Thursday, September 21, 2017

Vacation Learning: summer road trip 2017 #24

This is the last post of our one moth trip west. On our way through Wisconsin, we made our last stop at the House on the Rock. 

We came home to work on the preparations for the National Night out, and teaching a week-long Spanish Summer camp during the second week of August.  Immediately after the busyness, reality set in. We had spent a great month on the road!   
With my fall teaching schedule start date approaching, I did the best thing I could do. I planned another trip.  On Thursday August 26th, with two weeks to spare, we drove south!
Vacation Learning: Summer road trip 2017B coming soon!

Vacation Learning: summer road trip 2017 #23

We did a few hikes at Theodore Roosevelt National park during the couple of days we stayed there.  One of the kids' favorite hikes had us walking in the middle of a prairie dog town to an old building that used to serve as a visitor center. 

If you click on picture #4, Big Sister was looking at a band of feral horses. We simply pulled over at a look-out spot, and walked a few steps to find them.  This group of wild horses gave us a show galloping uphill.  The horses looked amazingly healthy, with beautiful coat colors like gray, bay, and dun.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Vacation Learning: summer road trip 2017 #22

After Yellowstone, we headed north just before heading back home.  We visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  Our daughter was thrilled to spot a band of wild horses just a few minutes after we entered the park. 
At night, in the cottonwood campground, we participated in a wonderful ranger-led program "Igneous Intrusions, Metamorphic Masses, and Sedimentary Stones." We learned about the different types of rocks, and the many interesting formations found in the park.
In town, we were able to attend the presentation "A Teddy Roosevelt Salute to Medora" by the incredibly talented Joe Wiegand.  Little Guy, was chosen as the youngest member of the audience, and received his own Teddy bear. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Vacation Learning: summer road trip 2017 #21

Pebble Creek campground

By Tower looking for big horn sheep. 

The kids got ice cream on junior ranger hats.  What a treat!

Vacation Learning: summer road trip 2017 #20

From the Mammoth Area including terraces, the visitor center, and huge insects found at a campground near the entrance by Gardiner

Vacation Learning: Summer road trip 2017 #19

Upper Geyser basin
Note:  We have been home for a 2 months.  In fact, we went on another road trip since returning from Yellowstone.  I wanted to finish summer road trip 2017 series before starting a new series on our trip south.   But time is limited and I am going to keep it simple.  From now on, I will add pictures, general location, and fun facts.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments. 
Later on, when I get more free time, I will come back to add more details. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vacation Learning: Summer road trip 2017 #18

We drove back up north to the Old Faithful area.  We spent the whole day walking among geysers, and hot springs.  We were gathering clues to figure out if a geyser was or wasn't alive.  It was all part of the Young Scientist program for kids. We purchased a booklet for $5, and also checked-out a backpack with tools to help us in our investigation.  The tools included a heat sensor gun, rock samples, microbes images, timer, pencils, etc.  The kids were able to see Old faithful erupt twice, and truly enjoyed measuring the hot springs temperatures. 
Later on, we hiked to the Mystic Falls.
We spent the night in the Madison campground.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Vacation Learning: Summer road trip 2017 #17

We woke up early in the morning and drove around to spot wildlife.  After not seeing much, we headed back to Jenny Lake.  We sat on a big rock by Moose Pond to eat a snack bar.  Suddenly, a young moose found us! It came down the hill side.  It was as startled as I was. To be honest, I totally freaked out. I though it was a bear coming down.  Instead, the moose looked at us, and kept on going towards the pond.  We watched it eat, and cool off in the pond for a long while.

After all the excitement, we decided to walk along Jenny Lake Trail. Jenny Lake is probably the number one spot for those visiting The Grand Tetons.   It is a beautiful lake with crystal clear waters, and surrounded by beautiful mountains.  At the end of our hike, we saw the Hidden Falls (Picture above).
On our way back we enjoyed a short shuttle boat ride back to the dock.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Vacation Learning: Summer road trip 2017 #16

The next morning we woke up extra early and drove to the Grand Tetons National Park.  We secured a spot at Colter Bay campground (Site O333), and headed out to explore the park. 
The wildflowers, and views of the mountains were gorgeous everywhere. 

We went to the mobile visitor center by Jenny Lake (the area is under construction). The kids talked to a ranger and asked questions.  In the picture above, the ranger was explaining why the peak of  Grand Teton at 13,770 feet was -like my son put it- "so pointy."  We learned that is jagged because it is pretty new compared to other peaks that have been eroded and shape by weather. 

After our talk with the ranger we went on a short walk around Jenny lake.  We were looking for the opportunity to spot a moose.  We were not successful.  On our way back,  even though it was July 2nd, we were surprised by rain, and even some hail.  

Vacation Learning: Summer road trip 2017 #15

We spent the day exploring Mud Volcano Area, and wildlife watching in the Hayden Valley.  
We stopped at the Mud Volcano, Sulfur Cauldron, and Dragon's Mouth spring (second picture).

In the afternoon, we parked our RV on one of the pullouts by the road.  We prepared, and ate our dinner inside our tiny motor-home. We stepped out when an animal appeared.  We were able to see a grizzly bear, elk, and even a fox.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Vacation Learning: Summer road trip 2017 #14

After spending a night in Cody, we were ready to enter Yellowstone National Park.  Our very first surprise was a pair of mother and cub grizzly bears. We spotted them just a little ways after crossing the east entrance.  What a welcoming sight!
We then checked-in at our campground, and headed off to the visitor center.  We participated in a wildlife viewing presentation at the amphitheater, jotted notes of places to visit, signed up for a guided hike, and got the kids' junior ranger booklets. Note: we payed $5 per booklet.
During the guided hike on the Storm Point Trail loop, we learned about Yellowstone's history and conservation.  We got to also see beautiful views of Yellowstone Lake, yellow bellied marmots, and a section of lodgepole forest. 

The next day, we visited the Lower Falls (the Upper Falls were closed), and hiked from Artist Point to Sublime Point on the South Rim trail.  The views of the canyon and the Yellowstone river were gorgeous, and a great option to escape the crowds at Artist Point. Since the trail is along the rim of the canyon, it is not for those with fear of heights.