RT Day 13 Yellowstone Day 1

 IMG_1304The fake mining restaurant was kind of disappointment from the start. They only had a buffet and it was kind of expensive and not that impressive but I was out of energy and didn’t want to waste time sleeping to eating it was. Heath and I got coffee and hit the buffet. It was tough to find food for Pumpkin. Eggs were such an easy choice but she had gotten all barfy on us at the petrified forest and in Fortuna so we avoided them. I sucked on some hash browns for her and we got some apple sauce from the car. We ate and woke up and talked about our day. Pumpkin was dieing to get out of her seat so as soon as I was done I let her down and held her hand as we walked all around the restaurant inside and out.

Heath and Peanut finished and paid and we got back in the van and entered the park. There was a big line of cars but luckily I had my wallet with our park pass and we just flashed it and my ID and they let us right in. We planned to work our way from the north end to the south end over the course of 3 days and the top was the Mammoth hot springs and one of the places I was looking forward to the most.

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A little background first, lots of Yellowstone is above rock, water and magma that is fairly close to the surface. It’s the worlds first National park and is loaded with great animals, trees, mountains and the normal stuff plus all these crazy things from the magma and water and rocks.

You know what geysers are but the mammoth area does not have them because the rocks around here are too soft. Instead the super hot water gets minerals from the rocks and slowly seeps to the surface and creates crazy pools and structures.  IMG_1316 IMG_1309

The whole thing looks like it does not belong on this planet.

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and it is constantly changing. When the water is coming to the surface in a particular place, bacteria moves in and depending on the water temperature different bacteria thrive and make the rock appear different colors.

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But the water may come out in one spot for a while then change and stop coming out there. When this happens the bacteria dies and the rock turns gray.

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So the Mammoth hot springs is packed with tourists and there are boardwalk trails packed with people that wind there way all around a whole bunch of different hot water things. We were ready to be out of the car and walked all over  IMG_1322 IMG_1335 IMG_1329

It’s really important you stay on the trail because the ground around you looks solid but may not be. We took our time and rested some and looked everything over good while waiting for a ranger program for Peanut.
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We met up with the ranger on the way and started in with the questions before the show started. The program was good and we learned all about how the various things were formed and what made this place so unique. Apparently Pumpkin was not paying attention or didn’t care because she decided to take a nap.
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The ranger signed Peanut’s book and we went to the car.

We started heading south towards our campsite and took some dirt roads in hopes of seeing animals and stopped to look at some overlooks.  IMG_1371

I think we did a little hike too but some of the trip is running together in my head.  IMG_1376

Then we made our way to the Canyon Campground. We checked in and got our site and it was early for us so we could take our time setting up camp and gathering wood.  IMG_1378

All of our campsites were pretty good and this was no exception. We found enough wood for a small fire and it was flat and shaded and fairly quiet though the campground was completely full.

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Peanut was all about a fire and gathering wood so I saved his wood and cooked dinner on the stove.  IMG_1381

The kids stretched out and played while we made dinner.

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We had noodles and beans and chicken again and it was really good.

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We were in bear country still and we had to be super careful about anything food or smelly. So we ate carefully then took everything to wash and packed it up in the van. Then we lit the fire and Peanut took our picture.

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It had been a little overcast during dinner but seemingly as soon as the fire was lit it started to rain. I had been running on fumes all day long and was excited about a ruined night by the fire as we quickly packed up our stuff and got into the tent. I curled into the sleeping bag and crashed not much after 6pm.

I think the rain lasted between 5-10 minutes and no one else shared my excitement in sleep so early. I think they played in the tent and out and worked on Peanuts ranger book. I think at 8:30 they stuck Iz in her crib then went to hide in the car and read books. She screamed for about 10 minutes then fell asleep. I was just getting back to sleep when Heath and Peanut came to bed and the zipper woke up Pumpkin.

She fussed till Heath let her in our bag then we all got to sleep. At like 2:30 Heath woke me up, she had a terrible headache (we later determined altitude/dehydration was the cause). She was going to go to the van for water and Tylenol but whenever she tried to go Pumpkin got pissed so I went for her. We had a rough time getting back to sleep after this and our plan to get up at 5:30 for the sunrise was changed.

 

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