Yellowstone misadventures

Miles driven: 128.2
Pages read: 128
Steps taken by Megan: 16,574
Steps taken by Noah: Probably less because he has really long legs.

If you haven’t read yesterday’s post yet, go ahead and do that now. For those of you who have been waiting for this moment, your wait was not in vain:

And this is after a solid minute of trying to smash it down into something a little less crazy so that I could walk to the public restroom:

Poor Noah was worse off though because his tent leaked after all the rain and he ended up sleeping in the car. It was a pretty cold night and I felt bad because I forgot to give him my blanket but then he told me he fell asleep wearing shorts and a t-shirt and I felt less bad.

This is the only stop of the trip that we were staying at one location for two nights and one whole day because…Yellowstone! It was still raining when we left camp but we headed to see Old Faithful anyway. She did her thing right on time:

I also did a little souvenir shopping. Noah would probably not have described it as “a little,” but I have learned to pick out things while on vacation that will carry meaning with me for years to come so it’s worth it. Plus, how could I have not bought the pajama pants that had a picture of a cartoon bear and said “I’ll be your huckleberry.”? That would have been a crime. Also I probably didn’t need the Yellowstone blanket the cashier pitched to me, but since I had already spent $50 it was 50% off!

After Noah finished being shocked over my gift shop addiction, we decided to drive this huge loop through Yellowstone. We’re talking about 100 miles (still only a fraction of the park). This was a great plan except I had left all my snacks back at the bear proof box at camp. And I am not really a nice person without my snacks. This will become important later.

Next on the loop was the Grand Prismatic Spring, which looked gorgeous in all the pictures we had seen. We parked the car and figured it would be a few hundred yards away. So we walked. I saw a sign that said this way for a trail, but I wasn’t really up for a hike at that moment. Plus we had been warned several times that in Yellowstone you should always hike with at least three people, carry bear spray, and make a lot of noise. I was only equipped to do one of those things so we decided to skip the trail and kept walking. And walking. And walking. At one point I started to doubt we were going the right way, so I asked one of the few people we had seen out as far as we had walked if this was the way to the great prismatic thing. She said yes, you can go left for these falls or just go to the Grand Prismatic Spring. The falls were 1.2 miles away so I said no thanks on that. On we walked. And walked. And walked. Along the way we saw a lot of pretty nature, a bison, and a bald eagle. But no great prismatic thing.

If this was a hike with the family back home, I would have been the first one to say I was done with nature. But if I decide I’m going to see something once-in-a-lifetime while on vacation then by golly I’m going to see it. Noah went along with me for a long time.

Finally when we hadn’t seen any people in quite some time and we could see the path going on a long ways with no stopping point, we admitted defeat and started the long walk back. Then it started to rain harder. We both were drenched to the bone in minutes. My glasses fogged over. I started looking at my feet and just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. At one point I turned to Noah and told him that if a bear came up to us right then I wouldn’t notice until he ate me.

Eventually we got back to the turnoff for the falls and I saw someone else. When I asked if she knew where the great prismatic thing was, she said “oh yeah there’s a turnoff on the way back, it’s pretty close to the parking lot.”

*long pause as we took a minute to digest this information*

So it turns out that the trail we decided to skip was the way to the Grand Prismatic overlook. We trudged our way back in the pouring rain to the place where everything had gone awry.

Yeah. Turns out it’s really important to read the smaller words under the sign.

I told Noah that he could go to the car but after walking this far and getting this wet, there was no way I was not going to see the stupid prismatic thing. He agreed.

Turns out the trail we should have taken was only 400 yards long but at a pretty steep incline. We only made it halfway up.

Me: That’s pretty.

Noah: Yeah.

Me: Okay let’s go.

After we got our waterlogged selves back to the car, I vowed to not get out again until we made it back to camp. Of course I ended up breaking that vow a half dozen times because Yellowstone just had to keep being so dang beautiful.

This was about the point that my hanger (noun form of hangry), without any snacks to appease it, reared its ugly head for the first time this trip. I’m sure all the sights the last 14 miles of the loop were incredible, but we will never know for sure.

We got back to camp late afternoon and did a little laundry, but we still had some time to kill even if we made it an early night. I decided to read for a bit. Noah went to the bathroom to charge his phone but came back shortly because neither of us had any signal. Then, right before my very eyes, HE DECIDED TO READ A BOOK. Yes, you read that right, 70 of the pages in the count at the top were read by Noah! I tried not to make any sudden movements as he read for a solid 30 minutes.

It was a book about the history of hunting in America written by one of the guys from Duck Dynasty that I bought a few days back with the idea of enticing some of my students who aren’t big readers but love to hunt. Since Noah could be the spokesperson for that group he picked it out, telling me that the Duck Dynasty guy, the fact that there were pictures, and that it was pretty short were all points in its favor. Clearly all I need to do to get my sophomore hunting boys to read is install a phone signal blocker in my classroom.

Just before bed I gave Noah both our blankets and wished him luck because it was STILL RAINING and was expected to drop in temperature by quite a lot.

Scenes from our next episode:

Spoiler: My impulse blanket buy may have just saved Noah from hypothermia!

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About The 1st Draft

I am a 30-something English teacher living in the Midwest who loves books, television, soccer, a good conversation, Cardinals baseball, and playing with my adorable nieces and nephews.
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2 Responses to Yellowstone misadventures

  1. Oh, the temptation! Oh, quandry! Oh, the risk! Can’t tell you how much I wanted to post that first image on FB, but I couldn’t face being shut out of your communications for life!

    • Don’t worry Larry, I am 100% positive my students will eventually find the photos. It’s summer now, but one of them always ends up finding my old blog around October and passing it around. It’s always fun when they show me something they think will embarrass me and I just laugh and say something like yeah, I’m pretty awesome like that. They never know what to say after that and it’s hilarious to watch.

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