We have been to eight national parks in the last year: Crater Lake, Redwood Forest, Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches, and now Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Melissa and I often have the conversation about which one is our favorite or most beautiful. This is a valid question, but an impossible one to get a clear answer. They are each beautiful in their own right. Each has activities that are amazing and fun. Yellowstone, as with the others, is stunningly beautiful and full of great activities.

Our adventure to Yellowstone started on Sunday, July 20 around 8:00 am. We left in the morning with hopes of catching a church service somewhere along the route to Yellowstone. As we turned off of I-15 to head east we were driving through Menan, ID. As we entered the city Melissa got really excited when she recognized where we were. It turns out Melissa has strong family roots in this quaint farming town. In fact, they were the original settlers of this community. She then proceeded to tell the family about the incredible story of her great-great grandma. We were able to catch a sacrament meeting and I could tell Melissa was riding a family history high during the entire experience. While she finished her degree at BYU in Family History, she wrote a whole history on this town and her ancestors who were called by church leaders to this part of the world.

We arrived in Yellowstone around 2:00 and setup camp near the western entrance at Madison Campground. In hind sight, this is a very good campground for several reasons. It is near the town of West Yellowstone, 5 minutes from the Firehole (a great alternative to a shower), and it is very close to the preeminent geyser basins. With that said, if we ever stay in Yellowstone again, I think we will try camping near the Grand Canyon area. That area is very central to the entire park, plus it had access to wifi!

After setting up camp, we ventured out to the Upper and Lower Geyser Basins. We experienced Silex, Paint Pots, Red Sprouter, Leather Pool, Jelly, Jet, Celestine, Excelsior, and many others. The kids were blown away at the crystal clear blue pools, bubbling mud, and shooting hot water. We made it to the grand daddy of them all, Old Faithful, at 4:52; right when it was predicted to erupt again. After a brief wait, it went off at 4:59. The kids were very excited to see how high it shot into the air. After walking around the boardwalk and experiencing the other amazing pools and geysers, the kids really wanted to hit a gift shop. As we walked through the store full of Yellowstone gear and trinkets, Truman resolved to purchase a pocketknife…which he did. While we had a little trepidation about buying a 6-year old a knife, we calculated that it would be alright. Moreover, Maxwell received his totenship this week and was all to eager to help Truman learn knife safety skills, including the “blood circle.”

We headed back to camp where all worked to prepare Melissa’s deliciously planned bacon-wrapped chicken and berry crisp cooked in a Dutch oven for dinner. It was awesome.