Day 5:  We ❤️ Wyoming...

...which is a good thing, because we will be driving the entire WIDTH of Wyoming. TWICE.  The morning broke chilly and rainy, but we were determined to redeem our story. We are a family that HIKES. So we broke camp and headed to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. A couple of hours earlier than usual. 

Bison Sightings!

These are just the weirdest creatures. They look like something Dr. Seuss would have created. Sweet furry faces with soulful eyes on these barreling bodies.  

A Couple of Boys Had the Best Hike Ever

After our Jenny Lake hike, Jason and I put our heads together and our combined 26 years of parenting experience to work in order to make hiking a more pleasurable experience for all.  And, in classic Jason fashion, it was a three-pronged plan. 

ONE. SNACKS. Lots of snacks. Suckable yogurts, animal crackers, twizzlers, raisins, you name it, it's in the backpack. That Jason carries, poor man. 

TWO. Landon walks until he sighs and says, "Ahhh. How about we take a little break?"  Then into the backpack or onto shoulders he goes. Good exercise for the mama and papa. 

THREE. INCENTIVES. These are uniquely designed for Carter Pett. You have a good attitude?  You are helpful?  You comment about how you feel without complaining? Then you can earn time on the iPad. You fuss, whine, cry, crab, or in any other way distract from the pleasure of the hike?  NO iPAD. 

I am happy to report that the three-pronged approach was very successful. Carter was the most cheerful and compliant hiker that the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone ever did see. Carter remarked as we ascended to the top of the canyon, "This is FUN!  I LOVE my attitude today!"

Gold Star for the three-pronged plan. 🌟

The hike itself was stunning. Spencer said that it exemplified the word breathtaking. We began in a meadow filled with wildflowers.... 

 ...stumbled across more HOT WATER...

  ...strolled beside Lily Pad Lake

  ...reached the peak to see the beauty down below    ....and ended at a glorious waterfall. 

Quote of the Day

As you can imagine, many animals live in Yellowstone. And where there are animals, there is scat. There were many, many questions about which animals made which scat.  And, of course, I couldn't google it. 

Carter:  No one knows everything, right?  Even you don't know everything.  I mean, you don't even know what kinds of poops these are!

Profound thoughts from our philosophic five year old. 

We ❤️ Wyoming

I grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, next door to a retired rancher and his wife. They spent their days and years raising two daughters and running a ranch outside of Lusk, Wyoming. My childhood was sprinkled with fascinating stories of ranch life, of driving down to Laramie or over to Casper, of the colorful characters in their small community (Well, then, Ole Bob came in and...) and vivid imaginings of the land they worked and loved. Since I was four years old, I always knew that I had to visit the home state of my dear Hank and Ruth. I only wish that I could tell them that we all have fallen in love with the unpredictable, wild, volcanic, rambling, awe-inspiring state of Wyoming.   

RV observation #5:Items that get wet, shall remain wet, forever and ever. Amen.  Be they books, towels, or electronic devices, they will be forever changed.  Which leads me to.... Things That Spilled Today During Switchback Turns in the Bighorn Mountains:

A half-gallon of milk. 

A half of a hard-earned soda (see incentives, above). 

A pod of green goo that belongs in the toilet after business has been completed. (It's a host of enzymes that eat things up in the septic tank. I was wondering if it would eat the floor I stood upon. Or maybe eat the feet that stepped in said goo). 😜

Only in Wyoming (and maybe also in Montana and the Dakotas, but we haven't seen that yet)

Cody Stampede: Wyoming's Rodeo Capital of the World.   Huh?  Are there rodeo capitals of the world in each state?


  And, of course, Landon exclaimed, "HOLY COW!"

Road closed in winter

Crazy Woman Creek. Crazy Woman Creek Road. Crazy Woman Saloon. 

Look, boys!   More things named after Mom!


The sign don't lie. 


  Carter:  I care for them. I don't want lions to eat them. I swear, this child thinks he's in Africa. 

Dirty Annie's Restaurant 

Something tells me we won't be dining at this particular establishment. 😳

Night begins to fall and we realize we can't make it to South Dakota tonight. We called five campgrounds that were all filled. So sorry, but there's no room in the inn. We were kindly directed to a local battlefield that accepts payment on the honor system. ELEVEN DOLLARS to park overnight. Another reason we ❤️ Wyoming. And this battlefield, which was the unfortunate end to four tribes of Native Americans (we Americans have a complicated past), could not have been more perfect for our crew.

  Check it out, Uncle Connor!

 A playground, a good dinner, and a fire. Not much more this family could ask for. 

Thanks, Wyoming.