On July 8th we set off for Yellowstone National Park. The car was packed to the gills but we were glad that we didn't have to use the luggage rack--better gas mileage that way. The kids were happy, probably because Hannah knew where we were headed and neither one of them realized just how long we would be in the car. We hit the road and drove north towards Dallas and just kept trucking. That day we made it to Wichita, Kansas. My family slept for about 7 hours while I observed the storm and wished the cool breeze would come into the car. I didn't sleep much because Jonathan was on my lap and Hyrum had my pillow. The storm was cool but I got a little nervous at around 4 am when the garbage truck came to get the garbage out of the dumpster we were parked near.
We survived the night and made it to our first major stop by lunch time. No, it wasn't Yellowstone, it was Mount Sunflower
, the highest point in Kansas. We picnicked here among the cow pies and at one point I thought a cow was going to come join us for lunch. We were shortly on our again though.
That evening we spent the night in Casper, Wyoming. I know some people love Wyoming but this trip has once again convinced me that I do not want to live in Wyoming. The next morning we started on our way out and happened upon the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
we only spent a few minutes there because we wanted to get on with our trip but Hannah enjoyed a stage coach ride and we spent a few minutes remembering the pioneers involved in Martin's Cove. It was a nice stop.
We drove pretty steadily through to Cody, Wyoming, just 116 miles outside Old Faithful in Yellowstone. W
e stopped there for gas and a little stretching and some lunch for Jonathan at a nice park. The picture is Hannah driving a stage coach at the park. Then back in the car and to Yellowstone. We got to our cabin and unpacked by about 4 pm and we waited and waited. We were meeting Hyrum's mom's family for a reunion. We were so excited when Grandma and Grandpa Allred finally showed up. The rest of the family arrived shortly.
Friday evening we just hung out and finally got to bed after a late dinner and a sighting of Old Faithful. (Hannah thinks Old Faithful is Yellowstone.) Saturday, the sun woke me up bright and early for a quick jog (I'll explain later) that was more of a walk. It was wonderfully cold and beautiful at 6 am. I got back and showered before my family had woken up. We then enjoyed breakfast outsid
e on our porch only to be interupted by a family of buffalo walking through the woods and then right behind our cabin. Hannah was so excited to see buffalo.
That morning was the Great Family Picture '09. Of Grandma and Grandpa's 53 family members (including them) we had 52 there for this reunion. It was really cool. Each family had a colored shirt--we were navy blue--and each person had a number to wear corresponding with their entrance in the family. We met at Old Faithful and waiting forever for it to blow to clear off the crowds. Poor Jonathan was so tired. He finally fell asleep in my arms about 15 minutes before we took the picture. The only way
you know he's there is because I have this mysterious pair of legs coming out of the stomach because his navy blue hat and shirt covered him and blended into me. The rest of the day was spent walking around the geyser basis there around Old Faithful. Apparently we didn't put enough sunscreen on the kids because Hannah's ears and head blistered and Jonathan's legs were a little darker after our walk. It was a nice day. We went to dinner with Hyrum's family and after getting the kids to bed spent a little time talking with his aunts and uncles. They are great and I'm always grateful for the experience of others when it comes to children. It helps me feel like maybe my experience isn't so strange.
Sunday we got up and ready for a little Sunday school lesson. Hyrum, Nate, Margaret and I were in charge of the nursery. It consisted of Hannah, Josh and Caleb. Jonathan was asleep. We sang some songs, had a quick lesson about how the world is Heavenly Father's creation for us because he loves us, a nature walk and of course, snacks. At about 11 we started up to the Lower Falls for the Wright's traditional photo by "the tree." It was at this point that we got in our car and realized our air conditioning wasn't working. I started to panic but hey we were in Yellowstone and there wasn't a whole lot we could do about it so, on with our trip.
The Falls were great. Hannah had a great time. She was pretty upset when I wouldn't let her hike down to the bottom with her dad but they were making a quick trip and Hannah walking is anything but quick. Instead she watched the huge ants (her word, not mine) do their thing and a raven hop on the rocks. We took the long way back and enjoyed some more buffalo and a drive up Dunraven Pass. This is my second favorite scenery in Yellowstone. My favorite views are along the road through the Golden Gate. That is fabulous but these views were pretty good too.
We hurried back just in time for a quick dinner and then off to Sacrament meeting. There are four Sacrament meetings held every Sunday in the park and ours was at 7 pm. The kids did pretty good considering they are usually getting ready for bed about that time. After church we decided to give Hannah one last look at "Yellowstone" and waited for Old Faithful to blow. It was a littel chilly but it was worth it. She was so happy.
Monday morning Hyrum and I went for an early morning walk and enjoyed the cool brisk air one more time. We got back and got ready to leave. The kids and I along with Hyrum's sister Rachel left for Utah at 8:30 am. It was a good weekend. It's always nice to be with family and Hannah will tell you that was her favorite part of our trip because Hyrum, Jonathan and I were there.