What an awesome trip this was!  I just can’t stop saying that.  We got up early around 7 am.  We slept a little better because the first night is the worst (usually) and then it gets a little better each subsequent night.  Kevin & I, with Maxwell’s help, made a bacon, eggs and pancake breakfast.  This was the breakfast they’d been waiting for from the moment we arrived at camp!  About an hour later, we headed out to hike to the top of Mt. Washburn.  

On the way up, Maxwell excitedly collected obsidian rock pieces.  They are so shiny- it makes Yellowstone a glitter park.  Admittedly, at first I told him it was just gravel from an old asphalt road (which clearly existed at some point to the top of Washburn), but he was pretty insistent that it was obsidian.  I think he’s right.  We also came across a bunch of Big Horn Sheep.  They were not shy.  They didn’t seem to mind us close by.  The wildflowers were also brilliant!!  It must have been the perfect time to catch the incredible diversity of wildflowers on the mountain.  

We had an amazing happenstance meeting up, as we just started to head down, with a former missionary from Ukraine- Neal Dastrup.  We were able to meet his wife and a couple of his kids.  Thankfully, he recognized us first!  It took me a few moments to realize who he was.  But as soon as I made the connection, I was once again stunned at how small the world is. Kevin & I have wished over the years, that we knew more about the missionaries we served with, or at least be able to keep up with them better.  So it was a fortunate experience for us to randomly run into a good friend, Elder Dastrup, nearly at the top of Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone!  
Oh how the kids loved the Big Horn Sheep!  

In the afternoon, we went to Firehole for round 2.  It was our “bath.”  How else can you get cleaned up by the third day of camping?  In the evening, we hit the Canyon Visitor Center and had dinner at the diner.  On the way back, we took a quick hike into the Artist Paintpots.  It was so beautiful and diverse with color, but also full of mosquitos.  I swear mosquitos flock to me first… I was running all the way back to the car to avoid more bites!  Yellowstone is an amazing place, which I never really understood before really seeing it this time.  It really is an active volcano simmering far below the surface, with fantastic formations, acidic boiling water and steam coming up everywhere as a sign of it’s ongoing presence.  

Artist Paint pots

Can you tell how happy they are to be sleeping in a tent for the 3rd night?? (Excepting Hannah)