Monday, December 30, 2013

Mammoth Part II

After an exciting breakfast we headed out to check out the springs of Mammoth.  The kids got to ride in style on the still snow covered sidewalks and boardwalks:
 Matthew and Pas checked out Liberty Cap (which Matthew was nervous standing in front of incase it exploded):
 And Catherine and Mas at Palette Springs:
 The kids and sled did well on the handicap accessible boardwalks:
 But eventually it was time to tackle the steps.  The kids took it as a personal mission to remove all the snow from the lower rail:
 While we were gone, Matthew made up a song:

Which I'm thinking my dad can appreciate.  He took Uncle Matt and myself to lots of awesome places as kids and often we were most excited about staying in a hotel.  Apparently the legacy lives on.  Also, this is a good (and unfortunately too cute) point to make that my kids are in no way travel angels nor do they love everything we do.  Often their response to activities is not done in song.  In fact, as we got ready that morning we talked about going on an adventure, but as we walked Matthew pointed out often "this is not the best adventure ever."  One of the many ways we handle it (besides snacks of course) is talking a lot about how each of us gets to choose activities and sometimes the kids have to suck it up for activities Mommy and Daddy choose and then we go do something they choose.

After the geysers we headed back to the aforementioned hotel that Matthew "loves":
 And got ready for our snowcoach trip!  The vibration and noise knocked Catherine out as she attempted to catch up on some sleep:
 She soon woke up for our first wildlife sighting:

A quick stop at roaring mountain:
And thanks to the keen eyes of a biologist on board, we caught a glimpse at these Swans off in the distance:
 And we made our way to Norris Geyser basin in this snowcoach:
 Our crew headed down:

As the trails around Mammoth were fairly clear of snow, we anticipated clearer trails at Norris and didn't bring along our backpack or sled.  Matthew did awesome in the deep snow with his own pole:
Though I did have to "carry him like a puppy" for a bit.  The snow was thigh-high for him and not always tramped down, so I held him by his collar to aid him in getting up quickly when he fell or to keep him trucking along.  He covered right at a mile on his own two feet which was pretty impressive.  We came across lots of frosted trees:

 And beautiful landscapes:
 The sun started to peak out:
 Which created a wonderous landscape of snow, steam, clouds and blue sky:
 Steamboat geyser may not have fully erupted but it did lots of spurting for us:
 And left a lot of frosted trees in its path:
 Matthew even thought it was pretty cool . . . for a geyser at least :-)
 The group sped on without us so we headed back to the snowcoach so Matthew didn't have to be "carried like a puppy" and could move at his own 4-year old pace.  Mostly he just wanted to throw himself into the deep snow.  We compromised that for every 20 steps he could plop down in the snow:

 Eventually we started looking for animals in the frosty trees and came across this T-Rex (Matthew wouldn't stand under it because it was going to eat him so suggested I stand under it.  I told him no since he'd have to take his mittens off for the picture).
 And then we came across this Brachiosaurus.  He wasn't afraid of him because he's a "plant-vore"
 Of course the other big treat of being surrounded by virgin snow is the ongoing buffet:
 Matthew stuck with me and Daddy carried Catherine most of the time (our guide volunteered to carry her for a while).  She did really well, with the exception of the vault toilet trip at the end.  Not surprisingly, hot cocoa heals all wounds:
We got back with plenty of time before dinner to explore the Map Room and the great games you could borrow.  Matthew loved playing Go Fish.  
Of course then it was dinner time, which included yet another beautiful rendition of the Elk pooping from Matthew.  The second night we had very few sleep issues as the kiddos were delightfully exhausted!

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