Thursday, August 2, 2018

Yellowstone/Jackson Hole!!

My husband attended two years of Ricks College, back in the day (‘93-94 and ‘96-97) long time before it was made into the 4-year university it is today, BYU-Idaho.

During that time, he was (and still is) an outdoor enthusiast. He went to Yellowstone several times, including one time in the winter and rode around on snowmobiles with his father. He went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Throughout our marriage I would often hear him reminisce about how beautiful the Grand Tetons were. 

We just got back from a family reunion in Island Park, Idaho. We stayed 20 minutes away from the west Yellowstone entrance. I was able to see for myself the beauty and variety all available in this one national park. In one word, “stunning.”

We were also able to explore some beautiful places near Island Park, Idaho. One of them turned out to be my husband’s favorite thing of the entire trip! And it was something that he had never seen before!

After our family reunion, my immediate family headed to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to explore the beautiful area—the first time for all of us except my husband. He had not been back to Yellowstone or Jackson Hole for over twenty years.

 There is something miraculous about seeing your spouse’s face lit up with genuine excitement and contentment. This was how it was for me as I saw him reconnect with nature and his love of the outdoors. Working in a job that often requires him to work long hours and sometimes drive 6 to 7 hours in a day had left him battered and weary. He definitely came back renewed. So before I post all my favorite pictures and little captions, here’s one of a man, who gives all to God and family, doing one of his favorite things:

And now, my other favorites...

The Grand Prismatic Spring with its glorious array of colors.

Old Faithful being, well, faithful!

Boiling mud, simmering mud, popping mud, mud volcanos, mud waves, hissing vents—oh my—the variety!!!!

True “yellow stones”

Wildlife viewing!!! Collectively, our family saw: 7 black bears, 32 bison (including one that walked right up to our car—we left!!), 9 elk, 3 deer, and 1 moose!!

Mesa Falls (near Island Park)

Upper Falls (Yellowstone) and what appears as a “Weekend at Bernie’s” moment—when my husband propped a sleeping child up next to her sister for a picture! 

Trekking all over to capture all the beautiful angles of the Grand Tetons!!

Iconic Jackson Hole photo

National Museum of Western Art (with our own personal child dossiers!)

Sunday shenanigans at Johnny Sacks cabin and the stunningly clear water at Big Springs (Island Park)

Moments like this to hold on to for forever...

Family Reunion 2018

Yellowstone National Park. I finally saw, for myself, what all the hype was about and Mother Nature did not disappoint!

Eight months ago I snagged two homes in Island Park, ID (only 20 minutes from the West Entrance of Yellowstone!) for all my siblings and their families. It had been almost three years since a family reunion and I wanted to have one before my eldest child left home. We already knew that my parents would be absent :-(. We are at a point that many other large families understand; you and your family are so big in numbers that the likelihood of every individual being able to get together at the same time gets smaller and smaller. (As of right now, July 2018, our family consists of my two parents, eight siblings, eight spouses, and twenty-five and a half 😉 grandchildren. That’s already 43 people and two of my siblings are just at the beginning of having their own children!!)

So—six out of eight siblings  and their families were able to attend—not bad! We didn’t take any formal pictures since we were missing people (especially my parents!!) so, hopefully another time soon!!!

Was so glad my kids could “rebond” with their cousins. It just makes your heart glad to see the kids rekindle that special relationship of cousinship—kind of like friendship but with the added bonus of knowing you share family ties!! 

Each family explored the area as they wished, but every evening we spent together for dinner and game playing! Werewolf was particularly popular this year—and as many as wanted could play together! We did also end up spending an afternoon at a local water park with all the cousins too.

(My only sister, newly expecting—receiving a maternity jumper that our mom made and wore with her last pregnancy—and our brother who was that last baby!)