Jams and Pickles does Yellowstone


With thirty seconds to spare before the legendary geyser did her thing, a Christmas Card stroke of genius hit me: “To all our Old Faithful friends, Merry Christmas.” Quick! Ask that complete stranger standing next to us, who appears to be speaking a language I don’t even recognize, to snap our picture before the eruption is over! Quick kids! Say “Bison!!!”

This is what we got:

"To all our Old Faithful friends, Merry Christmas!"

Well, we tried. Dean’s eyes were closed, Luke’s eyes completely covered, and 2011’s newest feature, Baby Jane, is all but invisible save for a few wisps of hair. Never mind the fact I’m completely windblown and in dire need of a good swipe of lipstick…I would’ve taken the hit this year if everyone else had come out looking like Gap models. After all, I’m a sucker for a good pun. But it was another hour and a half before the next explosion and we had things to do, places to see, bison to photograph!

A rare look at Andy's toy bison...so few plastic toys roam the plains freely anymore.

I’ll think of another Christmas card slogan later. First, let me tell you about our adventure to Yellowstone National Park. It was my first time and the kids’ first time. Paul was an old veteran, so he showed us the ropes.

First of all, every mile is breathtaking and picturesque. We saw natural wonders unique to the planet. When the first explorers went back east and told their tales about a land where the rivers ran so fast, the bottoms got hot, they were dismissed as out right lies. They said they caught fish in one stream, then cooked them in another! The land steamed and exploded without warning! Outrageous!

They weren’t lies. And we got to see it all. The mountains, the sky, the geysers, the animals!

Your first day in the park is spent pulling over, snapping hundreds of photos of every spout of billowy steam, every natural boiling cauldron, and getting dozens of close-ups of the park’s wildlife. Day two, you become a little more blase about the majestic creatures and wonders just inches from your car and only slow down to admire, anxious to get to the next hike.

Here are just a few pictures from the trip:

October was a wonderful time to see the park. The fall colors were gorgeous, the crowds were non-existent and the weather was nice “for the prepared.” (In one day we had rain, snow, and glowing sunshine.)

My favorite one liners from the trip:

“Dad, you’re like a Lego guy. You’re bald and you have all these interchangeable hats you can just snap on!”  -Luke

“These hotel people are so thoughtful! (It was a dump…the kids don’t get to stay in many hotels.) Look at this coffee maker! We don’t even drink coffee, but if we did, they gave us one! So thoughtful!!”  -Kate

“Whoever smiles in this picture gets a Skittle! Today we’re buying happiness!”  -Paul

“For the last time, Mom, they’re not buffalo! Their proper name is the American Bison!”  -Andy

“Boy, I feel like a Marine! We do more before 7am….”  -Me, on Paul’s resolution to get us all up, showered and free-hotel-breakfasted in the dark, bent on enjoying a brilliant Yellowstone sunrise. He was right. It was brilliant.

But it was day two, so I had to snap this from a moving car.


2 responses »

  1. Wonderful! Wish I had written it! We went to Yellowstone with 2 couples – old friends from CA, last month. WE had never been either – such beauty! Luckily we got there after the crowds left…like you.
    Such a cute bunch you are!
    love, m #1

  2. wow, so fun to see alllll your faces because I think the only other picture I’ve seen of you is where you have bangs. Now I feel like I know you in a creepy only-know-you-through-the-internet sort of way.

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