, even on a hot day.
We packed up and headed out of town, on the way treating the kiddos to some fine Dairy Queen hamburgers and shakes. A beautiful drive over a pass on highway 14, with alpine lakes and snow still on the north faces of the mountains. There were several areas where forest fires had torn through, maybe 5 to 10 years ago, with new trees popping up between the fallen bleached trees. We made it to Yellowstone lake around 2, and Gretchen was thrilled to use her 4th grader card to get into the park. We stopped in the Fishing Bridge visitor’s center to get Jr Ranger packets and had an interesting talk with the ranger about forest fires. The really big one was in 1988, in which 35% of the park was burned. Lynne and I came through in 1992 and saw the devastation, and thankfully the park is doing better now. Apparently smaller (and less hot) forest fires are normal and healthy for these forests, some of the trees have adapted to these fires– their cones pop open at 150°f!
We set up our campsite in Grant Village, H269. There are over 400 campsites in this place, and it’s booked solid all summer. The kids were itchy to go explore, so I took them for a short hike to the lake and over to the visitor’s center. Along the way we had to take off our shoes and walk through the water (the water levels are really high this year and the bridge washed out), it was really cold, so cold that Desmond said he could feel his bones shaking inside his skin.
We met Lynne and ate dinner at a great little restaurant near the center, right on the water.
At sunset we went to the West Thumb Geysers, it was really interesting, bubbling pools of hot water, steam, and rings of bacteria around the pools. Gretchen correctly identified elk tracks and scat. We had the place to ourselves, and it was really peaceful.

All of us were super tired, and it was late (sunset after 9pm up here) so we just crawled in the tent and went to bed.