Hello from Yellowstone National Park!
We’ve spent the last few days exploring one of the country’s largest and most spectacular national parks.
Our adventure started off on a high note – Tyler had our one and only bear sighting (thus far) during our drive into the park. He’s becoming our resident wildlife scout, as earlier in the trip he spotted a huge bull moose relaxing near camp.
Our first day in Yellowstone involved a two-hour drive north to our campground in Madison. After a few rounds of ninja, Hannah and Tyler began cooking dinner. Evey one enjoyed the pesto pasta and breaded chicken that they made, especially Scott, who said it reminded him of his mom’s cooking. Jack also helped out a lot with dinner, even though he wasn’t on cook crew, and his efforts were much appreciated. He showed off his chef’s skills by flipping the chicken in the pan in the air and not dropping any pieces! Hannah demonstrated great initiative after dinner by being extremely organized, starting to clean before even being asked, and motivating the group to do the same.
The next day we were off to the great state of Montana for ziplining and an afternoon of white water rafting on the Yellowstone River. Matt and Charles were leaders of the day and both did an excellent job. Thanks to their leadership during the early morning hours, we were off and ready to go right on time. Although we has to split up because of size restrictions on the zipline platforms, we had a great time anyway. Chase had garnered the most style points by the end of our excursion. Every time he had a chance to try a new midair pose – like Superman, the lemon, or even Spiderman – he took it. He also impressed everyone in the group by his speed while crossing the sky bridge. While many of us inched across step by step, Chase was fearless and ran across the wobbly planks.
After a quick lunch, it was time for rafting, which for many people was the highlight of the day. It was Scott and Devon’s first time on white water. Scott said he had a great time, that it was much more fun than he expected, and that it was nothing like the raft ride at Disneyland. Devon also really enjoyed her experience. She was one of the first to volunteer to “ride the bull,” which means to sit on the very front of the raft, feet dangling in the water, while the boat races through the rapids.
When back in camp, Katie Z. showed great patience as some of the stoves needed some cleaning. She was quite flexible while attempting to cook for sixteen people at once with stove troubles, and she was able to adapt quickly to prepare a delicious fettuccine alfredo dinner with chicken and veggies.
While Jack and Katie Z. were busy with dinner, Charles joined a small game of wiffle ball. During evening circle, he shared his drawing for the group journal with the group. Everyone was greatly impressed with his detailed rendition of the day’s activities – people zipping through trees and rafting. Katie R. was drawn in the raft with her feet in the air, to represent a point when she was sitting on the front of the raft and was pushed backward by a big wave. She came up from the bottom of the raft with a big smile on her face and couldn’t stop laughing. As a second part of the group journal entry, Matt wrote a poem about the exciting beginning to our stay in Yellowstone.
Yesterday we toured Yellowstone… we visited the waterfalls in the canyon, Mammoth Hot Springs (they look like the moon!), Grand Prismatic Hot Springs, and Old Faithful. The famous geyser was our last stop, and we were able to get ice cream at Yellowstone Inn before watching the eruption. Sawyer had a fantastic time seeing all of the sites, particularly Old Faithful. Even after a long day of sightseeing, he was still eager for more at the end of the day.
This morning, we woke up at 5 am to get on the water early for a few hours of sea kayaking. After breakfast and last-minute preparations, we drove to Yellowstone Lake, geared up for the paddle, and distributed snacks. Devin continued saving his oranges and collecting donations from others in an attempt to make freshly squeezed orange juice tomorrow morning. He and Chase also did a great job throughout the morning activities as Co-Leaders of the Day. On the lake, we paddled over underwater geysers and past steaming rock fields, getting a unique view of Yellowstone’s bizarre landscape. Nick thoroughly enjoyed the trip, marveling at the warm water (due to the hot springs flowing into the lake) and keeping an eye out for fish the whole time. After lunch, we headed back to the Jackson Hole area for the night.
We look forward to a fun and relaxing 4th of July tomorrow as we prep for our next backcountry excursion with the National Forest Service that begins on the 5th!