We finally pulled ourselves out of bed and drove back into Yellowstone. The kids have all been so excited about coming here because a man named John Colter is considered the first white man in Yellowstone. My grandmother Worley’s maiden name was Coulter. My Grandfather Worley thoroughly enjoyed genealogy as a hobby, so I asked him one time if John Colter was related to us. His response was, “Well, we like to claim him.” Needless to say, I have no idea if we are actually related to John Colter, but that has given us a personal connection to Yellowstone which has made it all the more interesting.
So, the first thing we decided to do was to go to a Visitors’ Center with an exhibit on the people who have been involved in the history of Yellowstone. It wasn’t actually our first stop, but it was a nice exhibit from which we learned a great deal. It had just a small part on John Colter (who has a very interesting life as he was part of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery and was the only person given permission to leave the Corps of Discovery on its return trip so that he could go explore even more. I purchased a book about him and look forward to reading it, probably after my dad finishes it 😊.)
Our first good thermal views were of Mammoth Hot Springs. They were beautiful. We had a great time walking around the boardwalks and viewing the many hot springs and various colors that were made from different minerals in the earth. And oh the smell of sulfur, yuck. That rotten eggs smell wasn’t pleasant, but it was worth it to see the beauty.
We primarily spent the day driving around seeing the park and wildlife. We did stop at another Visitors’ Center to get a better understanding of the geology side of Yellowstone. They had great exhibits on the volcanic history of Yellowstone. I particularly loved one part where they had large cubes of ash. One cube was showing the amount of ash generated from Yellowstone’s eruption 2.4 million years ago. The next cube showed the ash generated from the eruption 1.2 million years ago, and the third cube showed the ash generated from the eruption 640,000 years ago. These cubes were different sizes but all relatively large (I am dismayed to discover that I have totally forgotten the numbers that were in my brain regarding this, so you won’t get the full effect unless you actually see this part of the exhibit). But the thing that amazed me the most was the 1 very small cube that represented Mt. St. Helen’s eruption in 1980. The amount of ash generated from Mt. St. Helens was miniscule compared to the ash generated from Yellowstone’s past eruptions. It does make you wonder the effects on the entire country and world if Yellowstone erupts again.
I have been excited about the wildlife that we have been able to see in Yellowstone. There are bison everywhere. We have seen several elk, and today we were able to see a black bear. I was even able to get a glimpse of a mother black bear and her two cubs, but they all quickly moved into the dense forest where we were unable to see them from a safe distance. I am still awaiting a moose. That has been the one thing I have wanted to see the most of this trip, and so far I have come up empty-handed. Of course, our visit here is not yet complete.
Just before heading back to the campground, we stopped to see a thermal area called Artist’s Paintpots. We saw hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pots. The colors in some of these thermal areas were unbelievable. Unfortunately, my camera gave me no warning and the batteries died before we were able to get many pictures. (I did have spare batteries, but I had left them in the camera case in the car which would have been too far to walk back.) We really enjoyed seeing this area of the park.
As it was close to 9:00 when we made it back to West Yellowstone, we stopped at a local restaurant called Gusher for dinner. They had a special on all-you-can-eat spaghetti, so you can imagine what our big boys got. I did too, though I only had one plate. The littles enjoyed their pizza, and Charlie chose a hamburger patty. It was good food, and everyone went straight to bed when we got back to the camper.
Q: Amelia, what has been your favorite stop so far?
A: “The Grand Canyon.”
Q: What did you do/see there?
A: We played with my friends. Played on a playground. I played in the sand. Played in the back of the house. Played on the ground. Played games like “dolphin tails.” I bought things. Watched a movie. I ran on the concrete. I climbed trees. I fell. I saw about 30 elk I think. I saw a river at the park in the Grand Canyon. I saw butterflies. I saw trees, cars, airplanes, water, bags, rocks, cooler, and Noah. Everybody else built a fire. Us went to a beautiful Church. I saw a rainbow. We cooked lunch and breakfast on the fire.
Q: What was the weather like?
A: Weather was like cold. 1degree. It was sleeting, snowing, raining, misting, cloudy, and foggy.
Author: The First Man on Mars
Dictated By: Amelia
Note from Rebecca: I gave Ryon a hard time for embellishing so much on Isaac’s Kids’ Corner, so he wrote Amelia word for exact word. Kids…sometimes I don’t know what to do with them – just sigh, smile, and keep going.