A Travellerspoint blog

Goodbye America

Welcome back to my blog everyone!

As you can tell by the title, I am saying goodbye to America and heading back to Australia today. Because I'm leaving today, this is my last blog entry. I wanted to thank you all for following me through my adventures across America. It has been an awesome trip from Virginia to Idaho.

This morning we got off to a chilly start because there was still snow on the ground and the car outside. First we went to breakfast at a cute little cafe called Stanley Baking Co. I had hot oatmeal with brown sugar and a hot chocolate, which is just what I needed to warm me up since it was negative 1 degree outside. Then we said goodbye to Stanley and all its snowy glory and started the three hour drive to Boise. We had a little sing-along to some of our favourite road trip tunes such as the soundtracks to Shrek The Musical, Descendants Two and The Greatest Showman. I had a lovely time! Daddy's voice screeched on the high notes and Mummies voice cracked on the low notes but apart from that it was a pretty good performance.
Cute cafe for breakfast

When we arrived in Boise it was so sunny, bright and beautiful. We walked to the Capitol Building (Boise is the capital of Idaho) and rang the bell outside. I was underneath the bell when it clanged so my head shook and my ears screeched! The bell is a replica of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia which is the bell that rang out when the Declaration of Independence was read out in public for the first time in 1776. Then we went inside and Wow! Everything was made of marble. It must have cost a lot of money.
Idaho's Capital Building

From there we walked around to try to find some lunch and found a market. But we didn't find anything we wanted to buy so we walked to a brewery so that Mum and Dad could have a beer and I could have some fries. The fries were yummy and Mum and Dad said they loved the beers as well. I didn't see anything I liked for lunch there so I got sushi from another restaurant.

After lunch we dropped off our rental car at the airport and dragged our bags to the check-in desk. We are now chilling at a pub next to our gate, waiting to board our flight. I'm looking forward to relaxing and watching a movie on the plane. So that was my last blog on this trip. Once again, thank you for following my blog this past month. For all of you back in Aussie times, see you very soon!

Bye till next year!

Posted by Aelabear 15:51 Comments (0)

Hello Idaho

Welcome back to my blog!

Before I start telling you about my day, I have to tell you something. This is my second last blog entry ever!..........Until next year :). So I'm sad and a little disappointed that you guys won't be reading my blog any more. But we'll always have next year :).

This morning we drove to a place called Craters Of The Moon National Monument which is a park that is a lava field created thousands of years ago when molten rock (magma) spurted out of a rift in the earth and covered the plains. It looks like something from out of this world. It is covered with all sorts of cool lava rock formations such as pahoehoe (pa-hoi-hoi), which is the Hawaiian word for rope. That makes sense since the pahoehoe rock looks like a rope because it cooled down slowly while it was still moving. There were also different types of volcano cones called spatter cones and cinder cones. Spatter cones are formed by blobs of lava that spit out and cool down right next to the volcano vent. Cinder cones are formed when the lava is spat up higher in the air so it has time to cool before it comes down. When it hits the ground it lands in piles and breaks into pieces. Dad and I climbed up Inferno Cone which is a cinder cone and it was really windy and freezing at the top.
We climbed a big Cinder Cone and a small Spatter Cone

We also climbed into a lava tunnel called Indian tunnel, which was formed by flowing lava. When the lava on the top cooled down it became hard but the lava underneath was still running. And when all the lava had finished flowing, it left behind a hollow space. Sometimes the roof collapses and leaves a hole for us to climb into. Exploring the rocks was really cool because it felt like I was walking on the moon. As it happens, NASA train astronauts in the park so they can be ready for any off-earth missions like the Moon or Mars. How awesome is that? After exploring for a while, I completed the activities to earn my Lunar Ranger badge, which is another wooden one like the one I got from Grand Teton National Park.
Exploring Indian Tunnel and receiving my Lunar Ranger badge

From there, we drove to the town of Stanley via the Sawtooth Mountains. We were approaching the mountains when suddenly it started snowing. OMG! I could not believe it was snowing in summer. What are the chances? It whitened all the trees so it looked like a winter wonderland! Anyway, we made it to our hotel, dropped the bags and went to explore Stanley, which did not take long because it is such a small town. The clouds cleared long enough for us to see the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains with the sun shining on them. We went to dinner at the hotel restaurant and it started to snow heavily again! Wow! Dad, Mum and I had a really fun snowball fight and I hit Mum with a giant snowball. We also built a miniature snowman and I named it Jerry.
Stanley and the Sawtooth Mountains

After that we came back to our room and Dad turned the heater on so we were all as snug as a bug in a rug! Now we are eating S'mores chocolate for dessert. Mmmmm.

