Sunday, September 08, 2013

Yellowstone National Park: Around Camp

We camped amongst tall Lodgepole Pines at Indian Creek Campground.  The kids got to learn about how forest fires are necessary for the reseeding of Lodgepole Pines, as they have a serotinous cone that only opens in the high heat from fires. It reminded me of the white pines at Crater Lake that are only opened by the Clark's Nutcracker. Erik fought fires in Yellowstone in 1988, when nearly a third of the park was burned. We were able to see many areas that were burned that summer. The new forest is lush and beautiful. 

    We just spent three nights camping and exploring Yellowstone National Park. Ever since we left British Columbia on August 1st we've been really busy, and were all looking forward to being together in nature and having some time to relax. We didn't end up sitting around relaxing much, but it was a wonderful, refreshing time exploring the wonders of creation. I knew very little about Yellowstone prior to going there, so it was one discovery after another, and it was fun to experience it together with the kids. I have a lot more pictures of the park itself, its wildlife and wonders, but here are a few shots from around the campground, where we enjoyed retreating at the end of some full days of exploration. 

Erik took the kids down to wade in the creek that ran near our campground. It's amazing how much water there is in Yelllowstone: rambling lazily along, rushing through canyons and over cliffs, bubbling up from the ground, steaming, boiling, seeping, springing, bursting forth from geysers! 
There's a happy boy wading in the stream. 
The kids were thrilled to see deer grazing in the trees around our campsite. One morning there was a doe and her two fawns. 
The older three kids worked hard to earn Yellowstone Junior Ranger patches. They had to complete several activities in the book, answer questions about things they did in the park, hike a trail, and attend a Ranger Talk. They were all so pleased to earn their patches and be sworn in as Junior Rangers. 
This was "back to school" week for many, and even though we didn't crack open the books, the kids learned a lot about geology, wildlife, ecosystems, and more as we explored Yellowstone. The Junior Ranger program is fantastic, as the kids really have to do quite a bit to earn their patches.  Yellowstone also has a Young Scientist program. We didn't have time to complete it, but I would love to do it someday. 
The campground host told us we could gather wood from anywhere in the park, and since  the area around camp was pretty picked over, the kids scavenged wood as we explored throughout the park. The result was a raging fire at the end of the day! 
Boy + stick + fire = happy!
Campfire Kids


  1. I remember one of our Ranger talks we attended at Yellowstone was about the Clark's Nutcracker! So interesting how they open the pine cones and get out the pinenuts and can store 40 in their cache (cheeks). So much learning going on... ♥ Many great memories in the making!

    1. I love learning little things like that.... I hope the kids catch that enthusiasm too!

  2. What a great time of year to visit Yellowstone. It's been ages since the one time we camped there with our children...
    Just this week I was in the mountains too, and suffering from smoke drifting down to the southern Sierras from the Rim Fire near Yosemite. In the mountains the history of fires, or the threat of fire, is often on the mind.
    I really enjoy sharing in your family travels and camping!

    1. I'm glad you're enjoying it! I love learning along with the kids.
      My grandparents lived very near to Yosemite and used to take us up there when we visited. The last time I was there was when I was pregnant with my 8yo! I hope to take the kids there one day. It's such an amazing place.


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