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:
 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:

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