So that was my second last day in America. Hope you enjoyed it. Keep following my blog to see what happens in Boise as we head for the airport on my last day!

Catch you later!

Posted by Aelabear 19:56 Comments (1)

Farewell Yellowstone, Hello Grand Tetons

Welcome back to my blog!

This morning after a quick breaky, we got on the road, headed for Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But first stop, the biggest hot spring in Yellowstone, Grand Prismatic Spring. It is very colourful, like a rainbow and is approximately 200 feet (60 meters) across! Wow! To get there we had to walk up a path beside other hot springs that were billowing stream onto the boardwalk. So sometimes we couldn't see where we were walking, especially Mum because the steam fogged up her sunglasses. It was weird because the hot steam warmed us up but it was windy so we were also cold. After that we had one last look at Old Faithful.
Grand Prismatic in the steam and me with Old Faithful

From there we drove out of Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons National Park, which has a beautiful mountain range that is ragged and covered in snow. It is astonishing! We stopped to look at the mountains and take some photos. We also stopped at the Visitors Center, where they have heaps of information about the wildlife and they let you hold the antlers that deer and elk have shed. I completed the activities I needed to earn my Junior Ranger badge. That makes four Junior Ranger badges that I have earned on this trip. The badge I got this time was wooden instead of being gold plastic like the others. Wow! So cool!
Grand Tetons and the Visitors Center

We got on the road again, headed for Jackson where we are staying tonight. The town is like an old western town and has really cool arches in the park made out of Elk antlers. Our hotel is so cool. Instead of different rooms in one building, there are little wooden lodges. I guess that would make sense, since it is called Cowboys Village. So I am in our lodge right now, writing this on my "bed". It's not really a bed just yet, its a couch right now! We will fold it out when I get tired.
Arch made of Elk antlers

We just went out for dinner at The Roadhouse Brewery. Mum made up a meal for me from the adults menu. I had grilled chicken, vegetables and sticky rice. It was nice to have some vegetables. The kids menus don't have very healthy meals around here. After dinner we went for a ride in an old fashioned stage coach, pulled by two horses called Phineas and Pherb. It was so cool. I felt like I was in the olden days. I played a game of sweet and sour, which is when you wave to a person and if they wave back they are sweet and if not, they are sour. Most people were sweet.
Stagecoach ride around Jackson

Now I am back in our cabin with a cup of tea, ready for bed. Keep following my blog to see the last few days of my journey. Tomorrow we are headed for Stanley, Idaho.

Catch you later.

Posted by Aelabear 19:36 Comments (0)

Wild and Wonderful

Welcome back to my blog!

This morning we got up early (again!) to go and find some more wolves, bears and other animals. Mum and Dad bought me some binoculars yesterday so that I could use them to look out for wildlife. I have only ever had toy ones before so I was super excited to get real ones. We drove to a little spot where we heard some people had seen bears but sadly we just missed them. While we were about to leave, Dad spotted something on the other hillside with his eagle eyes. It turned out to be another Moose. This one was far away but it was still really cool to see. Did you know Moose are really rare in Yellowstone? And we have seen two of them. Aren't we lucky?
Long distance Moose

When we got back in the car, we drove to some more fumaroles and mud pots that were bubbling like crazy! They smelt so bad I almost puked! I learned that the smell comes from hydrogen sulphide gas rising from the magma chamber below. The steam was so thick from one of the mud pools that you could hardly see when you walked through it.
Hot mud and steam

From there we drove to Yellowstone Lake. It was so calm, smooth and soothing. Definitely a place to go to wind down. We stopped at West Thumb which is itself a volcano within the larger super volcano of Yellowstone. Thousands of years ago it erupted and when it collapsed it became an extension to the lake as water rushed in. I really loved the biggest and deepest pool there because it was a pretty blue and it was bubbling. That pool was very inviting to go for a swim. But of course I wouldn't do that because it is ridiculously hot.
Yellowstone Lake and West Thumb

Next we drove to Old Faithful, which is a geyser that can be predicted to go off somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes depending on how long it went for last time. We waited for about half an hour on a bench with hundreds of other people before it went off. When it did, it was so high. It was incredible! As an activity in my park ranger booklet I had to predict when Old Faithful would go off again. With Mum and Dad's help I made my prediction and checked it with the rangers to see how close I was. Turns out I had the same prediction as them! I felt so proud of myself. Anyway, then we got some lunch and sat on the porch overlooking Old Faithful. After lunch I completed the junior ranger booklet and did the pledge to make me a junior park ranger for Yellowstone. I even got the patch to prove it. As we were leaving, we saw Old Faithful go off again but it was actually earlier than the prediction the ranger and I had made. So it turns out it is harder to predict than you think it is.
Junior Park Ranger at Old Faithful

