Yellowstone National Park. Epic Road Trip. Day 13.
Another day in Yellowstone National Park! This was one of the more action packed days we had on this trip. We visited the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, drove the Grand Loop Road, and cooked dinner on the side of the road. Literally. Good thing my family is game for a lot.
We started off the morning with the classic national park photo shoot. Everyone is secretly so.glad. I brought my tripod and gently suggested this moment. They didn’t have to say it. I know it in my heart.
The drive was kind of long from our cabins in the Tetons, but the views along the way aren’t too shabby. The pullouts along the road are awesome for hopping out and admiring the sunlight on the water and climbing on rocks too.
The entire trip we were split between two cars. There were just too many people for one vehicle, even Odell. With spotty cell service, at best, we came up with some creative ways to communicate between vehicles. One was the frantic wave and yell out the window approach. Another less successful venture was some walkie talkies that were purchased from a garage sale. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Watching Molly try to make them work with childrens headphones is a priceless memory.
Our first official stop of the day was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Honestly from the parking lot it didn’t seem like much would be around the corner. Clearly there was though.
It’s so much more overwhelming in person than a photograph. The sheer size and scale takes your breath away.
While at Artist’s Point, a major family milestone was hit. Olivia asked to take a selfie. And then took the camera and selfie stick for a walk around. She got very serious about it, and I don’t know whether to be amused or deeply concerned that my life choices led me here. I mean look. She didn’t pull this out of thin air, obviously I need to take a hard look at my relationship with my selfie stick. But also. She’s not terrible at it.
This is her first family selfie. Pretty good I think.
We headed over to another view point of the falls, and this one came complete with a dead bison at the bottom. Grotesque and also so fascinating in a nature documentary way. Not pictured for obvious reasons, number one being that it was gross. This view point also had some great climbing rocks. Olivia told everyone who passed that she was a great climber because her shoes have good traction.
After lunch it became VERY apparent that Abby needed some rest, so we opted to drive a little farther around the loop and check out a hike that seemed short and less crowded. We drove towards Ice Lake trailhead from Canyon Village, and on the way we passed a bison just walking on the side of the road, following the path of the road. It was so chill and it looked like it was just on a familiar path or something. I am kicking myself for not getting a good photo.
So we head down this trail to Ice Lake, and maybe saw 10 other people the whole time. It’s so crazy to me that certain spots in Yellowstone are shoulder to shoulder people, and then a mile away you can see almost no one. It’s worth it to venture past the touristy spots sometimes.
So we come out the forest, back to our car, and RIGHT THERE across a 2 lane road is the SAME BISON. Still just walking along the road, chill as can be. This was our first up close and personal bison spotting and it was epic. We got to see the bison a third time as we drove by him again.
We continued along the loop, stopping at waterfalls and geysers along the way. I still can’t get over how amazing these little pull out places are. There are waterfalls and geysers that are barely mentioned on the map, and not nearly as popular as the “headliners”, that are amazing. For some reason I don’t have many good pictures, but walking the mile or so around the artist paint pots was so cool. It was populated, but not nearly as crazy as some other places had been. It was just as interesting and unique though.
It was starting to get late in the day, so we did not have the chance stop at every single place we wanted. The biggest thing I would love to go back and stop at is Firehole Canyon. People were swimming there, and I almost dove in myself. I probably would have it wasn’t so close hangry hour. Also, small kids with digestive issues who need liberal applications of diaper cream = Firehole Canyon. Get it? #sorrynotsorry.
By the time we hit an area with any sort of food stuffs, it was way past dinner time and everyone was exhausted. I really really wanted to cook dinner by Lewis Lake and watch the sun set, and everyone obliged (willingly?). So we drove all the way down to the picnic area and it’s not even on the water?!?! It’s just a random crappy area with tables off the parking lot. So we turned around and headed back to one of the pull outs along the lake.
We put the camp stove on the ground and my mom cooked frozen ground turkey like a boss. That is literally the ground in the parking area. Not even fancy enough to be called a lot. We chopped cheese cubes on a cutting board in the back of the minivan and warmed up corn and beans on the stove. When you are in bear country you can’t just dump the corn water on the ground, so my dad took one for the team.
Abby was already asleep in the van, and Olivia just went with it. Sort of. She seemed unfazed by our dinner on the asphalt but drew the line at a scenic photo. She has standards I suppose.
It wasn’t exactly the Four Seasons or even a Wendy’s dining room, but it was one of my favorite memories of the trip. We had such a good time doing something totally random, and I got the best dinner view.
They drive me crazy sometimes, but this family is pretty awesome.