This past Sunday, we set up a private tour of Yellowstone with Big Sky Shuttle. Our tour guide, Bruce, was very knowledgeable and we were glad we could all be spectators (versus one of us having to drive).
Even the scenery on the drive from our house in Big Sky to Yellowstone was amazing. I tried taking pics from the car – you can imagine how those turned out.
Louise fell asleep on the hour drive. Saving energy for the park I guess!
We stopped at the visitor’s center to get our passes for the park. The National Park Service is amazing – one $10 senior citizen pass granted our entire van access – and access to all other parks for a lifetime!
We headed in to the park and, lo and behold, the first thing we saw was a bison lumbering along the side of the road. We were pretty psyched about that.
Our first stop was Gibbon Falls, a waterfall that drops over a remnant of the Yellowstone caldera rim.
Celine wasn’t jazzed at this moment of the trip because I asked her not to sprint down a hill (crushing spirits, that’s me). We tried to get her to give Juliette a high five.
She was also complaining because her sunglasses were in the van. So I gave her mine…and she complained that they were too big. #toddlerproblems
We packed back in the car and headed to Artist Point – the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It was majestic…for real. Look at it:
Obviously we took six thousand photos in front of it.
Notice Celine acquired her sunglasses.
Some photo attempts were less successful.
After that, we headed over to the Lake Hotel for a picnic lunch. We had the option of eating our lunch inside, but we wanted to sit on a picnic table by the lake and take it all in. Which is what we did…
…until it started hailing on us!
We packed up our lunches and headed to the car, finishing up lunch and playing around while we waited for the hail to stop.
After lunch (and a brief rest at the Lake Hotel), Bruce drove us the 1.5 hours to Old Faithful. Juliette wasn’t interested in napping but Celine took some time to herself.
We got to Old Faithful about 15 minutes before it went off, so it was good timing (it erupts approximately every 90 minutes). We looked inside the Old Faithful Inn while we waited – it’s a pretty impressive place!
Mike stayed in the car with Celine as she was still sleeping, but she woke up just in time to see the geyser erupt. She was calling all geysers and hot spots “fireworks” all day.
The next stop was the Grand Prismatic Spring. It was probably the fan favorite of our van – SO interesting. Celine in particular couldn’t get enough.
The water dribbled down to the adjacent river.
We saw some other hot springs, geysers, fumaroles, and paint pots.
Many of them smelled of sulfur which delighted the girls. Lots of shrieking about things smelling like toots!
We were all pretty beat at this point, and the kiddos had done their best at being good kids but were tired as well.
All in all, Yellowstone was almost exactly as I imagined – amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring, and vast. It was really cool to get out in true nature and remember what’s out there. I was slightly bummed we didn’t spot a grizzly…but it gives us a reason to go back! 🙂