London got her wish though--we went shopping our second morning in Yellowstone. We had to kill time before our trail ride scheduled that afternoon, so we went out with Grammie and the girls. I loved all the restaurants and stores in West Yellowstone!
|This is my crazy face. Really I took this pic to send to Dan to show him my new cowboy hat.|
|London takes a rest from all that shopping.|
|After our ride, London found a little playground.|
|This little lass was too little to go horseback riding, but she enjoyed pretending she was a cowgirl with Papa.|
|London with my cousins Isabella, Amanda, and Lydia.|
Our fourth day, we went white water rafting in Big Sky, Montana. The drive out there was UN-BE-LIE-ABLE! Montana is probably one of the most beautiful states I have ever seen. I would love to go back some day. Unfortunately, I only had my phone with me again, so all the pictures I took just aren't that great. I will share this one that I instagrammed though.
Rafting was so fun, but soooooo cold!! Our guide told us that the water had been snow 24 hours before. Even though we had a lot of fun most of the time (including several intense splash battles between our rafts), the trip started out with a bit of a scary moment. When we hit the first rapid, Grampie, my Uncle Eric, and my Aunt Renee all fell out of their raft. They managed to pull everyone back in, but after they pulled my Grampie in, he wasn't moving. We all pulled off to the bank to make sure he was ok. We waited for what felt like an eternity. I was positive he was having a heart attack. Finally, they were able to sit him up, and as soon as they did he exhaled, "That's better." Apparently his life jacket was so tight he was having trouble breathing in it while lying down. Since he was alright and wanted to continue, we went on our merry way down the river, with no more scary moments.
When we got back to the cabins and told Grammie what had happened, she turned to Grampie and said, "Well, between you falling out of the raft and me falling off the mounting block horseback riding the other day, I think we may be getting too old for this!" Sometimes it's hard to be young at heart!
Grammie and Autumn were kind enough to stay home with the little girls while we all went out and had fun. When we got back, I went to go get London and Juliet, and this is what I found:
|Sleeping Beauties! (That little pink lump is Lydia.)|
|On our walk home, London REALLY wanted a picture with the train.|
|And then we got one in front of the entrance to where we stayed.|
|Some cool tree roots|
|A glimpse at a geyser.|
|The colors progressively became more and more vibrant with each new spring and crater we saw.|
|The blue and the clarity of the water is just thrilling to me!|
|Some more "yucky water" for London.|
|A nice colorful bacterial mat. (All the colors along the water's edge are colonies of bacteria that thrive in the heat of these springs.)|
|Selfie with a baby.|
|My beautiful sister!|
|This one was LOUD!! It gave off a continual roar as you walked by.|
|I love the steam from the runoff of the springs as it goes down the hill to the river.|
So the Excelscior crater used to be Excelscior geyser that was active in the late 19th century. It was known for violent eruptions. Most of the eruptions were between 100-300 ft (!), however, after 1901, it stopped erupting with frequency, and the last major eruption to occur happened in the 80's. It is still considered an active geyser, and could blow again at any time. When we visited, it was peaceful, but the steam coming off of it felt the same way as when you bend over a boiling pot of water. Only magnified by about a million, because this thing is MASSIVE. I can only imagine what the next eruption would be like.
|There's that steam...|
|The water was an absolutely terrific shade of blue! (See the little bubbles? The water is almost 200 degrees Fahrenheit!!)|
As we walked further along the boardwalk (you can't walk on the ground through most of these areas, it is too unstable), we approached my favorite sight in all of Yellowstone--The Grand Prismatic Spring! I think the pictures speak for themselves.
|My mom and Jack.|
|View from the Spring.|
Definitely in my top ten things I've ever seen!
Our final stop in Yellowstone was one last visit to Old Faithful. We got much better seats this time--front row! We even got sprayed a little because the wind blew the steam in our direction.
|These two were BFF's by the end of the reunion.|
|Little Jules hanging out at the lodge.|
|Walking back to our car.|
|The Original Chambers.|