Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Our Trip to Wyoming

Earlier in May our whole family plus Big Sam (Julie's friend) went on a week long vacation to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  We spent most of our time at the Grand Teton National Park, but we drove to Yellowstone for one day. We packed a picnic lunch each day and spent the day hiking....most days 6-8 miles. Our most exciting hike of all was 10 miles. At night we just hung out at the condo--reading, talking, playing cards, and resting. 

It was a fantastic trip! Jimmy took hundreds of pictures, and I have narrowed them down to about 60 to share.

First of all, it was cold!  May in Mississippi is pretty warm, and my children have been swimming since April. In Wyoming, the temperatures dropped below freezing some nights, and there was still snow in some places. 

 Big Sam, Leah, Julie, Olivia, Me, Sam, and Clay

 Big Sam, Little Sam, and Clay
Throughout this trip, if there was a rock, the kids would climb on it.  No exceptions.  No matter how tall the rock was.

 There are very few pictures with Jimmy in them because he is our family photographer!

 Sam will climb on pretty much anything.

The snow we saw and played in was deeper than any snow our family has ever seen.

All 8 of us!

 Climbing a rock...

 Jumping off a rock.....

 Posing on a rock.....


 Resting on a rock....
I'm guessing this was not a tall rock since I am on it too!

 The scenery was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.  We were in awe of God's marvelous creation every single day.  The pictures cannot capture the beauty!

 Leah and Sam playing in the snow.
There were quite a few snowballs thrown on this trip!

 Another rock climbing....

 I'm just pausing to take it all in....plus I am probably pausing to catch my breath!  The high altitude did affect me.

More risky behavior.
This whole trip was one big risk-taking adventure!

 On this day we visited Yellowstone.
Our family (which at the time included only Olivia, Julie, and Clay) visited Yellowstone once before--14 years ago.

 Sweet Sisters!

 Big Sam sliding down the hill.



 And Sam---head first, of course!

 Old Faithful!

Outside the Old Faithful Inn

 Julie and Sam

This rock was difficult to climb, so Jimmy gave Clay some assistance.

 Only Clay and Big Sam made it to the top of this one.
You can tell how big it is in relation to our car.

 Our family.
My kids are growing up!  Right now they are 21, 18, 17, 12, and 10. 

 The waterfall and canyon below were so beautiful!

 More snow

The following pictures somewhat document the most exciting/scary/near death experience day of all!
Since the snow is just now melting in Wyoming, some of the hiking paths were not completely clear.  Nothing was posted as "closed", so we just picked our hike for the day (called Death Canyon Patrol Cabin) and forged on.  As we began, I wondered out loud why the trail was called Death Canyon?  I was soon to find out.  We almost died by falling in a canyon more than once!  (Not really, but it was super, super scary!)

 Leah and Sam (on a small rock).
The trail started out harmless enough.  We covered many switchbacks down, down, down, to the lake overlook.

 It was so beautiful!

Then we got to the part of the trail that was blocked by snow.  I though we would turn back.  But no!  I was with the adventuresome family that wanted to keep on going. I think they wanted to get to the top of the mountain!  I couldn't very well stay behind and get eaten by a bear, so I bravely (or not so bravely) followed them.  I did text Lynn and Leanna several times with updates......

So here is Jimmy, making the path across the snow-covered raging river safe for us to cross.

 That is a hole in the snow where you could see the water rushing underneath.

 We made it across, and the kids found this neat tree to climb on.

 Wow!  What a view!
How much farther to Death Canyon?

Crossing more slippery snow

Just crossing another obstacle on the trail.

 We are crazy!

 Another rock picture.....

 And everyone else had to climb up there too.

Destination:  The Death Canyon Patrol Cabin.

And now.....we had to go back the way we came!

 Headed back.....

 Playing in the snow

 This is how I felt for most of this hike!
Really? I'm climbing a mountain?

 Here is Jimmy after he slipped and fell on some rocks.
But he did not drop the camera!

 Posing for more pictures on the way down.

 Julie and Big Sam

 It's still precarious.

Wait.  Another rock.

And finally, 10 miles later, we were back at our car.  All in one piece!

On our last day we did one last (short) hike.  The weather was iffy that day--rain was looming, and we did not want to be caught up high on a mountain in a storm. So we chose a short hike.  Up to a peak to eat our picnic lunch, and then back down. Nothing like the excitement of the previous day......

 Headed up the trail

 At the top.
We ate our lunch, and started back down.  Big Sam was in the lead, and after a few minutes he calmly said, "Bear.  There's a mama bear and two cubs!"
I panicked!
 See the bear in the tree?

 Of course Jimmy got close enough to take pictures.
I was far, far away!

 Now the bears are coming down the path---toward us! Jimmy was hollering at the bears, and he and Big Sam both had a can of bear spray (to use to stun the bears if they got too close).
The rest of us just kept backing away....

And then finally, the bears veered off the trail and headed down the mountainside, away from us.

All safe!

Another fun Johnson Family Vacation.