On Monday we left the condo as soon as the kids woke up and hit the grocery store for breakfast. After that, we entered Yellowstone! This is our fourth family trip to Yellowstone, and we have never done the North Loop in previous trips. We fixed that this time.
First we headed to Canyon Village where we got hike suggestions, rented bear spray, procured lunch, and used the restrooms.
Then we drove to Tower Falls for a very short walk to the falls.
After the falls, we drove to the Lamar Valley and took a lovely short hike in the valley. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me, and it is certainly the place where we took the most pictures. If my groin weren’t still strained, we would have hiked a lot longer. It was just such a wonderful, expansive, soul-liberating setting.
After the Lamar Valley we drove to Mammoth Hot Springs. Our phone died so we did not get any pictures at the springs.
On the way, all of the kids fell asleep, and Lydia woke up very sad from her nap. She sobbed the entire time we walked around the springs. This was the biggest highlight of the trip for me personally because, for whatever reason, I felt infinite patience, love, and peppy-ness that I almost always feel too depleted to access. I took her and Mary’s hands, and I was my best-Mama self the whole time. It was a revelatory experience for me because I glimpsed what I want to be capable of on a daily basis. I saw what I am capable of giving to my children, and it made me long to actualize and become this best version of myself all of the time. It had been so long since I have been my best self that I actually did not even know this person existed inside of me.
However, my best self disappeared afterward when the girls loaded me up like a coatrack before they peed in the restrooms, and when I reached to flush after Mary peed, one of her mittens fell in the potty. I snatched it up, but it was soaked and I decided to throw it and its match away. I couldn’t handle the idea of toting home all of those public-toilet germs.
Mary threw a huge tantrum and I was not patient. That was sad.
And then on the ride home Ammon threw up everywhere. Clarissa was screaming bloody murder the whole time, so when we stopped to clean up Ammon, I had to nurse Clarissa and Abe was left to clean it all up. Bless him.
But it was, all in all, a wonderful day. We love Yellowstone, and Abe and I both felt transformed from different parts of the trip.