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Parents to be


Mystery Snake

July 11: Wading

While on vacation in Wyoming, my parents and I took the kids to a wonderful area with a creek just perfect for wading. I forgot how much I loved to walk through moving water until I saw the look on my kids’ faces as they waded through the water. At first, the cold shocks. But, then, your feet get used to the temperature and your body is refreshed.

This wading area is near Douglas, Wyoming at Ayers Natural Bridge. The creek creeps along until it runs into the river near there. My father took Spark wading down the creek a bit, but Flower was content to just sit down in the water and splash. The water moved slowly enough that I could just sit on the bank and watch them play.


Exploring Waterfalls




July 3: 2009: Camping in Yellowstone

It started raining about the time we finished our lunch at Bubba’s BBQ in Cody. We worried about setting up our tent in the pouring down rain and thunder and lightning. Almost as soon as we entered Yellowstone National Park, the sun came out. Daddy and I set up the tent pretty quickly, with only a couple snafus. (The written instructions weren’t the best in the world, and neither of us had ever set up this tent before.)

Momma had bought this new, fully waterproof/weatherproof tent just for this camping trip. We also anticipated taking the tent to South Dakota and camping near Mt. Rushmore. Veterans of camping, my parents had prepared. Daddy brought extra stakes to reinforce the tent’s foundation. And Momma. Wow. She brought enough food for our two-night, three-day stay in YNP to feed us and half the bears in the park. 21 hot dogs. 12 pork chops. 8 ears of corn. 5 chicken breasts. A dozen eggs. 20 sausage links. Buns. Chips. Marshmallows. 30 candy bars. Oreos. Cereal bars. Tortillas. Chex Mix. Vanilla wafers. Graham crackers. Hershey bars. The list goes on.

After Daddy and I got the tent set up, Momma sent us to the general store about 4 miles away to get insect repellent and firewood for our firepit. Our campsite had an infestation of mammoth mosquitoes. You know if they can survive the Yellowstone winter, they are indeed voracious, and they were biting. After paying $30 for some Off! and citronella candles and coils, Daddy and I walked out of the general store to a mega thunderstorm: pouring rain, streak lightning, roaring thunder. We drove back to the campsite, where we had just unloaded all our gear in a big pile. Momma had shoved as much as she could inside the tent, and put the kids in the tent with her. They were running in circles in our 13×9 space, very excited. Some of our gear (like our new canvas camp chairs) were soaked through, but Momma had managed to get the sleeping bags and clothes inside the tent.

We soon noticed that our tent was not exactly waterproof as water began to run down the walls, collecting in puddles on the floor.

July 3, 2009: Driving to Yellowstone

We scored an excellent rental car. The only rental car place in Casper, WY, was out of minivans when my mom called to rent a car. So, we got a nice GMC Acadia instead. Leather. Satellite radio. DVD player. Temperature controls for each quadrant. Dolby surround sound. All this helps when you face a long, barren highway with two children, especially when you are sharing a backseat row with those two young children.

Lily surprised me. She’s usually a rough traveler, but maybe she’s moved beyond that stage. She was fairly good-natured most of the way. But, then again, this is the first big trip she’s taken since being weaned from breast milk.

Our long path stretched from Casper to the East Entrance of
Yellowstone Park, about 60 miles west of Cody, WY.

As the map shows, there are basically no roads between those two points, and basically no cities or towns either. Some of the “towns” listed a two-digit population. It seemed as if one family lived 60-100 miles from anyone else, including gas stations and stores.

We saw the Big Horn River, which is a scientific curiosity in that it flows uphill from south to north. We drove through Old West outlaw country, where Buffalo Bill and others had famous duels. We ate lots at Bubba’s BBQ in Cody. And, we sat back and waited to enter two million acres of wilderness beauty.


July 2, 2009: Preparing for Yellowstone

In light of the forecast, my mom bought Dalton and Lily parkas. As we were packing, they tried them on to make sure they fit.

I’m not sure any stores in Austin offer parkas like this for sale.

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