Saturday, August 2, 2014


{this should have been at least 3 posts…it's kinda long}

Emily and Anda have been friends since they were 2 years old.
This summer they decided to get jobs in West Yellowstone 
and have a fun summer adventure together.

Lots of sweet memories were made...
many life lessons learned...
and their bank accounts grew!

I borrowed some of Emily's instagram pics
to share a glimpse of her summer.

In August we drove up to pick her up and enjoyed a few days in the beautiful area of Yellowstone!

Finding last minute lodging is a tricky business but we got lucky and found some affordable options.  The first night we stayed at the Yellowstone Inn.  It was clean and cozy.  The walls were rather thin so in the morning we heard our neighbors but the price was great.

 We had some time to kill before we could meet up with Emily so we decided to drive back towards Island Park and check out a flea market we saw on our drive up.  We were so glad we did because we found a few Christmas gifts and a enjoyed all the eye candy and beautiful setting.

We took Em and Anda out to dinner and had a great time catching up on their summer adventures.

Our first day we spent fishing and sketching and reading amongst the beautiful wild flowers.
We were waiting to explore the park with Emily but ventured in just to get a little taste!

The wild flowers were abundant everywhere!

This book was recommended by the ranger we met needing a ride.  
His wife did the art work. 

We went in for some pie right before Emily got off work.
She is pretty cute server :)

Ousel Falls

One of our very most favorite memories of this trip was driving up to Big Sky and hiking this 
beautiful trail to our new favorite spot Ousel Falls!  It was spectacular.  Every minute of it!

 gotta get a selfie with the cell phone!

 This was the destination point!  So quiet and secluded.  
We were the only three on the trail!

Leaving cairns along the way in memory of Davis and his love for being in the great outdoors.

We highly recommend this beautiful place for a picnic or easy family hike!

{note to self - find photos of Emily serving us pie!}

We rested our heads for the next two nights here.
Clean, simple and not much cash outlay!

Earthquake Lake

Another interesting place we found was Quake Lake.  It was fascinating to learn about the big quake in August of 1959 and see some of the effects it had on the land.  It measured about 7.3 on the richter scale and caused an 80-million ton landslide, which formed a landslide damn on the Madison River. The earthquake was the most powerful to hit the state of Montana in historic times. The landslide traveled down the south flank of Sheep Mountain, at an estimated 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), killing 28 people who were camping along the shores of Hebgen Lake and downstream along the Madison River.

 If you look across the little valley you can see the remains of 
cabins washed away when the flood came after the earthquake.

Those last pretty moments of light are the some of the sweetest of the day.

Yellowstone National Park

Finally it was time to get inside the park and do some exploring.  
The last time our family was in Yellowstone was about 15 years ago.  
It had been a long time! 

This guy is off to enjoy a ride through the park in style!

The old tour buses are still running through the park


The day before we had picked up a hitch hiker who happened to be a park ranger and he gave us a heads up on where a lot of the animals were hanging out.  We didn't ever get the chance to see a bear but bison a plenty and a great view of some elk.  We also saw a few of the wolves through a spotting scope one afternoon.  Love the color of this little calf!

 Taking it all in.

 Sometimes I wish you could just freeze time.  I love watching these two interact.

 We ate lunch in the Lake Lodge.  A nice bowl of hearty chili.

Not a forest fire - just Artist's Paint Pots brewing on the side of the road.

 Can you spot the jack rabbit?  
He was jumping around like the ground was very hot, and it probably was!

 He found a safe place to rest.

Photos just don't do the beauty justice.  But I always want to try!

                Just another view out our window.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

 The Lower Falls, at 308 feet, are the tallest in the park. The Upper Falls are 109 feet tall. 
The longest chain of cascades in Yellowstone can also be found in the canyon.

One day we will have to come back and enjoy some
hikes in this area...with some bear spray!

Old Faithful Inn
It was our good luck to get a last minute room in this beautiful old Inn. It is unique in that it is one of the few log hotels still standing in the United States.  It was the first of the great park lodges of the American west opening in 1904.

 Mark loved all the beautiful furniture!  He was taking mental notes of everything.

 The hallway to our room.  Just down and to the left.

 Such a charming little room.

Emily was a champ to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor.
Shhhh! Don't anyone tell her that a mouse woke up dad in the middle of night!
but she ain't no sissie!!

 Dinner in the dining room was a treat.  The buffet was sooo much better than we expected.
After wandering around the grand structure and a short nap, 
we were ready to make one more loop around the park.

 Grand Prismatic Spring.  
Unearthly and so amazing to see. 

This photo above is borrowed from Wikipedia.  
If there is a hike that takes you to this view point, I'd love to take it!
It might be from the sky.

   What an amazing planet we live on.  And we got to see some pretty awesome vistas on this trip.

We missed the other entrance sign so we had our photo snapped at this one.

 Up close and personal from the window.  
They must be annoyed with all the cars driving over their turf.

 All the ladies out for dinner

 And we were lucky enough to spend some quiet time with this
magnificent beast and his friend.  Antlers in the velvet.  
Such a wonder.

 What a beautiful ending to a spectacular day.  We feel very blessed.

 We got an early start home and had time to enjoy the Tetons from 
a distance, poke our heads in a few of the art galleries and get lunch at the Bunnery in Jackson Hole.

 We always have thoughts of Davis in our heart - especially when we are out in nature.
He loved this part of the world.

Until next time!  Too-dal-oo!