On Saturday, the fam and I took advantage of Yellowstone National Park's "get in free day" and so Weston and I loaded the kiddies and a picnic basket in the minivan and headed north. On the way there, we told the kids of all of the wonderful animals and mud pits that they could potentially see in the park. Well, right away The List was created of all the creatures that we needed to see in order to have a successful Yellowstone trip. Roman added, but was not limited to, a buffalo, a moose, a chipmunk (just one was fine) and a deer.
Stopping at the visitor's center at the park entrance to pick up some maps we were told that President Obama was also in the park that day and it was possible to catch a glimpse if we played our cards right. I thought, neat, hopefully we'll see some bison and the POTUS. It was like a two-fer-one deal. So President Obama was added to The List.
Soon after entering the park, we located some moose. So that one was crossed off. Chipmunks were pretty plentiful so that one was easy to check, and a little while later the kids were able to see some deer off the highway. We were doing awesome! But still no President sightings. As we were driving along, I perused the Park Journal that was given to us as we entered the park and I learned that buffalo and deer weren't the only animals to behold. I read about a small groundhog-like critter called the yellow-bellied marmot that inhabited the area. Well, of course, I had to observe such a beast with that kind of a name so that, too, was added to The List.
We stopped at the Paint Pots, the Mud Volcano and some other geysers and did our touristy-duty by heading towards Old Faithful. On the way there, we were stopped on the road and suddenly a buffalo the size of our van came sauntering down the road in the other lane. Weston rolled down the window as quick as possible to get a picture and I thought that was a good way for us to get gored but the buffalo ignored us completely and kept on walking.
After Old Faithful, we learned some more news about the President. We had just missed him. I was a little disappointed but I kept my hopes high for the yellow-bellied marmot. Being an optomistic person I just knew I would see one even though it was getting dark and time to head home.
Driving along, we kept looking for other animals to see. Since the kids were getting a little restless we told them to look for bears. Well, lo and behold Brooklyn suddenly pointed one out right next to the road! Could this trip get any better? Yes! A short while later, I finally spotted my yellow-bellied marmot. It was everything I expected and more. What a satisfying day! We had spotted six out of seven things on The List. Those are good numbers if you ask me. Overall, Yellowstone is definitely a worthwhile trip. . .as long as you have the right expectations.
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