After losing all of the work she had typed two days in a row, Grandma has given up typing, I'm sorry to say. You will just have to put up with my boring, matter-of-fact journals. I am so far behind that I don't have time to be loquacious!
On Tuesday, we woke up in our cozy little cabin and settled in for a delicious breakfast of cereal. The kids vacillate between not wanting to go anywhere for meals, to absolutely hating having cereal (Clark.) Cereal in the cabin won.
We left the Snow Lodge and began what we thought was a .6 mile round-trip trek through the Geyser Basin. That was what Paige told Grandma. It turns out it was actually more like 2.5-3 miles of walking. Fortunately it was all flat and gorgeous. The kids and Grandma all agree that this is the favorite thing we have seen so far. We walked along a boardwalk that was made out of recycled milk cartons, that threaded through 150+ hot springs and geysers. Some of the geysers were small and constant, and others had been there for 1000s of years and only sporadically would go off. Old Faithful is supposedly only several hundred years old, and that is why the "cone" is so small. If you look at our Yellowstone album, you'll see another cone that is 1000s of years old, and the geyser is still active. We did NOT see it erupt, as the window they gave was 4 hours long. We weren't willing to wait!
After our walk, we ventured out of Yellowstone National Park, and into West Yellowstone, MT. We learned of a "Bear and Wolf Discovery Center" from another tourist when we were in Pensacola, and the girls had literally been counting down the days until we got there. All of the bears that were there were bears that would have otherwise been destroyed because they had discovered human food and were considered dangerous. They come from all over the country. The wolves that were there were "surplus" wolves from movie companies. They had been born in captivity to be on movie sets, and weren't needed. Maybe they weren't cute enough?
The kids all took part in "feeding" the bears. This consisted of taking a small sand bucket filled with carrots, lettuce, and dry dog food, entering the bear area and hiding it. The bears, of course, were not in there! After hiding all the food, the kids came out and the bears came in and turned over each rock and tree branch and found all the little morsels. The kids all got a kick out of it!
Nona and Elise got an even bigger kick out of the Ranger taking them back to the wolf exhibit and identifying each of the wolves for them, and even letting them pet a wolf pelt. Nona, who wrote a book report this year on the Gray Wolf, was in absolute heaven. Although, even Nona would admit, the wolves were not nearly as cute in person as we thought they would be. They were large and mangy looking. The ranger told us that they were losing their winter coats, and would be short-haired just about the time they would need to start growing their winter coats again.
After the B&WDC, we drove back into Yellowstone NP and started driving north to Mammoth Hot Springs. We had gotten lucky and found a room in the lodge for one night only. All rooms were booked in the entire park for the entire time we were there. We pulled up to the lodge to find six or seven massive elk grazing in the front lawn. The kids loved it! While I checked in, one elk actually came up to the car. The doorman shooed it away, and it meandered over to a hanging flower basket for a snack. Evidently, it was very funny. I found it funny that you have to be very careful when crossing lawns to make sure you don't step in elk scat.
We very excitedly made our way to our hotel room to discover it was the size of a shoebox. Jimmy and I moved the one dresser over to cover the window, and we inflated two twin size air mattresses to go at the foot of the two double beds. Every inch of floor space was taken, except for a small aisle between our two double beds. (See the picture of me eating breakfast.) As we went to bed, Clark had taken his last antibiotic pill for his strep throat and was complaining of a stomach-ache. I figured that he would go to bed and feel better. Wrong!
At about 2:30 a.m., Mom woke me up (I had earplugs in) to tell me Clark was throwing up. OMG. Throw up he did. Thank God he was on the air mattress, so I could just shove it in the shower and wash it down. We waited for about an hour for new sheets from the housekeeping staff and then got another 3 hours of sleep before he woke up vomiting again. It was going to be a long day for our little Clark.