Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Yellowstone with Family

We headed to Yellowstone this weekend with my in-laws (mom, dad, and brother Kyle and his family). The weather wasn't great, but we had a nice time. We left Afton around 5:30 am arriving at Jackson Lake (our first stop) to fish around 7:30 am. The water was calm and the fish a little sluggish, but we did okay despite the cold water temperatures.

I took the 4 boys to the lake fishing on Friday morning to "try it out" and we did well. But the fish were really sluggish, hitting only the slowest moving spoons and lures. We ended up getting two big suckers, so took them home, filleted them out and made some cut bait out of them for fishing with the in-laws.

Jared caught the first fish, a nice 18 inch mack, on a red and white kamlooper. Bruce, my father-in-law, thought he had a snag; macks don't go too crazy when hooked. Jared landed it triumphantly, yelling across the lake how he had landed his first mack ever and it was HUGE!

Cole was the hero of the day, hooking the most but not personally landing any of them. He let his brothers, sister, and cousin reel in all his fish. He was using sucker meat on the bottom and almost lost his steelhead rod to a 19 inch mack. He caught the end of rod as it headed out to sea. Corey landed that one; his first mack ever.

Abbie was the next recipient of kindness from him, landing another mack of around 20 inches. It snagged her up on the bottom and I had to pull it loose; thank goodness we had 12 pound test on! When it came loose Abbie fought it in the rest of the way. This was her first mack ever also.

The last mack of the day Tyler got to reel in. Cole was slowly reeling in his bait when the 23 inch mack hit hard. He handed Tyler the rod and let him land it. What a great kid! I hooked a few fish that others landed as well (a cutthroat, brown, and a mack that got away). It was a good start to a great day.

While we were fishing a pair of Canadian geese came into the bay and landed across from us. They were up on the bank for a 15-20 minutes when they noisily flew a short distance back into the water. A red fox came out of the trees and reduced their little of family by a few heads. We watched him kill and eat all the goslings. It was pretty cool. I liked what my father-in-law said, "if I had a .22 I'd save the rest of them." But in a National Park that would be slightly frowned upon.

We left the lake around 10:30 am. After getting into the Rockafeller Parkway I spotted a grizzly just off and above the road. It was digging up the mountainside less than one hundred yards off the road. A lady from Teton County pulled up in her van, along with a 1,000 other park visitors, and got out her 500 mm lens. I commented to her she didn't need to show up my wimpy 17-85 mm lens like that, and she offered me to use her lens! So, I hooked my cannon body to her enormous lens and took some SWEET pictures of the bear.

We hit West Thumb geyser basin next and had a freezing cold walk near the lake (still iced over by the way).

My father and Mother-in-law enjoying the spring weather on Yellowstone Lake near Big Cone geyser, just up the lake from Fishing Cone geyser.
Kyle and Amy's Family freezing together on Yellowstone Lake. Clay, the baby, was a lot of fun. He is quite the character. He and I get along quite well!
My family with some of Kyle and Amy's kids mixed in at Yellowstone Lake.

A geyser in West Thumb Basin. It took this picture because of the flat, smooth stones in the pool in front of the geyser's vent.

Lyndie practicing her alphabet on one of the signs. She actually knew which were "O's". Jared has been working on his alphabet a lot lately and Lyndie's favorite song to sing is the alphabet song; her version can be quite entertaining! So it was cool to see her recognize some of the letters she has been learning with her older brother.
After West Thumb we headed off to Whiskey flat picnic area along the Firehole River for lunch. It sits just north of the lower geyser basin. We had hotdogs and brauts with potato salad, potato chips, cold fried chicken, smoked pork ribs, a lots of junk food. We needed 1,000 gallons of hot chocolate, but we were out of mix, so we suffered in the cold. After lunch we made out way up river to Black Sand Basin and then on to the upper geyser basin to see Old Faithful erupt.

It was a great day/time to be in the upper geyser basin as Old Faithful, Grand, Riverside, and Castle geysers all erupted within a few hours of each other. I saw all but Grand (The one I've most wanted to see) enjoying the rainbow at Riverside geyser when ever the sun came out, and the enormous amount of water spilling over the huge geyserite cone of Castle.

We saw lots of elk, antelope, deer, a few buffalo and lots of people. The weather wasn't great, but I love the unpredictable spring of the Rocky Mountains. We ate a cold dinner of fried chicken, rolls, chocolate, potato chips, and smoked pork ribs in the Old Faithful parking lot before heading home. We got back to Afton around 1:30 am and slept quite soundly, actually. I can't imagine why!

Riverside Geyser, with the rainbow it is so well known for, erupting.

Morning Glory Pool, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Lower End of Upper Geyser Basin at Dusk, just above Morning Glory Pool. This picture was taken off the bridge that crosses the Firehole River just below Riverside Geyser.

Castle Geyser in the Upper Geyser Basin

Lyndie noticed she had a shadow while we were walking back up to Old Faithful Inn that evening. The sun was at a really low angle in the sky, so her shadow was 15 or 20 feet long. She commented to Kim how big she was. It took us a minute to figure out what she was saying and then realized it was her shadow she had noticed. I took this video of her just after that, playing with her shadow.