Thursday, December 30, 2021

Yellowstone! Last Day

 We woke to a snowstorm!  So much that Mom - the adventurer - didn't want to leave the lodge and didn't think we should either.  But the girls and I ventured to the Visitor's Center and then looked back and realized that it was so stormy that we couldn't see the lodge anymore!  Yowza!

The trip out was through the storm and began to clear as we drove north to the park's exit.  Such spectacular views!

Snow coaches behind us

View from the window of our room

Mom and the girls


Oh so gorgeous!  Falls on the Gardiner river

A spectacular goodbye.  I'll be back!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Yellowstone! Day 2 in the Park


I love this photo of our "mid-Arctic expedition."  They were a little nervous at this point - hard to see in the white-out conditions and stepping off the boardwalk could mean a plunge into extreme heat.  Plus, Mom said at one point, "I think I am getting frostbite."  But we all made it, injury free.

Wandering through the area around Old Faithful (very near the Continental Divide!)

I was so thrilled to be there, I was a bit silly/giddy!

At Old Faithful (later in the day, once the girls got up)

Mom and I made the first footprints in the snow at Old Faithful that morning

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Yellowstone! Day One in the Park

 We entered the park on "snow coaches," which were buses with huge wheels that could travel on the snowy roads.  No private transportation allowed!  It was a four hour trip from the entrance to the park to the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and we stopped along the way to see thermal activity, bison, and waterfalls.  Amazing!

This was after we arrived at the lodge.  I went outside and said, "there's an animal coming toward me."  I wasn't fast enough with the camera, but both of the girls were and got decent photos of this beautiful fox running in the snow.  Much larger than the few California foxes I've seen!

Gibbon Falls

This is the Gibbon river, running down into the caldera that represents the active volcano that so much of Yellowstone is.  Fortunately, the last eruption was 634,000 years ago.

At Monument Geyser Basin/Beryl Spring

Our first bison

Winter light on a cloudy day.  We didn't see the sky until we left the park!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Yellowstone! Approaching the Park

 I've always wanted to go to Yellowstone.  We have planned two trips, each in the summer, each foiled by different events (first, Charles' stroke, then, Katherine's job).  I've also always wanted to go in the winter, ever since reading an article about it from the 90s, probably.  

Approaching the holiday break, I still hadn't planned anything.  I was considering Yosemite, but with our minivan I don't feel totally safe driving in the snow.  I thought about San Diego to visit cousins, but as it turns out, a lot of them left town too.  Then I wondered, could now be the time to go to Yellowstone?

So, with five days' notice I started to look at the logistics... and they all kinda fell together!  Last step was to see if my parents could watch Puck, but when I called, Mom wanted to come with us and so I started over, getting reservations for her, too!  An amazing, extraordinary, wonderful, memorable experience.  I can't want to go again!

On the first day, we flew through Salt Lake City, where we had delays.  I understand delays, but was annoyed with Delta for dropping the ball on communication.  We had texts and emails of the first (three hour) delay, but no acknowledgement when the delayed flight time came and went and our flight went right off the board!  We did get a flight and it was great, but I felt some tension about arriving in zero degree (F) temperature after dark.  It all worked out though - we arrived in Bozeman, payed a crazy amount to rent a car, then made it the hour and a half on icy roads to Gardiner to a nice motel and pizza... and no one wearing masks. Toto, we aren't in California anymore!

The next morning, we admired the beautiful river, then drove into the park to Mammoth Hot Springs, where the road ends to private travel in the winter.  Even the drive in was stunningly gorgeous and we enjoyed the Visitor's Center in Fort Yellowstone at Mammoth Hot Springs.

I look like a shortie with my two gigantor daughters

My Mom got the best photo of the terraces

The temperature was in the single digits, but there was no wind so we aren't bundled up... yet.

It felt a little closer to the Arctic end of things!

The first of many views like this - snowy landscape with steam coming from some thermal activity

Yep, that's in Fahrenheit

We got a taste of the wind chill and so bundled up a lot at the Mammoth Hot Springs hotel before heading deeper into the park on a snowcoach

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas Morning

 A fun morning at home and a great afternoon at my parents' house with family...

My fun Christmas appetizer

Minerva likes the tree

My dancer loves Misty Copeland

Every baseball player needs her own bobblehead

This kid loves smelling new clothes. Is that weird?

Ah yes, every generation needs a conspiracy

Puck totally knew this one was for him (a new stuffed toy)

I decided to do a fancy breakfast spread with sparkling juice, soy sausage, a tofu scramble, potatoes, and cinnamon rolls

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Bethlehem A.D. 2021

 Three days of this "living nativity" experience, the sixth year that the girls have participated as members of the cast.  It rained the first night and by the time they finished, they were so cold that their hands couldn't fasten their own seat belts!  The second two nights were drier, though, and they had - as usual - a lot of fun as "tax collectors" who "welcomed" visitors by harassing them about paying their taxes.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Ice Skating

 G's dance team had an ice skating party.  Lots of laughing because it was raining and they had to skate over about three inches of water.  Good thing they were laughing... when we picked her up she was soaked, both from the rain and from falling!  Cute picture of fun silliness.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Christmas Tree

 So, they convinced me to cut one down this year... but when we went to our regular tree farm, all of the trees were teeny (and really awful). We felt badly not supporting them, but there wasn't a tree over three feet and even those looked dried out.  So we kept driving and found another.  A fun day together, even if there was some tension (mine) over whether we would find a good one after that first stop!

Monday, December 13, 2021

Candy Cane Lane

 We'd heard about this street in a neighboring town, but had never seen it before.  Crazy/amazing Christmas lights!