Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Wild West Adventure

My Wild West Adventure has come to an end but it doesn’t really stop there because I have PICTURES! Lots and lots of pictures! (And lots and lots more pictures.) So yeah, I made the best of my new camera! I’m a scenery kind of gal so most of my pictures are of the amazing landscapes but I managed to get a few of the family also.

We started in Glacier National Park

 We hiked up to Avalanche Lake. It’s very aptly named because while we were there we heard two avalanches. Notice I said “heard”. I was PISSED because we hung around the lake for about an hour enjoying the local fauna.

Finally we decided to head back down the trail. We got just far enough around a corner where we couldn’t see the mountains anymore and we heard thunder. At least that’s what we thought! We quickly realized it was an avalanche! I ran back up around the corner and the girls standing there were saying things like “That was the most amazing thing I ever seen!” They were really rubbing it in so I pushed them down the mountain. I was bummed. That would have been an awesome thing to see! (Note to panicky mother’s out there: we were not in danger, the mountains were on the other side of the lake and there wasn’t much snow that fell.) So we continued our trip down the mountain and about 40 seconds later we heard another rumble! Another avalanche and I missed it again! Bastards!!

I have to say that Glacier had the best scenery of any place we visited. We didn’t see much wildlife but the views were unbeatable!

After a few days at Glacier we traveled to Yellowstone National Park. For animal enthusiasts it’s the place to be!

We saw 10 bear…

a bazillion and one bison…

A lot of elk…

A lot of prong horns…

Two moose...

But my favorite part of Yellowstone was Old Faithful!

What an amazing thing! We were lucky and got to view it twice. A little fact I didn’t know is that it’s predictable in a complicated way. If the geyser goes off for a short time (the Ranger knew the exact minutes. I’m a mom so I didn’t retain that information) then it will erupt again in about an hour. If it erupts for a long time it will not go off again for about 90 minutes. We saw a short eruption and then got some lunch at the inn. When we came out it was expected to go off again any minute so we stayed for a second show. It really is very cool!

Any trip to Yellowstone isn’t complete until you almost get trampled by a herd of bison. I highly recommend experiencing that with your 14-yr old sister-in-law. Our first day there, we just entered the park, and saw a bear in a ravine. We got to the other side of the bridge and pulled off so we could hop out and take pictures. We were snapping away and a Park Ranger drove by and asked what we saw. He told us to take pictures but not to linger because there was a herd of bison up the hill and if they come down they will cross right over the bridge and we’d be trapped. “No problem” we told him. We took a few more and were ready to head back to the car. As soon as we turned around we were faced with an entire herd of bison…with babies! I guess they came down the hill faster than the ranger expected. At this point my SIL, I’m pretty sure, crapped her pants. She FLIPPED! First we all started running towards the car but then the bison were too close to it (at this point I feel I should mention that my MIL and kids were in the van, surrounded by bison, with the van doors open because we didn’t shut them when we hopped out. Yeah.) Since we couldn’t get back to the car my SIL decided that it was a better idea to jump off the 100 foot bridge (with a black bear at the bottom) then to get trampled by the bison. In the chaos I’m not sure what made her stop but thankfully she got down from the railing and ended up in front of me (she’s a track star, I think it pays off). Thankfully the park ranger had turned around and was coming back to our rescue. He came over his loud speaker and yelled at us to get back in our car. This apparently translated to my SIL as “make a desperate attempt at getting in my cruiser while screaming your head off”. They played the game where she tries to get in and he moves ahead while my husband is behind us yelling “DON’T GET IN HIS CAR! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! STOP GRABBING FOR HIS CAR!” Finally the ranger got his car positioned to block the bison and we high tailed it into the van and slammed the doors. I was laughing hysterically and all my SIL could do was change her underwear say “Oh my God! Oh my God!” We escaped completely unharmed so I’m allowed to make fun of my SIL now. She may never live it down! :-)

So that was…exciting.

Next we visited the Grand Teton National Park. The mountains were really beautiful!

 We also randomly saw some geology students from the college where I work at sitting in a university van in a scenic pull off. They were out there for summer fieldwork. What are the odds that we would pull over at the same scenic overlook at the same time in Wyoming?! Weird! 

Some other awesome pictures…

 The most photographed barn in they say

 Grand Tetons

 A tree fell over in Glacier National Park. It makes me think of the Fire Swamp from Princess Bride.

 Glacier National Park

 If you look closely my SIL is feeding a chipmunk.

 Glacier again...

 and again...

 and again.

My SIL doing her best Bruce Springsteen impression

So we really had an amazing trip! Bud LOVED it. He told me when he is a dad he’s moving to Montana. I just hope airfare is cheaper!

Not only did we survive the bison but we survived each other…and more importantly, I survived the kids…being trapped in the car for most of the daylight hours for 7 straight days. Bud had no problem like I expected. Babe did pretty well too. As expected she was not especially happy to be strapped into her car seat for hours on end but she made it through without getting thrown out of the car. I call that a success!

It’s good to be back!


  1. Those are some awesome pictures. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous! I'm so jealous that you saw bears. I've never seen a bear in the wild despite many trips to Glacier, Yellowstone, and lots of other places where I was promised there was no way I could NOT see a bear.

  3. Those pictures are absolutely awesome. I think Glacier is gorgeous. My hubby was there a few years ago on a fire assignment. He bought me picture books and DVD's of it, but it's not the same. lol

    Yellowstone looks fabulous--again, i've never been but my hubby went on the way back from another fire assignment.

    Yes, I'm extremely jealous of the cool places he goes and I don't get to go. So yes, I am also jealous of you, those places are high on my definite places to see in America. I think that's the destination of our next road trip. We live fairly somewhat close. In NM, so we just head straight north, lol.

    Thanks for sharing those gorgeous pictures. Did you get pics of the giant bison herd??

  4. Love, love, love! Every time we go to Canada I look about for Moose...but I have never seen one yet :( Super jealous, sounds like the best trip!