Tuesday, July 8, 2014

S'more Adventures

There is nothing quite like YouTube to get you psyched for your upcoming vacation....especially if that vacation is to Yellowstone, and especially if you are on YouTube because your husband can't stop googling "bear attacks in Yellowstone" and "bear charges" and "bear vs. car" and other things like that. Oh yes, that is the easiest way to get a girl excited for a road trip.

We decided on Sunday to go to Yellowstone, perused YouTube on Monday, searched Amazon for bear spray on Tuesday, and finally retreated back to Pinterest on Wednesday for some friendly campfire meals on blogs that made no mention of bears, thank goodness. On Thursday, we started off on our journey, stopping for the night in Idaho, and on Friday, we made it to our destination. 

Bear Country. 

Yellowstone National Park. 

Wyoming / Montana / Idaho / what the heck state is this anyway.

The Final Frontier. 

Whatever you want to call it, we were there, and we spent the weekend getting blown away by the beauty of it all.  

So while I didn't really love what Stephen had to say at the beginning of our adventure ("Babe come watch this. It's a guy getting attacked by a grizzly bear"), I did love the things he said during it. So much so that I decided to make him the narrator of this blog with a little edition of 

Sh*z My Husband Says - Yellowstone Edition

Him: And then it was awkward, because the ranger smacked me....
Me: Wait, what??
Him: Yeah. He said there was a bug on my neck, but it was still weird. 

Our first order of business was getting into the park and setting up our tent. Did you know that Yellowstone is huge? Because I did not. I thought it was like one, maybe two campsites, and then a nice big meadow, a few streams, and a biggish forest. Turns out it is 3,468 square miles. Which means we drove for nearly an hour once we got in before finding a place to camp.
"Just step in the bison poop! Please, just one time!!"

The first wildlife we saw were bison! I'm pretty sure that's the first animal that everyone sees when they first enter the park. There are 2,300 - 5,000 bison who live there, but it's still cool to see them! (At least the first like 9 times.)

At some point that day, we also saw a bunch of deer.

For some reason, it's a lot cooler to see deer in Yellowstone than anywhere else. 
The first cool nature thing we saw was a waterfall!

And this sign, which made it super-reassuring when Stephen climbed over the guardrail and marched past the sign.

We started out on the west side of the park, which is more geyser-y and less animal-y. 

Some of the geysers are really pretty!

Some are less pretty, but still cool to look at, as long as you don't breathe through your nose.
The geysers have names, but some people doesn't exactly agree with the names they've been given. And when I say "some people," what I mean is "Stephen."

"Inverted boobs."
"Poop Streak. For sure, that's this one's name."
"Okay, Butt Print. I mean, look at it!" 
Geysers get old after a while, so our next activity for the day was exploring a river! I'm not sure we were actually allowed down to it, since there was no trail, but I'm glad we went. It was stunning and a nice way to cool off! We just changed into our swimsuits down at the river's edge and then played around, trying to wade all the way across, etc.

The "etc" I was talking about....
We headed "home" and made dinner - teriyaki chicken, watermelon, and s'mores - and then we set off on a hike. 
Have you ever tried making a s'more with a Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream bar? Sooo good!
Stephen noticed a little baby geyser at the foot of the mountain the hike was on, and I guess curiosity overtook him.
"It's not even that hot! I mean yeah, it's boiling, and if I put my hand in there for a few seconds it would probably burn it, but it's really not that bad."
For the record, I don't mind hiking. I would even say that I enjoy it. It's just a little harder to enjoy when these quotes happen:

"Oh yeah, this is totally grizzly bear territory."

"Isn't this when bears come out? Dusk and dawn. We're bound to see at least one."

"If we get attacked by a bear, and I do have to fight it, I want you to run back to the car."

And when this sign is posted at the trail head, and you're already breaking 3 of those rules, it's just a little bit unnerving.
So then poor Stephen had to endure the whole hike with a steady stream of "Stephen I think I just saw a bear." "Hold my hand!" "What's that!?!" "Talk louder! We have to make noise!" Which I hope taught him that all his jokes about bears were not as funny as he had thought.

Thankfully, we didn't see any bears. Just postcard-status views like this one.
And this one, when we got to the top. #worthit
After breaking rule #5 the entire way down the mountain, and scrambling back into our car where I actually felt safe, we ditched Yellowstone to spend our 4th of July night in civilization. 

