Thursday, August 8, 2013

Yellowstone National Park- Mammoth Hot Springs

You know how after a trip you are usually ready to come home and get back to real life? This time I most definitely was Not. I could have stayed forever. It was just to relaxing and beautiful. I can't say that enough. 
When driving through yellowstone, in a valley surrounded by mountains on all sides, I kept being struck by the same thought and said it out loud to Drew several times "seeing this kind of natural beauty, put here for us, how can you not believe in God?" I mean I obviously know many people who don't, but when faced with that kind of beauty, put here for us by Him, I just felt so completely overwhelmed. It feels like 'proof' to me that there is a God.  And I'm so thankful there are places like that here on Earth for us to enjoy. Just pure, natural beauty. 
If Yellowstone national park hasn't been on your bucket list, you seriously need to add it. It was sort of on mine, like  "yeah I'd love to go there some day" but if I had any idea just how amazing it was it would have moved it's way up that bucket list.
To say we have Yellowstone hook ups would be putting it lightly. I mean we have yellowstone hook ups. Big time. You see, my dad is kind of a big deal there. I'm so proud of him I have to brag a little bit, kay? Without getting into details about what he does, lets just say he's kinda a big deal. 
As of last winter he lives there year round, which not many people do besides some park rangers and a few others in the corporate office. The rest of the Yellowstone workers live there seasonally, most in little dorm rooms or shared cottages. He lives right inside the park in an adorable three bedroom house with the most fantastic view. Not a bad place to spend a vacation huh? Not only did we stay with him in Mammoth, we also spent a few days around the rest of the park, but I'm going to try to break down the areas of the park as I've already gotten emails about what to do/where to stay there.
So first off, there's the Mammoth hot springs area where my dad lives. It's located just a few miles from Gardiner, Montana, the north entrance into the park.  There's several camping sites (all with full signs so plan ahead, even for camping because everything books up months in advance I heard) and there is the mammoth hot springs hotel and cabins- which these cabins I heard come with hot tubs! We didn't stay there obviously as my dad has a house a mile away.
While in mammoth we went on some incredible walks (there are some great hiking trails!) went up to the Mammoth hot springs (a must!) spent time in Gardiner (such a cute town with awesome little shops and restaurants) and one of the coolest things ever, went and sat in a hot spring! My cousin who is up there working with my dad for the summer showed us the way as it's off the main road. You park and have to walk about 2/3 of a mile if not more but So worth it. We went at dusk, and I wish we would have had time to go again but we didn't go till the night before we left. Boiling river meets Gardiner river and creates a little hot spring. As you walk into it though you have to be careful because you can come across parts where the water is scalding hot, hotter than any water I have ever been in. I guess that's where the name Boiling River comes from! At one point I was standing with one leg scalding in the boiling river and the other leg shivering in the Gardiner River, seriously the craziest sensation ever. Most of the area where you sit/wade/stand in the hot springs it's very comfortable, like a hot tub, where the the two rivers are perfectly blended together. Further downstream from the hot spring where it's just Gardiner River it's still pretty warm, like lukewarm bath water, also a good spot to go for a little dip!
Okay and now some pictures from Mammoth and Gardiner!

 ^We Might have had a grouchy 5 year old (and one year old) for parts of the trip. Just part of traveling with kids and throwing them off of their schedules/routines/sleep^

^My dads back yard. I spent some time here reading a book in the sun, distracted by the views^

^Jasper trying to be a bear. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on who you ask) this was the only bear we saw this trip^
^Traffic stopped for at Least 10 minutes because a bunch of these mountain goats were just chilling in the middle of the road. Unimpressed by all the tourists taking their picture^

^Jasper and I standing in the hot springs^

 ^This view reminded me of a scene from Jurassic Park. I almost expected to see dinosaurs walking around^

A lot of these pictures are cell phone pictures, the rest were taking with my rebel and 50mm so no zoom at all was used. And they are all completely unedited. They don't do views justice at all!
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  1. aw wow totally looks like jourasic park!!

  2. Love Gardiner, Montana! Wow, didn't know you had family so close! My whole family and I go up to Gardiner and Yellowstone regularly. Very cool, it is seriously some beautiful land out there. Your dad is lucky! :) Can't wait to read more about your trip.