Thursday, September 4, 2014

Yellowstone Lake

Day 7: A Day on the Lake! Even though there was a thick layer of clouds and mist, we decided to head down to Yellowstone Lake since Chris and kids had never seen that part of the park.

We saw these cuties on the drive out.
First stop: a bison kill in Hayden Valley with two robust looking Grizzly Bears feeding on it. We parked nearby and spent some time looking at the scene (along with dozens of others!) through our binoculars.

Next stop: Yellowstone Lake. By this time the clouds seemed to be breaking up a little so we decided to take our chances and rent a fishing boat with a guide to see some of the lake and have the kids try fishing. Within minutes the wind kicked up and the rain slashed down as each of the kids went fishing. Everyone ended up wet and shivery, but they caught 5 fish total.

We also pulled up to a backcountry campsite on the edge of the lake. Our guide let us disembark for a bit so we walked around and explored the site.

On the ride home we saw a small raft of American White Pelicans!

Not wanting to go a day without a hike, we chose a short trail on the lake called Storm Point. The kids seemed to like getting out of the car and stretching their legs on the trail under broken clouds.

The darlings of the trail...
We finished the day visiting the North rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. With the cool weather, the lookouts weren't busy and while Chris took more photos we watched an active Osprey nest. We even saw one Osprey bring up a fish from the Yellowstone River in his talons!

There was snow on Dunraven Pass as we drove home.

Horses and Hiking

Day 6: Horses and a hiking! Started the day with a trail ride in Jardine, a tiny gathering of shacks and a now defunct gold mining operation north of Gardiner outside the park. Ember has been longing for a real trail ride, but since she's only six, she's too young for a ride in the park. We found Specimen Creek Outfitters and signed up for a one hour trail ride for me and the kids.

We all loved feeding them from our hands. I've never felt anything like that dry, velvety muzzle.

On the trail...

Group shot!

The weather was much cooler and overcast, but by the time we finished lunch, the clouds had parted so we chose a nearby five mile hike to the beaver ponds near Mammoth.

After a short steep section, the trail leveled off, the kids were happily chatting their way down the trail, and the views were incredible.Here we're looking north towards the area where we were on horseback earlier in the day.

The beaver ponds sans beavers!
Just as we were making our way down the final section of trail, the heavy clouds had rolled back in and it started to downpour. Instead of a cookout, we made spaghetti in our little room and enjoyed an early evening at home.
This was taken during a break in the rain from our balcony that evening.