There was a free concert, very fourth-y.
Homemade ice cream, super-American.
And of course, fireworks! 
I could barely keep my eyes open on the drive back to our campsite. Good thing Stephen drove :) And good thing I was able to sleep a little bit in the car, because that's basically all the sleep I got that night. (And I'm not even being inappropriate right now.)

"Alright, pick a blanket, cuz we're only bringing one." - These are the famous last words that landed us on a campout in 30* weather with one sleeping bag and one blanket. Don't get me wrong, I love cuddling! But when you wake up every 20 minutes because the other person is rolling over and that means you have to roll over, too, and there's an elbow in your face, and you're freezing, but the blanket is only barely big enough for the two of you....that doesn't count as cuddling anymore. 

Our cute little tent! Where we almost froze to death....

"Alright, looks like we're the best campers here! No offense but I tend to judge people who bring their entire lives camping."
"Do you hear that? Those are wolves." And that was not even Stephen just trying to scare me. 

Saturday morning, jumped out of bed, and put on my best suit found this in my hairs.

"Babe, you never look rough. Just hot." <--he's a keeper!
We had bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast. It's cool how wonderful you can feel when your morning starts out with a hunky wild man cooking your breakfast over a fire....even if that fire did take an hour to start, seeing as how it rained the night before and all the wood was wet and we had no lighter fluid.
"Honestly, the only thing worse than this would be trying to start a fire in a snowstorm."
Scrambled egg burritos, yum!
When we did manage to eat breakfast (which actually turned out quite delicious), we were off on more adventures!
We met a bear (a very patriotic one).
Frolicked through a beautiful meadow with a creek and tons of bison 
"That's my mountain woman!" - when I jumped over, like, the tiniest little stream of water
"Bison just look like old men with huge faces. And fur, and stuff."
Got in a bit of a traffic jam
Went on a hike on Mt. Washburn - I highly recommend this hike! There was still snow on some parts where it's shady, but it didn't feel cold. It was perfect weather, and we saw more wildlife on this hike than anywhere else.
There was still snow on some parts where it's shady, but it didn't feel cold. It was perfect weather, and we saw more wildlife on this hike than anywhere else.

"This is actually the 4th highest mountain in the world." "Is it really??" [As I'm feeling very proud of myself] "No, I made that up. It's not at all."
Saw some pikas! 
Also, a whole family of mountain goats. They were so freaking cute!

"Look at this rock! It's just asking to be climbed!......Okay fine, I will." [He grabs hold of a rock jutting out above his head. It promptly falls out on the trail.] "Uh....never mind."
"I don't think we're in America right now. I feel like we're in Switzerland or something."
"Look at this guy, he's just chillin in the middle of the town!"
Saturday was also the day we saw all the bears we saw on our trip! They were all black bears, and we saw them exactly how I like: with them far away and us in a huge crowd of people. We saw a cub by itself, hanging out by a tree, two cubs with their mom, playing in a field by some trees, and another one by itself down by a river.

You can't even hardly see them in this picture...but it's the brown splotch kind of by the dead tree and the little creek. 
"Don't black bears just seem so cute? I kind of want one now. We could feed it huckleberries....it would be so fun!"
Besides the wildlife, the people at Yellowstone are funny to watch. Stephen categorized them as such:

"There'll always be a few people like us, couples who can do the hikes and stuff, but mostly it's either your typical American RV family - overweight people with huge obnoxious cameras, or Asians on tour busses in heels and sundresses."

"This guy brought a whole telescope for his camera! Do you see that, it's like, longer than his arm!"

"I don't know how people explore like this, going this slow. You know there's just one guy at the front of this line going 25 mph and they're holding everyone else up. What, do they go around the whole park like that? It would take a month!"

"These people from Nevada are just freaked out right now. You know they've never seen this much green in one place."

"We are camping next to straight-up hillbillies." (because they had some weird RV shaped like a tent, and they were popping open beer cans all night, and listening to the most hillbilly music I have ever heard....so he had a point)

Dinner on Saturday was baked potatoes, pork & beans, and corn on the cob. At least that's what it was supposed to be....but we forgot salt and pepper, and the pork & beans tasted like the can, and it just wasn't as spectacular as I had envisioned.