On our way back to the hotel we saw some people looking at something in the distance so we pulled over to see what everyone was looking at. It turns they were looking at Elk and Geese but Mum spotted something lurking in the grass by the river. At first we thought it was a wolf but it was actually a Coyote! OMG! It was so cool seeing a real life Coyote instead of the ones on documentaries. It was resting in the long grass, waiting for a rodent or something else to eat. We felt super lucky to see it! More people started arriving as they could see we were looking at something. We had to explain where it was because by then it was lying down in the grass and was hard to see.
Coyote looking for dinner

Back at the hotel I had a nice shower and changed so that we could go out to walk around the town and find something for dinner. We found a place called the Slippery Otter. I had pizza shaped like a bear and a glass of milk. Yummy! From there we went for a walk and found some ice cream for desert. I had vanilla ice cream in a sugar cone. So that was a nice way to end another fabulous day.

Hope you enjoyed today's adventures. Keep following my blog to find out tomorrow as we drive to the Grand Tetons National Park.

Catch you later.

Posted by Aelabear 20:48 Comments (0)

Beautiful and Bizarre

Welcome back to my blog!

This morning we were up at 6am because we wanted to go and look for bears since they hunt in the morning. After a quick breakfast of cereal, porridge, biscuits (scones), watermelon and tea, we drove back into Yellowstone. Instead of seeing bears we stumbled across a male Moose! Mum spotted it first and yelled out "MOOSE!!". Dad hit the brakes and I woke up with a shock as we skidded to a halt. We were so overjoyed and excited that we were the first ones to see it but then other people joined us as they saw us taking photos and we showed them where the moose was but the moose moved on back into the woods so most people didn't get to see it. We carried on down the road but unfortunately did not see any bears.

On our way to our first planned stop we spotted a patch of snow. So what do you do when you see snow by the side of the road? You have a SNOWBALL FIGHT!! It was so much fun. I almost died of laughter when Mum threw a snowball at Dad from right behind him but missed by a mile. But she got him with her second shot. Then, as Dad was taking a photo of me she tried to get me but missed again. Hilarious!
Oops, missed me

We headed down the mountain to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and hiked down and stood at the brink of the Lower Falls. The canyon itself was beautiful. It was made up of so may colours; white, pink, yellow, orange and red. It looked like a rainbow. The water rushing over the edge was really powerful. It was a really difficult walk back up to the car but we took our time and finally made it back to the top.
Powerful waterfall

From there we drove to the South Rim where we walked to Artists Point which has a fantastic view of the Lower Falls from far away. The other exciting thing we saw from there was an Osprey nest. An Osprey is a fish eating bird of prey.
Lucky we had the long lens

Next up, Norris Geyser Basin. This is a big area where there a lot of hot springs, fumaroles and geysers. As I had already learned from my junior park ranger booklet, fumaroles and geysers are two different things. Fumaroles hiss steam but not much water, whereas geysers spurt steam AND hot water up into the air. We saw both types from the boardwalk which goes through the basin. It seriously looks like a moonscape.
Fumaroles hissing steam

We also saw some red and green pools which we found out where different types of micro-organisms. The red ones live in water as hot as 120-140F (50-60C) while the green ones live in cooler water around 100-130F (38-56C). OMG! That's hot. The way I remember which one is hotter is that red is a hot colour and green is a cooler colour. At the end of the boardwalk we saw some strange black and white striped larvae. When Dad tried to photograph them, he dropped his lens cap but when he tried to stop it with his foot he just ended up kicking it onto the geyser field. Luckily it didn't land in the hot pools so he was able to quickly jump over the edge and get it back. Phew! And guess what? When we showed the Rangers the picture of the unidentified larvae they didn't even know what it was. They promised to email us when they figured it out.
Bizarre creatures

But the best surprise of the entire day (besides the moose sighting) was when we saw two Grizzly bears! On our way to our new hotel we saw lots of cars by the side of the road with people pointing and photographing and looking though their binoculars at something off in the tree line. We pulled over and went to see what the commotion was all about. A woman pointed out to me two brown figures walking in the distance. I asked if I could use her binoculars and when I looked through them I could see the bears. I was so excited that we finally got to see a bear in Yellowstone. Daddy walked down through the trees to get some photos from closer to the bears.
Grizzly bears

We got back in the car and drove to our hotel which is called Three Bear Lodge. What a coincidence :). Now we are going to go look for some pizza for dinner and then come back and get an early night so we can wake up early in the morning and go looking for wolves and other wildlife. Keep following my blog to find out if we see any and to learn about Old Faithful.
Three Bear Lodge and the bear in the gift shop

Catch you later.

Posted by Aelabear 20:59 Comments (0)

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