FC: Yellowstone 2011
1: Yellowstone 2011 Celebrating Tom and Mary Jo's 50th Wedding Anniversary
2: By car or plane, from the East Coast and the West, and even though our pilots seemed far too young, we all arrived safely in Wyoming.
4: Grand Teton National Park | Our trips were beautiful, no matter which direction we came from.
8: Fall asleep like this... | ...and wake up to this!
9: Welcome to Yellowstone National Park
10: The cousin clan is reunited! Alex, Christian and Melody were thrilled to see each other again. Melody crawled out of bed at midnight to greet her cousins.
11: Much happy cousin time was spent in Grandma & Grandpa's room, writing with all their new supplies.
12: The first order of business was to get familiar with the incredible
13: Old Faithful Inn
14: The favorite activity for everyone at the Old Faithful Inn is, obviously... | Shopping for a new Yellowstone shirt...? | Exploring... | Relaxing... | Trying on hats... | Planning the week, or ...
15: ...seeing Old Faithful!
16: Beyond Old Faithful, there was much to see and explore, including full spectrum of beauty.
17: Yellowstone's Natural Rainbow
18: Small, still, bright turquoise pools were enchanting. | Little geysers were very exciting on the first day of exploration. | Yellowstone's strange wonders were only beginning.
20: We were hooked from the first day. | Christian and Melody danced in the mist of a Geyser.
24: Yellowstone can look vibrantly alive,
25: ...and forlornly desolate.
26: A day of celebration in Yellowstone | Alex, Christian and Melody took great pride in matching outfits and hair. The adults, well, they just weren't as cute. The wildlife, however, was cute. | The amount of wildlife we saw that morning should have been an indication of what was to come... | This one was behind glass.
27: Picnic lunch near the West Thumb of Lake Yellowstone
28: The grandchildren put together a show for the 50th Wedding Anniversary Lakeside Picnic. Details were organized, Narration was provided, And the drama unfolded.
29: Dancing ensued.. With much singing. "Happy 50th... until your 60th!" Curtain call!
32: Evidence of previous life in Yellowstone
34: The log held endless attraction for three very happy kids.
35: Tom and Mary Jo have very photogenic grandkids.
36: The Wildlife comes to us Soon it was time to wash up and move on. As we were washing our hands, we were joined by an unexpected visitor.
38: Kepler Cascades
40: Evening dinner at the Old Faithful Inn Restaurant
41: The whole family gathered for the celebration.
42: There was still a whole week to celebrate and explore, so, after a morning watching Old Faithful, we were off to Mammoth Hot Springs.
44: 145 stair steps to the top, and the views were incredible all the way. The girls found that the pack horses who carried the bags to be very helpful.
46: Mammoth Hot springs looks like the surface of another planet.
48: The source of the spring was green and colorful, but the travertine it left behind was nearly colorless.
50: The kids loved the roller coaster ride! | The roads were perilous, with hairpin turns and steep cliffs.
51: Those crazy roads afforded some fantastic views, and we even got to see a bear!
52: The Roosevelt Old West Dinner Cookout came highly recommended. We rode out in a horse-drawn covered wagon to dinner and a campfire. Yee-haw!
53: The kids were in horse heaven at this cookout.
54: The kids loved their new hats, building forts near the creek, the freedom to run and play, spending time with the horses, eating the cowboy dinner, and music around the campfire.
55: There was even a "real" cowboy singer. From Michigan. Where all good cowboys live.
56: Lamar Valley | We drove through Lamar Valley at sunset, hoping to catch a glimpse of some wildlife. First we saw a bison, and then a few bison, running and having fun. | And then we saw...
57: ...hundreds of bison. | Grazing and playing, in the far off fields.
58: Content that we had seen real wildlife here, we drove off into the sunset. We didn't get very far. | First came the crossing guard, to scope out the scene and stop traffic.
59: Then the procession began, right in front of us.
60: It started out as a peaceful crossing...
61: ...but broke out into a fight, a little too close for comfort. What a way to end the day!
62: Dressed for success and another exciting day. | After a leisurely buffet breakfast and much time laughing about the previous day's adventures, we were ready for more fun.
63: Firehole Falls was a great place to play and relax.
68: We found a perfect place for a picnic lunch, right next to the Firehole River, where we could spend more time playing in the water. Some of us got into the river further than others.
72: The paint pots. A family favorite for years! | Still photography doesn't do them justice.
73: Spasm Geyser went off continuously for more than 30 minutes while we watched. Still photography doesn't do this justice, either.
74: Excelsior Geyser Crater
75: Grand Prismatic Spring
77: The higher your vantage point, the better the view. So later in the day, some of us hiked up a nearby hill to take pictures.
79: It was a steep, treacherous hike. for a glimpse of a postcard-like view.
82: Morning thunderstorms kept us from horseback riding. So on to the amazing sights of | Artist's Point and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. | Hey! Look! We're at the picture in the book!
84: From Artist's Point, the views were equally stunning on the left...
85: ...and on the right.
86: It became clear very quickly why the names, "Artist's Point" and "Inspiration Point" are used for these spots.
87: We were inspired to get a closer look at the falls. A much closer look.
88: Alan and his lovely assistant got some great photos of the water. It's hard to capture just how close, fast, and loudly this water was roaring, but these come close.
91: Brave climber Melody scaled the rocks to unprecedented heights. Whose daughter is she? | The cliffs around the roaring waterfall were steep and treacherous. It was amazing to see what could grow in such circumstances. | Alex is holding her new stuffed bear. Each cousin earned one at the end of the week for completing a book of stickers collected at specific spots in Yellowstone.
92: Stopping at the Mud Volcano Area featured some weird sights and smells with appropriately weird names: Black Dragon's Caldron, Sour Lake, Mud Caldron, Dragon's Mouth Spring, and Sulfur Caldron.
94: Traffic congestion means something different in Yellowstone.
95: Evening dinner was at the lovely Lake Yellowstone Hotel, which afforded sweeping views of the Yellowstone landscape through huge windows.
98: One last day was all we had, so after walking the local geysers, we decided to go back to our favorite spot of the whole week. But which one?
99: Upper Geyser Basin | Spiteful geyser. Another great name.
101: The boardwalks here were so close to the geysers that we were guaranteed to get wet. | Which we did, repeatedly.
102: The kids became convinced that if they worked together and activated their Cousin Clan Powers, they could make a geyser erupt.. | Rise, Rise, Rise!
103: It worked! We did it! | Did you see? Did you see? All who had seen were amazed and in awe.., and exclaimed, "We have seen remarkable things today."
104: There were little geysers and big geysers
106: ...and some geysers you just have to sit and wait for. Which got boring. So we had to entertain ourselves. | And then some times after patient waiting, they still didn't go off. Until right after you walked away. | Melody wearing Alan's glasses. Alan torturing Christian.
107: At the end of the path was the Morning Glory Pool.
108: Finally, the choice was made. Back to Lake Yellowstone for one last dip before we all had to go home. The trip will last a lifetime in our memories. Thanks for including us in your celebration in such a fantastic way!
112: Contributing Photographers