Monday, June 23, 2008

Wyoming Trip - Yellowstone

The second part of our Wyoming trip was 4 days at Yellowstone National Park. We received some funny and odd looks while balancing baby on top of the park sign. This is also proof that baby made it into Montana, where this picture was taken at the north entrance.

Yellowstone was amazing. It is such a unique area. Many of its natural features aren't seen anywhere else. Yellowstone is also very large, and there are very few roads so we spent a large part of the week just driving. However, driving was very enjoyable because Yellowstone is so scenic and we were always animal watching.

Around every corner you have the potential to see beautiful wildlife. We saw most of the kinds of animals that Yellowstone has to offer. Usually it was easy to spot animals - just drive around and look for a huge traffic jam with people walking around their cars.


Bighorn Sheep...
My favorite, the Bison...Erin's favorite, the Moose...

Prong-horned Antelope...

And even a good view of a black bear.

The Geysers were awesome. Geysers require a very rare blend of conditions to be possible. As a result, there are very few in the world. Yellowstone holds 2/3 of the world's geysers. In fact, the 1 mile stretch we walked through in the Upper Geyser basin has 25% of the world's supply.

Everyone knows about Old Faithful. What you might not know is that for every showing (during the day at least) literally thousands of people surround Old Faithful to watch. It felt like a sports stadium.

We walked along a boardwalk that goes through many small geysers and hot springs.

We all picked geysers that were named appropriately for us. Baby was the Infant Geyser.

I was the Economic Geyser.

And Erin was the Spiteful Geyser.

Here is the Morning Glory Hot Spring.
We stayed at Pahaska family reunion lodge just outside the east entrance of Yellowstone. It held our entire clan and offered beautiful views of the mountains.

The closest city to us was Cody, Wyoming, named after Buffalo Bill Cody. On the way we stopped at a cool dam that was over 100 feet high.

Cody is the self proclaimed "Rodeo Capital of the World!" I have to admit, the rodeo was pretty good, but the best in the world??

One day we drove nearly all the way around the park, stopping at the main attractions and taking the short walks to the scenic views. Here we saw the grand canyon of Yellowstone including the upper and lower falls.
Here we visited the Mammoth Hot Springs, which were quiet at the time but still very unique.
Yellowstone is a remarkable place. I hope to return someday.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wyoming Trip - Jackson Hole

We just got back from an excellent Elenbaas trip to Wyoming. All 24 members of the Jack Elenbaas family spent a week in Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. It was a terrific time of bonding, seeing nature, and enjoying life.

We arrived in Jackson Hole on Saturday the 14th around suppertime. After checking into our condo at the Snow King ski resort we settled in and enjoyed the hot tub.

Sunday was my first Father's Day as a father. I was rewarded with a crying baby at 6:30 am :) Knowing that Erin can't sleep through a noisy baby I took Evie out of the room, but quickly realized there was no where for us to go. Every available space in our condo had someone sleeping in it. So I popped Evie in our front carrier and put on her hat and mittens (socks over her hands) and we went for a walk. Snow King has several hiking trails up their slopes so we just started walking along one of them. Up and up we went. I was working hard and Evie was sound asleep. Every 10 minutes I would consider turning around but kept thinking I was near the peak. Finally at 8:00 I reached peak with a beautiful view. It turns out the hike up was 2 miles with 1700 feet elevation gain. I thoroughly enjoyed my father-daughter time, even though Evie never realized we left. She slept soundly the entire time.

In the afternoon I convinced half of the Elenbaas group to join me back up the mountain. I again carried the little princess to the top and she again slept the entire time.
On Monday we packed up and headed for Yellowstone. We spent the day hiking in the Grand Tetons on the way. A group of 8 of us left early and drove to Jenny Lake. We took the ferry to the other side and hiked to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls.

Jenny Lake:
Hidden Falls:
Inspiration Point:
We hiked through Cascade Canyon which was very scenic with rocky cliffs on both sides and a nice stream running through the middle. We intended to hike to Lake Solitude but the final 2.7 miles were all snow and the lake was under 8 feet of snow and ice. Apparently the Tetons had a very late spring, and it was snowing until just a week before we arrived.
Much of our hike into Cascade Canyon was snowy.

The 8 of us wanted to do 10+ miles so we hiked all the way around Jenny Lake after returning back to the ferry dock. It was a beautiful hike with great views of the lake, streams, and Tetons. In all we hiked 13-14 miles over about 7 hours.
The rest of the group met us at Jenny Lake. On the way up to Yellowstone we stopped for more scenic views of the Tetons.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Stormy Weekend

It was a warm but very stormy weekend at the cottage. As usual, Evie provided plenty of entertainment.
Once in awhile I let Evelyn lay on the table after changing her while I walk away to get something or wash my hands. Erin doesn't like it, even though I'm only gone for about 15 seconds and Evelyn cannot even come close to rolling over. Just in case you are worried, I never leave her within 2 feet of the edge of the table either. She's fine.
Friday night Erin gave me some proof that our little baby is more mobile than I believe. I convinced Erin to let Evie sleep on the floor instead of her car seat while we were at the cottage. So we laid her on a blanket with a burp cloth under her head and went to sleep. At 4:30 Evelyn woke Erin up for a feeding and a surprise. Look where Evie's squirming took her!!
She had rotated about 120 degrees clockwise and scooted halfway off her blanket. Erin didn't think I'd believe her so she took a picture and made me look at it when I woke up. I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I guess I need to be more careful where I set Evie.
We notice that we rarely call Evelyn by her real name. Here are some of our regular nicknames for her:

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Darren's Bachelor Party

In proper guy fashion we celebrated Darren's pending marriage. Jason did a terrific job organizing it.

A group of 12 of us met at a park in Fremont for some lunch and ultimate Frisbee. At 2:00 we headed to play paintball, a sport few of us had tried before but sounded very manly.
It was great fun. We shot at each other and bragged about the welts we had earned. By the end of the afternoon we were ready to call it quits, and headed to Hesperia for dinner and camping.

On Sunday afternoon I returned home in time to enjoy the weather with Erin and Evelyn. As Zeelanders, we are now a short drive from Lake Michigan and it's many beaches. We drove to Riley beach to relax for a couple hours and take a walk.
Dad and Evie napped for an hour...well Evie was supposed to but she decided to fuss for most of the time. Dad showed her how real napping is done.