Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yellowstone--South Loop

Yesterday, we continued our Yellowstone adventures by taking the South Loop. We took some nice hikes, saw some fantastic scenery, and visited Lake Yellowstone, The Continental Divide, Old Faithful, The Midway Geyser Basin, and Biscuit Basin. We ended the day with hot dogs and s'mores at our campground.

Elk mamas and babies at Lake Yellowstone
 
Fishing Cone

Abyss Pool

Continental Divide

Old Faithful

Beautiful Mystic Falls

A boiling waterfall hits
the Firehole River in the
Midway Geyser Basin

Grand Prismatic Spring

Clepsydra Geyser in Biscuit Basin
 
You can't really see them in the picture,
but there were many bison hanging out
in this beautiful valley yesterday evening.

Cookout

Taking our hot dog/s'more
party to the extremes!





Yellowstone--North Loop

Day before yesterday, we entered Yellowstone and immediately set off on our first adventure around the North Loop. We did a couple of short hikes and saw all manor of wildlife, geothermal areas, waterfalls, and amazing scenery. Jeff and I visited once pre-kids and are stunned both by how much we remember about the park and how much we don't. It's such a lovely place, and we are really enjoying sharing it with our kids.

Happy campers at Yellowstone

Gibbon Falls

Artists Paintpots
(Boiling mud puddle)

Mammoth Hot Springs selfie

Grazing elk

The animals are well-trained
and know where to cross the street

Mammoth Hot Springs

Undine Falls

This guy was just resting in the shade
right beside the hiking trail.

Wraith Falls

Petrified Tree

The gorgeous Yellowstone River

Tower Fall

We watched this guy take a little dirt bath
but only got the photo after the fact.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Calgary Stampede

We left Banff very early yesterday morning and headed to Calgary for the last day of their yearly world famous Stampede. We had to get there early enough for a free pancake breakfast, which is apparently a big part of the event. Just about every church and civic organization in the city offers a free pancake breakfast at some point during the Stampede. We warned our kids to only take a polite amount of food, which meant that we ended up taking them out for "second breakfast" afterwards. We finally made it over to the fair grounds in the middle of the morning and the fun commenced. We enjoyed the livestock barns and activities, and then made our way to the indoor arena for the light horse events, including the mini chuck wagon races, which was hilarious and adorable and easily our favorite event of the morning. The rodeo started at 1:00 and was held in the outdoor arena. We stayed for the whole thing, through rain and hail and a sharp decrease in temperature. We were never so thankful for our thrifty ways, which put us way up in the cheap seats, UNDER AN OVERHANG. We stayed dry and happy, while people who paid a premium for better views scrambled for cover. Jeff and I had taken Ruth and Weston to a small rodeo when they were very little, but none of us had ever been to a big pro rodeo, and it was lots of fun to see the best of the best compete for C$100,000 payouts. Later, we watched the heavyweight class of the heavy horse pull, which was just amazing. The winning team, which consisted of a Belgian and a Percheron and their handlers, pulled a load weighing 12,500 pounds 14 feet. Finally, we made our way back over to the outdoor arena for the full-size chuck wagon races. This was a sport we were not previously acquainted with, but it quickly became our favorite. It was rodeo meets horse racing, and it was fascinating. After consuming all manner of fair junk food and after a full 12 hours at the Stampede, we headed toward the Canadian/American border, which we crossed early this morning, after a short night's rest. We are so thankful we got to experience so much of Canada's beauty and that our time in Canada ended with something as spectacular as the Stampede.

Pancake breakfast

Miniture chuck wagon racing

Making friends in
Draft Horse Town

You know a cowboy needs a rope...

Everyone loves a mini horse

Indian Village

Calf roping

Bareback riding

Barrel racing

Saddle bronc riding

Time to bring in the bullfighters

Heavyweight heavy horse pull

Ready for the chuck wagon races

The Budweiser Clydesdales

Chuck wagon race is underway

Playing cowboy

Making my mom proud
with a bowl of chocolate
chip cookie dough!



Saturday, July 15, 2017

Exploring Banff

We spent the day in and around Banff and had a wonderful time. We started with the breakfast buffet at Crave Mountain Grill and then rode the bus to Bow Falls. From there, we did a mini hike back into town, where we stopped in at Cascade Gardens. Then, we spent some time at a nearby playground before heading over to the Cave and Basin. After that, everyone claimed to be starving, so we took the bus back over to the center of town and popped into Banff Ave. Brewing Co. for a late lunch. Eventually, we moseyed over to the Banff Park Museum to have a look around. The younger boys were thrilled to get a scavenger hunt to complete while we were there. Finally, we visited another playground, with the hopes of expending the last of our energy before heading back to our campground. Banff is an absolutely gorgeous place and is essentially one big hiking trail. And, with the lovely weather at this time of year, we enjoyed exploring the area very much and wish we could stay longer.

Sasquatch

Bow Falls

Cascade Gardens

Beautiful Banff

Sweet hiking buddies

Cave and Basin

The railroad comes to Canada

Workin' on the railroad

Banff Park Museum

Fire in the sky