Sunday, February 1, 2015

July Trip Out West: Visiting Family in Wyoming

After spending a crazy week with my family, we hopped in our rental car and began our road trip from Ashton, ID to Casper, WY to see Dallas's side of the family.  We thought it would be fun to drive through Yellowstone National Park along the way.  I'm sure I had visited Yellowstone in my childhood at some point, but I couldn't remember anything, so it was pretty exciting seeing things for the "first time."  I was especially in love with all the pine trees and mountains, things I don't see much of in south Florida!

At one point we noticed there was a bit of a traffic jam as cars were pulling over to the sides of the road.  As we were complaining about the stupidity of drivers we caught a glimpse of this massive bison coming our way.  We quickly took back our words towards the other drivers and pulled over as well.  No one wanted to get in this Bison's way!

Yellowstone was truly fascinating and I loved reading all about the different geothermal pools and springs.  It reminded me of Rotorua in New Zealand.  The steam released for the ground was everywhere as we drove through the park.

Poor Daxton was just about to fall asleep for his nap when we reached the first geyser trail.  Since we had no clue when we would ever be back we got out to explore with an exhausted toddler on daddy's shoulders.

I'm glad Dallas was carrying Daxton because the trails, although maintained well, did not feel super safe for a toddler.  If you stepped off the raised wooden boardwalk you would step into boiling hot mud since all the land was geothermal.
Nice warning sign below!

It really was gorgeous and constantly reminded me of New Zealand which made me miss it there even more.  The colors of the water were stunning, absolutely pure, considering it is at a boiling temperature forever.  We let Daxton get down once there were at least some railings along the path, but still kept a very close watch on him.
Boiling mud in the bottom right picture.

Daxton was really interested in each of the geysers, but got a little nervous when hissing and loud gurggling sounds would escape from the earth.  It was such a different environment on every scale from where we live in Florida.

He loved riding on Dallas's shoulders although Dallas got a little annoyed with Daxton's obsession with throwing daddy's hat...

Clepsydra Geyser was pretty cool and had a refreshing spray shoot into the air which covered us from time to time.  Daxton thought it was so funny to walk through the mist (cloud).

Love the picture of Daxton and Dallas walking hand in hand.  They really are best little buddies.  We continued to drive through the lower half of Yellowstone and found so many different hot springs, geysers, and hiking trails to explore.  At this point Daxton had passed out in his car seat so Dallas would get out to explore and take pictures, while I waited in the car with our sleeping Dax.

It actually all worked out perfectly.  By the time we made it to Old Faithful Daxton was just finishing his nap.  We walked up to the geyser and realized that it had about 10 minutes before it was predicted to erupt.  That's pretty good planning on our part!

The crowds were thick, but we ended up finding front row seats, thanks to Daxton's stroller, and waited a little over 10 minutes to watch Old Faithful.  Daxton was a bit antsy, but I gave him a couple suckers and some toys so he'd be fine.  We were warned that it's kind of anticlimactic so I wasn't expecting too much.  When Old Faithful erupted (above right picture) it was mostly steam and then water spray.  After awhile the water came out more quickly and with more force which directed it higher in the sky.  Because of this the mist grew so big that we couldn't really see much.  It was obviously still very impressive, but I'm super glad we only had to wait a few minutes to see it.  Our Earth is pretty incredible.  I'm constantly amazed by the drastic diversity in each different region.  I think that's why I love traveling.  There are simply so many beautiful things, both God and man made, that I want to see and appreciate.
The drive through Yellowstone ended up taking quite a bit of time.  By hour eight of us being in the car Daxton started giggling with now apparent reason.  He was a bit delirious and literally laughed for 20 minutes before falling back asleep!  He was also very silly when we stopped somewhere in the middle of nowhere central Wyoming for dinner.  We finally reached Grandma and Grandpa Perkins house around 10-11pm and crashed with exhaustion for the night.

I'm so glad we ended up staying with Dallas's family last on our road trip.  Don't get me wrong, I love my family to pieces, but there are so many of us.  It's always super fun with everyone, but it definitely is exhausting with so much craziness day after day.  With Dallas's family it's only his parents at the house.  It's always so relaxing and calm when we visit; the perfect way to end our crazy traveling throughout the summer.
Daxton immediately made himself at home playing with his new best friends; Grandpa and Robbie (their dog.)  Drew and Kristie were sweethearts and ordered a new bike for when grandkids came to visit.  It was cute to see Daxton try to help grandpa put it together.  Once it was assembled we all went outside to let Daxton ride it.

Daxton had so much fun at Grandpa and Grandma's house!  He rode the new bike, played with their kitchen toys, loved wearing Grandpa's election t-shirt "I'm with Drew", and but most importantly he loved spending time with his grandparents.

One of the days we were visiting Drew and Kristie took us out on Alcova Lake in their boat.  This was Daxton's first time on a motorboat and he loved it!  It was fun to see him interested in all the buttons and want to sit on grandpa's lap as he drove.  He was a little nervous at first with the speed and wind blowing on his face, but he just snuggled closer to grandpa or daddy.

Alcoa Lake is connected to a gorgeous canyon we were able to boat up into.  The colors on the rock faces reminded me of hiking through southern Utah.  It was so beautiful.  Boating is one of my favorite things to do.  I love the fresh air on my face and the feel of being on water.  

The views were stunning!
We loved all the rock cliffs.

I love the pictures below.  You can tell how much Daxton loved being in the front of the boat and spending time with Grandma and daddy.

After exploring the canyon, we made our way over to the sand dunes.  Boats naturally run ashore not even needing to tie off.  My Florida blood was not interested in getting wet so I remained in the boat as Daxton and Dallas played along the shore.  It was pretty funny to watch Daxton try to swim and then get too cold and run back to shore.  We ended up having a really nice picnic at the sand dunes for an early dinner.

Robbie loved the extra room to run and Daxton tried super hard to keep up, especially climbing the hill.

We always love visiting Grandpa and Grandma Perkins!  We wish we didn't live so far away or at least there were some faster/cheaper way of traveling cross country.  It was the perfect way to start our week with the Perkins side of the family.

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