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A Successful Trip!

I turn 40 this week. Yellowstone National Park is one of my favorite places in the world, so I decided we should go spend the weekend in the park for my birthday. As we got closer, I discovered I wasn’t really looking forward to it. Both kids are exhausting at the moment, and Ophelia especially does not do well in the car. Or in the cold. Or in any situation where her indecipherable needs are not being met. When I saw that thunderstorms were forecast all weekend, I almost canceled. But we’d paid a deposit on the cabin so we decided to take a chance and see what happened. 

Well. The weather worked out almost perfectly and the kids were amazing! They handled all the time in the car, they hiked, they even (mostly) behaved themselves in a fancy restaurant. Ah. Maze. Zing. 

On day one, we headed up to West Yellowstone and had our usual giant pancake lunch before venturing into the park.

Then we drove down to West Thumb geyser basin, where both children managed to a) not fall into a hot spring and b) actually seem interested in the thermal coolness!

Then it was onward to Lake Hotel to check into our cute yellow cabin.

That evening, we braved the super fancy restaurant at Lake Hotel and had a lovely (outrageously expensive) meal, with wine and dessert, too! Both children stayed in their seats, actually ate some food, and didn’t make a giant mess.

I started to think that some great life change had come over them, that they were going to be easier from now on, but then they proved me 100% wrong when we got back to the cabin and attempted to go to sleep with all four of us in the same room. Yikes. Needless to say there was quite a bit of yelling from all parties until sleep was eventually accomplished. 

Day two, we decided it was about time our kids started hiking! So we headed out east to Storm Point trail. A 2.3 mile trail past Indian Pond, through lodgepole pines, to a rocky bluff on the lake, and back around again. It was beautiful.

Declan walked most of it, while Ophelia alternated between walking and riding on my shoulders. It was wonderful to get back out onto the Yellowstone trails and away from the crowds that now fill every boardwalked spot.

Declan had be carried at the very end when he declared his toes hurt and we discovered he’d had his shoes on the wrong feet the entire time (whoops), but other than that, he rocked it.

After getting back to Lake and eating some late lunch, we wandered around the hotel and the lakeshore (including some walking in the rain) before dinner and more bedtime arguments.

Day 3 and it was time to head home, via a quick stop amidst the crowds at Fountain Paint Pot geyser basin.

I seriously cannot believe how good both of them were. I consider it a huge birthday gift that they allowed me to enjoy this visit to the park, and actually shared in some of the wonder with me. 

Now I’m off to the sofa with a cup of tea for a rest before beginning all of that laundry. 

Happy birthday me! 


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