Enjoying Nature and Family

Over Memorial Day Weekend my husband Jordan and I headed up to my grandparents’ cabin near Macks Inn/Island Park, Idaho, as did most of my siblings and their families. That’s right, there were 20 of my family members there at once. We used every bedroom, couch, hide-a-bed, and a good chunk of the loft to fit all our bodies in there. But it was soooo much fun. For one thing, there was a plethora of fresh eggs, pancakes, maple sausage, and bacon every morning, topped off with mugs of hot cocoa. Plus everyone in my family has a great sense of humor.

My brother Aaron and his wife Chan and their kids Shelby, Gretchen, and Bailey were lucky enough to venture out into Yellowstone Park and see a Grizzly mama bear and some of her cubs. Jordan and I made the trek out into the Canyon area on Sunday, where we stopped for a bite at the Soda Fountain, a diner inside one of the gift shops at Canyon, it’s designed to look like a 50’s Diner (as that’s when most of the buildings in that area were built). The cheeseburgers were amazingly delicious, I can tell you that right now, and well worth the $8.60 and wait time. We then went down a trail and saw a black bear lounging among some trees above the river. So. Cool. Aside from that we saw tons of Elk and bison. Tons. Everywhere. We also got stuck in traffic because people didn’t want to use the pull-outs and wanted to park in the road instead. Yeah. If you ever go to Yellowstone, please don’t be one of those people.

Just chillin with the river right below

When we got back to the cabin, we just hung out and relaxed. I was sitting next to Memerice on one couch and Miley was on another playing with Marni’s iPod touch. Out of the blue Miley looks over at me and says “Shea, I love you.” Surprised, but happy, I said “Well I love you too Miley!” Memerice said, “Wait, what about me Miley?” Oh man. Miley was smiling but when Mem said this the smile vanished and she gave Mem the stink-eye before looking back down at the iPod touch. Mem tried again, “I love you Miley!” Miley looked up again, and smilingly replied, “I love Shea too.” Laughter erupted, mostly from me and Jordan and anyone else who heard the exchange. I’ve always thought Miley was smart (she’s almost three years old),  but that little exchange took the cake!

Don't Mess with Miley!

The next day we ventured out into the park again, this time going to see Old Faithful, because really, no Yellowstone trip is complete without visiting Old Faithful, amiright? We ate in the cafeteria and watched the geyser erupt. We then walked a bunch of trails around there, seeing awesome things. Lots of geothermal hot spots, geysers, and boiling hot pools of gorgeous colors. We even saw a coyote running across a river, tip-toeing around the geysers, probably looking for a snack left from some tourist. We stopped at the Stink Pots (I forget the real name, my family’s just always called them the Stink Pots). While we were on our way there, a herd of bison crossed the road right in front of my car. I was nervous, since some of the younger ones were prancing and getting nervous in front of us, I really didn’t want to see a bison take on my car, but they eventually passed and we got on our way again.

On our way out of the park I had to slam on my brakes again since a younger bison was sprinting across a meadow out into the road, in front of my car.. again. Needless to say, you definitely need to stay on your toes while driving there!

Tuesday we hung out and shopped in West Yellowstone. My sister Marni, her husband Matt, and her daughter Miley, my mom, and Jordan, all headed to Arrowleaf Ice Cream. I’m going to go ahead and say your trip’s still not complete until you come here and also to the fudge shop a couple doors away.  Arrowleaf has always been a favorite, they’re kind of like Coldstone Ice Cream in that you get to mix in stuff, but I like Arrowleaf better because they have awesome huckleberry ice cream and they make their own tasty waffle cones 😛 Oh and they have fry sauce too. Next stop was the candy/fudge shop. They have a taffy pull and in the summer you can usually see them hard at work. We bought a few pieces of taffy, then a pound of fudge (hey it was buy 1 lb get 1/4 lb. free!) So we got Huckleberry n’ Cream, Raspberry n’ Cream, and Cookies n’ Cream (that one has oreos in it). And just about everything there is homemade, so it’s way fresh. It’s awesome. Really the perfect treat that you can take home. While my mom and Marni were ordering I took out my fudge and asked Miley if she wanted some. “Mmhhmmmm.” She replied. I asked her if she wanted white (cookies n’ cream), purple (huckleberry), or pink (raspberry n’ cream). She didn’t even need to think about it, “Pink!” I took a sliver and gave it to her. I don’t think I even needed to ask, she loves pink! She kept asking for more after that.

On Wednesday we headed up to Mammoth Hot Springs, where you can usually see elk roaming the meadows and around the buildings, but we weren’t so lucky. The springs were cool to see, though some have become dormant, they’re still awesome to see. We also stopped by Norris Basin to see some of the geysers and pools there. We got to see why they tell you to stay on trails, even when the ground looks safe. Near one part of the wooden trail, it looked like someone or something had just barely stepped off the trail onto the ground. There’s now a hole with boiling hot water trying to spew out of it. Right under and next to the trail. Yowza!

We came home on Thursday, happy to be home but already missing the laid back aura that surrounds Yellowstone and Island Park. I’m already trying to plan our next trip up.

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