Friday, July 31, 2009

Idaho Trip (VERY picture-heavy)

Quite a few posts ago I said I'd finish posting about our trip to Idaho, and I didn't. Shame on me!

Now that Fiber Christmas is over for this year (post and pics later), I can concentrate on other things and getting caught up.

So, in the last vacation post I stopped as we were heading up to Island Park on Thursday. I'm going to go back to using my Dad's narration, so here goes!

June 4, 2009, afternoon

The drive up to Island Park was spectacular with the Tetons visible to the east.

Buffalo Campground, near Pond’s Lodge on the Buffalo River, was almost empty. We found a great spot by the Buffalo River in the C loop with its electrical hookups. Spot C14 cost us $11 rather than $17 per night because Bill is over 62.

We also reserved a spot for Mom Allred’s bus.

The mosquitoes were absolutely fierce until it rained and there was a wind to drive them away. Sand hill cranes (birds) were nesting on the other side of the river. I had never before heard them and as they flew overhead they were calling the entire way. We also saw osprey.

Five people are ‘cozy’ in a 21 foot 5th wheel camper but we all had a great time. There’s nothing like camping to bring a family together.

Friday, June 5, 2009:
We drove in the Avalon to West Yellowstone and stopped to see an exhibit of painted fiberglass ‘buffalo’ in front of the old Union Pacific Railroad depot, now the historical museum.

The ‘buffalo’ will be auctioned the end of August and are expected to bring from $1,500 to $10,000. I can’t imagine where a person would put one of them. Local businesses seem to become attached to the ones in front of their stores and will probably keep them.

Union Pacific also had a dining room to the west of the museum where Bill’s father was a dishwasher in the summer of 1939. Dad always loved West Yellowstone and Yellowstone Park.

Ryan announced that he needed a belt to keep his pants from falling down so we went to the old Eagle’s Store. Ryan picked out his own belt with horses and a shiny silver big buckle. He also got a glow-in-the-dark Yellowstone t-shirt and Gillian got two Yellowstone t-shirts. The adults had a cup of much-needed coffee.

The nice ranger lady at the West Entrance gave us an information package including a page of animals to check off for each of the kids.

We saw elk, buffalo including orange babies, bald eagles, Canada geese, and swans even before Madison Junction. We drove up the Firehole Falls road. We had lunch at the picnic area at Firehole Flats and saw a bald eagle circling nearby.

We drove to Old Faithful and while waiting for it to erupt saw Beehive and Lion’s Head erupt on the other side of the Firehole River. We watched Old Faithful.

The kids put their hands in the lukewarm water that flowed from Old Faithful.

We then went to the Old Faithful Inn and had ice cream and some iced tea while we sat on the balcony. We drove to Bridge Bay and had a potty stop and watched boats being launched including a huge one. We drove to the Lake Inn area and saw more buffalo. We watched a storm on Lake Yellowstone.

We drove through Hayden Valley and commented on the scoured areas where buffalo rolled and dusted themselves. Kathie gave each of the kids $5 and at the Canyon visitor’s center store Gillian bought a set of Yellowstone picture cards. The kids and Kathie played ‘go fish’ with them. Sometimes Ryan liked the picture on his card so much that he didn’t want to give it up. Kat also bought bookmarks and a refrigerator magnet with scenes of Yellowstone.

It began to rain hard and on the road from Canyon to Norris we were fortunate enough to be going against a long herd of buffalo that had been on the road for some time, judging from miles of backed-up traffic on the other side of the road going the same direction as the buffalo.

We could hear their grunts as they passed. They were shaggy from shedding their winter coats.

We returned to camp in Island Park about 6:30 p.m. to find Melanie, Kevin, and Emily already set up. About 8:30 p.m., Wayne Valentine drove Mom’s bus with Paula into the campground and Wayne and I helped plug the bus into power, light the hot water heater, and get Paula and Mom settled.

The mosquitoes were fierce.

An osprey was keeping an eye on Kat and the kids and came in for a landing on a tree across the river:

Saturday, June 6, 2009 (D-Day):

In the morning Bill took Ryan and Gillian to the fisherman’s dock at the far end of the campground and enjoyed the beautiful area.We later learned that Kevin, Melanie’s husband, has been coming to this campground and the others in Island Park from early childhood, camping and fishing with his folks.

Later Kevin took Gillian and Ryan fishing. He hooked fish and they reeled them in. Gillian caught two and Ryan one. They were both very proud of their fish. They also saw two moose!

It rained much of the day. The kids played with Emily and rode bicycles and scooters that Kevin and Melanie had brought for them. Grumpdad hid from the mosquitoes in the camper, read more about the Titanic and enjoyed a nap. We went to Pam and Wayne’s cabin for dinner and were joined by Rachel and Jeremy and their four children for the 3rd birthday of their youngest, Luke.

It was unusually silent when we woke up and Bill looked out of the camper to see it snowing! There already was about 2” of wet snow everywhere, very beautiful. We got dressed and had breakfast and enjoyed the snow, then started preparing the camper for the trip home.

Pam and Wayne joined us and Kevin prepared a brunch of eggs, sausage, and fish that Ryan, Gillian, Emily, and Kevin caught in Mom’s bus. We helped prepare it for the return trip and left by 12:30 p.m.

Kevin, Wayne, and I all emptied camper tanks at the dump station at Island Park, a very scenic area on the north fork of the Snake River. We couldn’t see the Tetons because they were shrouded in clouds. We were home by about 3 pm and unloaded the camper and spent most of the rest of the evening doing laundry and cleaning out the camper.

Monday, June 8, 2009:

We rested in the morning.

Bill went to work for an hour to make sure there were no pressing issues and then had an hour-long lunch at our house with some of the symphony people about symphony issues. In the afternoon we visited the library to return books, get credit for reading, and check out some more books. We drove to the Museum where Kathie bought two books to store squashed pennies from various locations since the kids have many more at home.

We then drove to the mountains east of Idaho Falls to about 6000 feet to see the giant windmills and stopped near one. We could hear its blades softly ‘whooshing’ and the gearbox humming. We looked over the Snake River Valley on the return trip down the mountain. In the evening, Kat, Kathie, Gillian, and Ryan played ‘Go Fish’ with Yellowstone cards Gillian bought at the store at the Canyon Visitor Center

Tuesday, June 9, 2009:

Bill went to work and Kat and Kathie packed.

Bill returned about 11:30 for lunch and good-bye and at about 12:15 Kathie took Kat and the kids to the Idaho Falls Airport. Our house is once again too quiet.

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