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The Great Outdoors

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S: Yellowstone National Park - Summer 2011

BC: Made with love for my 3 boys. Love always, Mommy

FC: The Great Outdoors | Summer Fun 2011 | Badlands & Black Hills, SD Grand Tetons & Yellowstone, WY

1: - The boys are ready to go - | World's Largest Truck Stop | Tractor trailer truck on display at truck stop | Iowa 80 Trucking Museum | First overnight stop we made was at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop. What an awful place to sleep, but a really cool place to visit. | June 23, 2011

2: Things we saw along the way | Lots of beautiful farmland | Flooding along the Missouri River, a crashed camper, a dust collector, antelope and a lot of Wall Drug signs

3: First stop for passports: Buffalo Gap National Grassland Ranger Station in the town of Wall, SD and then a visit to Wall Drug. | And finally we've made it to the Badlands National Park | **June 25th**

5: * The Badlands Wall * Taking a hike to see the beautiful landscape

6: There was some crazy weather in the Badlands while we were there.

7: We enjoyed all the animals we saw at the Badlands.

8: We also visited the Minuteman Missile site before we left the area. And then mother nature rewarded us with a beautiful rainbow.

9: June 27, 2011 While heading to the Black Hills National Forest the scenery started to change very quickly to pine trees.

10: On our way to the Black Hills we had to stop at a nifty antique shop just outside of Deadwood. Gavin Jr. bought an old pair of binoculars he used on the rest of the trip.

11: a stop at Pactola Visitor center at Pactola Reservoir, SD | We've made it to the town of Custer and the campground. Here's our cute little site and pine cones on the tree.

12: Crazy Horse Memorial The world's largest mountain carving | June 27, 2011

13: Mount Rushmore National Memorial | the boys below the memorial | Gavin looking up at the presidents with his new binoculars | some of the military were rewarded with a surprise trip here | studio model used to carve the sculpture | mountain goat under Lincoln's chin

14: A beautiful ride along the Needle's Highway. This is the Needle's Eye.

15: Wind Cave National Park *** Hot Springs , SD One of the world's longest caves with calcite boxwork that looks like honeycomb. Gage looking down into the original entrance of the cave. | June 28th | EXPLORE

16: The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, SD. *** This is the Karst Sinkhole that formed around 26,000 years ago and is now the world's largest mammoth research facility.

17: After the Mammoth Site we went to the Wild Horse Sanctuary and then to a neat spot, called Cascade Falls, where we had a picnic and the kids could swim.

18: We finally made it to Wyoming. We drove through Bighorn National Forest and made a quick stop while on our way to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. | June 29, 2011

19: We drove through a portion of Yellowstone Park the evening of the 29th to get to the campground which is located between the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. It was extremely dark, on a winding road, where we just about ran into a huge elk. For the next 3 days we explored the Grand Tetons. That first morning we were excited to see a brown bear right away. Below is our first view of the snow-capped Grand Tetons and Jackson Lake.

20: We went to the top of Signal Mountain and then the boys took a walk near Jenny Lake looking for elk. | June 30, 2011

21: We visited the historic Cunningham Cabin that was surrounded by beautiful land. We also stopped at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center.

22: Jenny Lake July 1st

24: Yellowstone National Park July 2, 2011 | First stop in the park was to check out Lewis Lake and to stand on a big pile of snow. We then came across a snow slide at the Continental Divide at 8,391 feet. Kids had a blast. Do you see the snowball being thrown at them in the above picture?

25: There are many geysers and thermal springs in this area. | We made it to Old Faithful. Such a beautiful sight.

27: After Old Faithful we drove to Madison where the boys swam in the Firehole River and daddy fly-fished. We ate dinner that night in West Yellowstone in Montana. On our way back to the campground Daddy stopped to look for bison hair and found some. Leo got cold and put his sweatshirt over his legs and fell asleep after a long, fun day.

28: We visited the West Thumb Geyser Basin at Yellowstone Lake, drove by an area of burnt trees, took a walk to a "natural bridge" and stopped to see the mud volcano area. | July 3rd

30: Upper Falls in Canyon Village and the gorge the Yellowstone River runs through. A wolf and an elk that we saw in the area.

31: Mammoth Hot Springs

32: Swimming at the Cody KOA Campground where we stayed for our last few nights in Wyoming.

33: Cody, Wyoming Rodeo Capital of the World

34: Our last full day in Yellowstone. Our first stop before heading into the park was at the historical Buffalo Bill Dam on the Shoshone River. The dam was named after William "Buffalo Bill" Cody who founded the town of Cody. | A rock structure that looks just like Phineas from the t.v. show Phineas & Ferb | Several feet of snow still left in the park from the winter. | July 5, 2011

35: Enjoying some quiet time at Yellowstone Lake skipping stones.

36: While driving to Lamar Valley we saw some flooding along the Yellowstone River and more beautiful open country. It was always fun to see the bison roaming free.

37: An area of regrowth between Canyon Village and Tower-Roosevelt.

38: We came across Roosevelt Corrals near Tower-Roosevelt where we decided to take a coach ride. It was a lot of fun.

40: After leaving Yellowstone we headed back to Cody by way of the Beartooth Scenic Byway. We stopped for lunch in a small town called Silvergate in Montana where we saw a moose. When we left we quickly came upon a storm where we were sure our truck was struck by lightning. The National Weather Service came on the radio to tell listeners about the severity of the storm and to stay away from it. We ended up driving right through it. Later that evening hail fell at our campsite. | sculpture at Dead Indian Gap along the byway | lots of rain | ominous clouds

41: On July 6th we had lunch in Cody, did a little shopping and hung out at the campground. On July 7th we headed for home. It's been a wonderful summer vacation. We've been able to explore so many amazing places out west. But before we left the area we had to make one last stop at the Devil's Tower National Monument in the Black Hills. We arrived home on July 9th. All in all we drove around 5500 miles.

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  • By: Heidi V.
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  • Title: The Great Outdoors
  • Yellowstone National Park vacation
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  • Published: over 4 years ago

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