Thursday, September 19, 2013

Top of the World to the Bottom of the Canyon

After our bowling adventure, we headed out on a bit more of an adult adventure across the Beartooth Highway.  Our little van doesn't have the oomph to tow the camper so we had hoped to make a three day trip of it, but when all was said and done, logistics suggested a day trip.  The last time I went over the pass, Catherine was 3 weeks old and there was over 10 feet of snow at the top so we didn't do a ton of stopping.  This time, our first stop was in Red Lodge at the old fashioned candy store:

 The kiddos each chose rock candy:

The road up:
 It was a crazy cloud day:
 Stop for a short walk up the first canyon:
 Lots of snow near the top.  We had hoped to stop for a picnic, but the temps had dropped from a balmy 75 degrees in Red Lodge to the mid-40s at the top, so we opted for a short photo stop:
 Some fun panoramics from the top of the world:

 We saw lots of bald eagles, but I never got the camera ready in time.  We headed down to a slightly warmer elevation of about 9,000ft at the foot of Beartooth Butte.
Picnic fun:
 Cheers:
 Matthew demonstrating how a bear might attack us for our oreos:
 As always, Matthew had to stand on some rocks and have his picture taken:
 Our drive through the park was rather uneventful.  We saw a few antelope and a few bison, and some definite signs of fall:
 Our whole Yellowstone goal was to explore lower Mammoth.  It's generally the last stop on our trip so we often take a hasty picture and leave.
 Unfortunately you might notice those grey clouds:
 Right after this picture we got the thunder and the rain came down:
 We headed out, still not having explored Mammoth but luckily we are close enough to be back soon.  Apparently we should have waited it out as about an hour later as Yellowstone posted this photo on Facebook that evening!
Later that week we eeked out the last of our nice weather with some hikes with friends:

 And Catherine enjoyed some one-on-one time while Matthew was at preschool:
 And we enjoyed some late afternoon playtime in the wagon with our neighbors:
 Due to our ongoing thunder/lightening storms we've decided to do some day trips instead of camping.  It turned out we made the right decision!  After an entire night of rain, we headed up into the Bridgers for a hike.  Catherine wanted to mug for the camera:



 So of course Matthew wanted in on the action:
 And the kids both decided they had to show off their granola bars for the picture.  I apparently need to pull out the camera at times other than snack or lunch:

Taking a rest around the bend:
 Matthew's "tentacle" stick:
 Catherine did all 2 miles by herself!  We had hoped to go further but it seemed Matthew was coming down with a cold:
 We saw lots of bear scat but thankfully no bears.  The kids did spot a really, really tiny worm.  I'm always amazed by the things they see:
 And Catherine was obsessed with every "big leaf."  We had to stop for ALL of them as well as the rosehips that I taught the kids to identify.  We logged a mighty pace of one mile per hour on our hike.
 We spent Sunday recovering from colds and then this week Matthew started swim lessons:
 We've also been hosting preschool this week and the weather's been cool and drizzly which has made for one tired monkey:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tubing, Soaking, Bus Rides and Bowling

On Labor Day we finally took the opportunity to float the Madison.  With two tubes and a raft we made quite the flotilla!
 Matthew wore his hat sideways for some reason the whole trip:
 And Catherine wanted to show off her cookie:
 It was a bit overcast and the water level is a tiny bit low, but we had a great float and it was nice it wasn't super .  We didn't do the entire length as we weren't certain how the kids would do, but we're excited to start a bit earlier in the season and get a few more floats in next year!
 Then we headed to find a hot spring to soak in.  Matthew and Catherine weren't interested and were climbing on the rocks:
 And just chilling:
 Though there were some ingenious attempts to move the hot water around:
 Most of the spots were too hot and pretty algae filled.  I was able to sit down and soak a bit and James dipped his feet.  We'd like to go back earlier in the summer when the water is higher as I love a good natural hot spring.  There was a fantastic one along the Rio Grande when I lived in Taos which set the bar pretty high, but I think this one might make a good second favorite.

In other excitement, Matthew's preschool co-op started back up!  He was so excited for his first day of school!
 Catherine and I also went out to celebrate with a playdate and juice/coffee cheers!
 Catherine was also back to wearing pigtails and pretty excited:
 Which was the perfect hair style for our big day.  The kiddos have been obsessed with buses for a while.  Our bus system is stuck in that unfortunate limbo where it's free and they are trying to encourage everyone to use it, but it's schedule is pretty sporadic for everyday errands, especially in our neck of the woods.  However, I had promised the kids that one day we'd take a trip.  After looking at the routes and schedules, we decided to head out on an adventure.  The kids started by blowing off some steam while waiting for the bus:

On the bus:
 MSU's Student Union building was the first big place along our way so we made that our destination.  James was going to meet us there so while we were waiting for him we gave out some hugs to Bobcats:
 But the big plan for the day was bowling.  Matthew's been asking to go bowling for a while so it was the perfect destination:
 Catherine did a good job picking up the ball:
 And Matthew looked like a pro:
 During Catherine's first few attempts I was slightly afraid the ball might never make it to the end so we borrowed a ramp:
 Catherine's completely inappropriately timed "oh shucks" face.  She didn't really understand the rules or point of the game so her funny faces and reactions were made even funnier because of their odd timings.
 James showing off his fancy bowling stance:
We ended up missing the bus back to our house so it was probably good James met us there :-)  The kids ask every time we see a bus if we can go again.  I think our next trip will be to the library.

Five on Friday

1.  Look at these winter white legs out enjoying the sunshine at the dino park.  Spring has FINALLY sprung! These boys went from winter di...