This kid is seven years old this year. Seven is our family’s favorite number (Harry and I’s first date was on a seven, we got married on a seven, my first daughter was born on a seven, and my second daughter came home on a seven). So we decided a while back, that we’d plan a trip with each kid in mind when they were seven.
For this trip, we had three things in mind: volcanoes, stories, and adventure.
We started off in Jackson, WY, where Bean did a high ropes course. Showing some serious determination, she made it all the way through, her little body collapsing in my arms at the end from sheer physical exhaustion.
There was lots and lots and lots of swimming…
And we dipped our toes in a couple of lakes.
For the stories part (she’s a story collector), we went to see some shows. This was her dancing through the streets after we saw The Ballad of Cat Ballou.
We took an unmarked path to a place the Grand Teton rangers wouldn’t discuss with me – Boulder Town, where tons of giant boulders were left behind by a glacier thousands of years ago (in our family, we call that glacier poo).
We learned lots about forest fires, and once had to drive 5 hours out of the way to avoid one. Thank you to the firefighters and teams that work on these!
My Bean’s biggest dream is to see an erupting volcano. Since it’s really hard to make that happen, we went to Yellowstone to see a SUPER VOLCANO: geysers and mud pots, hot springs and fumaroles. This was their first time seeing Old Faithful erupt.
And then was the coolest! The girls did the Young Scientist program, for which they got to take a backpack out for a few hours and do a cool workbook. It had a magnifying glass, rock samples, stopwatch, and coolest part of all: an infrared thermometer. You could point it at all the hydro-thermal stuff and get temperature readings. It was hard for Harry to take turns with the girls…
And in this family picture, it looks like he’s shooting me. Just an infrared thermometer, folks. And Harry Gee.
We tried to go into the park later in the evenings, to avoid the crowds and to be there at sunset time.
So here’s the cool place to use the infrared thermometer. Those different colors are different microbes that grow in different temperatures.
We took a ranger hike, and this little bird walked right alongside the girls for like a quarter mile. They LOVED it. The poor ranger had to keep waiting for us to catch up.
And then, the ranger led us to a place where you could dig down in the sand and feel the heat from all the thermal activity underneath us.
We saw lots of animals, but our favorite were the bison. And our most favorite bison activity was when they flipped over and scratched their backs on the sage, kicking up all kinds of dust.
These two were sworn in as Junior Rangers in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton. They also got badges for Junior Scientist. The badges this year were extra awesome because this year is the Park Service’s 100th anniversary. Bean says that she hopes to come back to the next one when she’s 107 and get another badge.
We went on a scenic raft tour that had just a couple of class 2 rapids.
And Bean got to be our guide for a bit!
We did lots of hiking…
And when the going got tough, Bean helped her sister out.
Then back to Salt Lake City to hit up the museums there before our plane home.
These two. Goodness. (They’re picking the noses of their animal hats).