WLM Summer 2019 - Page 33

WLM | adventure The goal of the day was to make Old Faithful in the late afternoon, and that became a bit of a worry as the paint pots provided fantastic photo opps with the rain and clouds. Levi indulged his photography bug while we marveled at the colorful water and journeyed the labyrinth of walkways. I found a delightful pocket of steam that obscured the view but warmed up my legs nicely. The turbulent and noisy water of Dragon’s Mouth Spring was a delight to our kids, and the rain only hampered our fun slightly as it made getting into and out of the car a little more challenging when juggling dripping umbrellas. We brought tennis shoes and flip flops, and we all debated whether wet feet in shoes or cold feet that dried out faster in flip flops were preferable. My family was smart and packed pants; I forgot my own advice, so I shivered in shorts. The kids were quick to point out how they had listened to me – but I didn’t listen to me. Ha ha. Yes, I’m happy you were smart. We made it to the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River as the sun came out again. Levi had a ball taking pictures and rubbing elbows with the other giant cameras around him. Lunchtime proved a challenge. We packed snacks for the day and planned to grab lunch at one of the restaurants I saw on the map. One after another, they were packed. We understood waiting was not a bad option, but with one day to explore, we didn’t want to spend one hour waiting for a table. We found a fantastic improvisation: we hit the Canyon Village General Store and spent $17 for lunch for a family of four! We grabbed a unique package of sliced salami, cheeses and crackers, bananas, chips and drinks and were back on our way. We picnicked in the car through the rain to our next location, Tower Junction. Levi and our daughter explored the area as I stayed behind with our son who had fallen asleep. We made it to Old Faithful by early evening, grabbed a snack at the general store and checked out the visitor center. We had thirty minutes until the next viewing. Easy enough. Levi staked out a good spot for pictures while the kids and I explored. Ten minutes to go, the rain settled in again and Levi’s chosen spot had now only room for one more – so our son, himself a budding photographer, joined his dad. The rain picked up and Old Faithful’s time came and went … nothing. Five minutes past turned to ten minutes past, and Levi turned to give me a look that said this had better happen soon. Fifteen minutes, tick tick tick … I was beginning to think perhaps Old Faithful was calling it on account of rain when you could hear a low rumble … Cameras snapped up. WHOOSH!!! Just as amazing as we had hoped for. I enjoyed it, but I was glad when it was done because that meant two things: food and warmth. We grabbed burgers at the visitor center and headed towards Jackson. We decided to stay the night in Alpine at Flying Saddle Resort, a quaint, clean and picturesque hotel a short drive from Jackson in the beautiful Star Valley. The kids were out like a light shortly before we left Yellowstone, and we nudged them into the hotel when we arrived around 10 pm. I thawed in the shower and found Levi sound asleep too by the time I emerged. We had a hearty breakfast the next morning at Yankee Doodle’s Café before journeying home through the beautiful Star Valley and southern Wyoming on our way back to Laramie. What an adventure! I wondered if two teenagers would really enjoy Yellowstone, but boy did they ever. Pair it with some good time as a family and my husband’s photography itch thoroughly scratched (for a short while, anyway). It was short, but worth it. While you can’t see everything in that short of time, I argue that any busy family can make even a short vacation worth it. I’d love to share your summer family adventure! Email me at editor@wyolifestyle.com with your story. W L M www.wyolifestyle.com 31