"Can you please just go ask those people if we can borrow some salt? They've got an RV. You know they have salt."

LOVE this man of mine and how he goes along with the embarrassing pictures I think up for us to take!
Saturday's dessert was peach cobbler. I thought it was good, and Stephen thought it was the best thing he had ever eaten. (It was also super-easy! If you want the recipe for this win-win dessert, click on that link.)

Me: Should we put this in the bear box? (Every campsite has this super heavy-duty steel box dug into the ground that you put food in. I don't know what they're actually called, but we called it the bear box.)
Him: Oh, no way. A bear would get a whiff of that and be on his way over here in a second. He would destroy the bear box to get to it....he's probably on his way here right now. *Sniff sniff* Huuhh?? Peach cobbler??? *Bear sounds as he snuffles in the peach cobbler and gobbles it up*

In case you're wondering how we slept on the second night, it was a lot better. Thanks for asking. We opened up the sleeping bag and put that on top, and just spread out the blanket on the ground under us. Stephen's prayer probably helped a little, too:

"Please bless that I will be kept warm tonight, and that if it gets cold, that Heather might be useful in warming me up...."


We were hoping to see some moosen on Sunday morning, but we didn't make it to the lake as early as we wanted.....because we were sleeping so soundly! JK, that's not why. It just takes like a week to get anywhere in Yellowstone.

We did, however, see a super-cool waterfall!

"Man. Can you imagine going down this? That's death, right there. I don't even think you would survive it a little bit."
Strangely, these kinds of signs make me feel awesome, while the ones about bears make me feel scared out of my mind.
Here's the picture Stephen took of us, with arm extended.
Here are the pictures that other people took of us:

Hmmm, I don't think that's quite centered....
Not even close. 
Nice, very nice. Besides the fact that my butt looks like it got elephantitis, and you can't see the waterfall at all, even though clearly that is what we wanted a picture of....us in front of the waterfall, but you know. This works, too. 
I....what? What happened?
So that's why we can't have nice things. Also, why so many of our pictures are selfies. 

Like this one. Selfie all the way! (Just kidding, we just found someone who was a little more competent.)
"Babe, I think an animal got ahold of your leggings last night. They were like, kinda wet when I found them, and off in some bushes?" .......Okay good to know, because I've been wearing them for 4 hours now. 

Yellowstone Lake is beautiful, but I wouldn't recommend swimming in it to anyone but a penguin.
As you can maybe tell, we haven't showered in days. Don't hate.

We were feeling a little geysered out, but you can't exactly go to Yellowstone and not see Old Faithful. It would be like going to Krispy Kreme and not getting a donut. 
We briefly considered staying here for our trip, but ultimately decided that we were going to camp and so we might as well camp and not stay at a hotel. But then we went inside, and we will definitely spend at least one night here the next time we come. 
There happened to be a photographer there doing a book signing for his newest book. I guess I just attract famous people? I flipped through his book while Stephen took one picture after another of the beautiful architecture inside.

"There's just such a nice feeling in here....I want this to be my house one day."
"Wouldn't that be fun? We could host like classy parties here...."

Me: Let's get a picture in front of this fireplace! [scanning the hotel guests lounging in chairs] Which one of these people should we ask to take our picture? Who do you think would do the best job?
Stephen: Uh, I dunno, maybe the guy in that chair over there?
Me: [looking around]
Stephen: ....the one doing the book signing, since he actually is a photographer....

*Spoiler alert: We did not ask him to take our picture.*
The traffic jam we ran into earlier was nothing compared to the one we ran into as we left Old Faithful. It didn't affect us too much....there was just a little bit of slowing on our side and a few cool photo ops. But then, we drove past literally 6 miles of traffic at a complete stop, and all thanks to a small herd of bison who thought they owned the place.

The rangers had to be called and they were having a field day on their megaphones! "Red shirt, return to your vehicle now." "Everyone needs to be in a vehicle." "Carry on." "Do not come within 25 yards of the bison!"

Stephen: A bee!! *Swat* Sorry, dude, I did not want to have to kill you, but you were attacking me!
Me: Did it sting you?
Stephen: It was trying to, but luckily there was a lot of hair right there on my leg, so it couldn't get it's stinger in.
Goodbye, Yellowstone! And thanks for a perfect weekend.

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