Monday, January 26, 2015

Going to Yellowstone

When we decided to go to Yellowstone, the kids wanted to enter the park through the Roosevelt Arch.  The closest entrance would have been through Red Lodge/Beartooth Pass, but it had already been closed for the season due to snow the week before.  It was supposed to be open again, but honestly I was glad the kids voted to go to Gardiner instead.  The Pass is gorgeous...

Beartooth Pass July 2011

the kids were so little!  oh my goodness :)...

...when somebody else is doing the driving ;), haha! 

Anyway...we left Williston and headed west, stopping along the way in Billings to grab some lunch at HuHot (of course! our favorite) and then to the store to pick up groceries for the week.  Just behind HuHot was a lego shop, the kids spotted it so we popped in there for a bit before heading on our way...

Groceries, one haircut, a handful of legos, and full tummies.  Billings gave us all we needed and we were back on the road to Yellowstone.  We followed I-90 to Livingston and from there the road to the park turns off and it is pretty much just fields and mountains until you come to Gardiner, which snugs right up against the park boundary.

I had made reservations inside the park for the next night, but I didn't have anything for that night.  I like to just stop wherever we end up and get a room, but I was a little nervous about getting all the way to Gardiner and not finding anything...or anything affordable.  I almost stopped in Livingston since it is right off the interstate, but it was still an hour from the park and we really wanted to get as close as possible.  We threw caution to the wind, passed Livingston right on by, and went to Gardiner.  The first hotel I went in had a room available that would sleep the 6 of us but it was outrageously expensive.  Not even an option.  But, the stop was worth it because after I politely declined the emptying of my wallet to spend one night in their establishment, they gave me the name of a more "rustic" aka cheaper accommodation...the Jim Bridger Cabins.  We ended up with a 2 bedroom cabin that had plenty of space for a fraction of the price.  Nice :)!

The sun was quickly slipping behind the mountains, so as soon as we had our cabin key we took off for the park.  We wanted to at least get to the visitor center at Mammoth Hot Springs and grab some Jr. Ranger books to take back to our cabin.

We made it with only minutes to spare before they closed for the day.  Just as we were getting out of the car to go in the vc, we heard a noise.  A beautiful, strange, haunting noise unlike anything we had ever heard before.  THE ELK WERE BUGLING!!!  Yay!  Yay!  Yay!  It was awesome :).  We zipped in and back out of the vc, quickest ever for us...hahaha!  We didn't want to be inside when we could be outside hearing the elk make their music.

It was getting dark and we had planned to have a picnic for our we grabbed a table a safe distance from the big bull and had sandwiches while he sang his elk heart out.

Eventually he wandered on off and it was getting completely dark anyway, so we packed it up and headed back towards our cabin in Gardiner...

Back at the cabin, the kids worked on their Jr. Ranger books and then we called it a night.  We had to get some sleep because the next day we were going to Yellowstone :)!

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