July 6th – Rexburg, ID
Today was 7 hours of driving that took us to Rexburg, where we had planned to stay the night.Â Along the way, we had some car trouble, as our “Check Engine” light came on.Â This really freaked us out, and after a few calls later, we decided to stop in at a Auto Zone we found along the way thanks to our GPS.Â It was some sort of oxygen leak, so we bought a new gas cap, and he reset the sensor, and we continued along our way, though a little more gingerly.
Once we arrived in Rexburg, about 45 minutes later, on our way to food, we decided to drive through Main Street, and was surprised to find that Brittany had a boutique in this city!Â We had to find parking and take a picture in front of the store.Â I think the person inside, probably thought we were nuts taking pictures, but Brittany loved that she found a store with her same name!Â The kids spent the evening swimming, before heading to bed, for a day of hiking in Yellowstone the next day.
July 7th – Yellowstone Hiking – Day 1
Our “Check Engine” light hadn’t come back on since it had been reset, so we decided to drive the hour and a half to Yellowstone, since that is where we had a cabin for the next 2 nights.Â We made these reservations back in January, since I wanted to spend my birthday in a Yellowstone cabin with the family.Â Â We ran into tons of road construction being on Highway 20, with lots of 30 minute delays, so it took much longer to get to Yellowstone than we had anticipated.Â We finally arrived in Yellowstone, and was greeted with more construction in the park.Â They had road construction and pavement projects going on all over the park, and of course, we just had to hit them.
The last time we were in Yellowstone, June 2 years ago, some of the trails we wanted to do were closed because of snow, so we were really wanting to do those hikes this time, since it was later in the summer.Â The first hike we wanted to do was the Artists Paintpots trail, which, of course, meant going through construction delays, twice.Â But we did it anyway.Â It was a short 1.2 mile hike, with a variety of colored hot pools and pots.Â Climbing to the top of Paintpot hill, gave you a nice overlook of all the paintpots below, and watching the large boiling mud pot at the top was very cool, although a few times, we almost got hit with mud!
Next we headed to the Fountain Paint Pot area.Â Silex spring was really pretty to see, and we saw a few fumaroles as well.Â The hiss and roar of a fumarole comes from gases – steam, carbon dioxide, and a little hydrogen sulfide – rushing from the earth through the vent with very little water.Â The kids love watching the steam come rushing out of these vents.Â We also witnessed the Spasm Geyser going off, which was completely unplanned.Â It was a small geyser only reaching about 3 feet, but we happened to be walking by when it erupted.
No trip to Yellowstone is complete without visiting Old Faithful.Â The kids wanted to watch it erupt again, so we decided to do some hiking in the area while we waited for it erupt.Â As we were walking up to the area, Old Faithful was erupting, which was pretty neat, since it erupts about every 92 minutes now.Â We still decided to do some hiking in the area, and check out the Upper Geyser Basin.Â We did a small hike to Solitary Geyser, where we found a sign that says it erupts about 4 feet every 5 to 7 minutes.Â As we waited for more than that time, we got excited when we saw a rush of steam coming out of the hole, and then a very small spurt of water..not even long enough to catch on camera.Â It was definitely a bit disappointing.
So we headed back to the Upper Geyser area, and to the trailhead ofÂ Old Faithful Observation Point.Â Climbing the hill to the Observation Point allows you to take in one of the best views of the Upper Geyser Basin. From this vantage point 250 ft above Old Faithful, the panorama was spectacular.Â It was still another 40 minutes until Old Faithful was going to erupt, and we were getting eaten alive by bugs, we decided to head down from the Observation Point to watch Old Faithful from below.Â The kids enjoyed watching this geyser erupt again.
We decided to try to find where our cabin was, somewhere by Yellowstone Lake.Â After mistakenly thinking we were in the Lake Yellowstone Hotel Cabins, we headed over to the Lake Lodge Cabins which is where our reservations were at.Â We had a Western Cabin (G-10) which was basically a rustic motel room in a building with 3 other rooms. Section G was located furthest up the hill from the Lodge and was nice and quiet and still a short walk to the Lodge. The exterior is nothing to look at, but inside was perfectly fine. Our room had 2 queen beds, table, desk fan, a nice new bathroom and a heater that worked like a charm, not that we needed it.Â There is no TV, internet or phone (or cell signal) which adds to the whole outdoor experience.Â After seeing what the Lake Yellowstone Hotel was like, very fancy and upper class, I was glad we were at the comfortable, laid-back Lake Lodge, which is in a truly serene and beautiful spot.Â The main Lodge faces the lake with a stunning mountain backdrop.Â The lodge had a gift shop, an overpriced cafeteria and a little bar in the lobby with beers on tap and the cozy fires lit each night made it very warm and cozy while you watched the sunset over the lake.
I was very surprised to find that I had a Birthday gift left in our room for me.Â Some Huckleberry BonBons in a nice wood box.Â I had told them we were staying here for my birthday when I made reservations, but did not expect anything, since it was just mere conversation.Â That was a nice surprise, for sure.Â Scott barbecued hamburgers on our new Paul Jr. Designs Coleman RoadTrip Grill.Â We decided to bring our own food, instead of eating out in the park which can be very expensive. Â After eating, we took a walk down to the Lake, and saw 3 bison in the field grazing.Â The kids had fun skipping rocks at the lake, and watching the sunset.Â It was truly beautiful.