As I drove through the Bridge Bay Campground in the government vehicle, dressed in my Ranger uniform, I was blessed with seeing visitors camping. I was witnessing small moments that these people may remember for a long time, just as I was reminded of my families visit in 2009, and other camping adventures throughout my childhood. There are stories and memories that my family still talk about to this day, even as my siblings and I grow up and move on to adventures of our own.
There was the time we went to hike the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, on a very rainy day. My parents had all of us kids dressed in our rain gear, and we were off! My family is one to believe that the best time to visit areas, is when its raining because its less crowded. As we began hiking, it began storming. Huge lightning strikes and thunder that rumbled throughout the entire canyon. It seemed to be unleashing right on top of us! Then….. it began to hail. We were surprised to run into a Ranger roving the trail, and she seemed as surprised to see us out hiking. Finally when we reached our destination and the trail didn’t take us to the point, instead, it took us straight to the parking lot. Much to my sister’s dismay as she yelled out, “You mean we coulda DROVE here?!?!”.
My mom, dad, grandpa, younger brother and I decided to hike to the top of Mount Washburn. Even in July, there was snow in many areas of the trail. My brother and I were off-railing, walking on top of the snow banks, since we didn’t weigh enough to break through. Well, my little brother found a week spot, and out of nowhere his left leg was completely in the snow. All the up to his hip! He immediately began screaming for me to pull him out!
Another clear moment in my mind was visited Mud Volcano, a very stinky sulfuric thermal area, with some bison who hang out there. My sister and I decided that instead of climbing this big hill slowly, where there was some stinky steam blowing over the boardwalk, we would run through it. The steam was so thick that we held our breath and ran. Only to get to the other side and stop mid-step to find a bull bison less than 10 yards from the boardwalk. We stopped quickly and made an immediate u-turn back down the hill to our family. We then safely walked past the bison with our family, all of us kids very nervous of the large animal.
There are so many small moments that I remember. My dad fishing on the shore of Yellowstone Lake and us kids fooling around; we were blessed with two river otters who swam by. Singing songs as we drove through the park. Watching Old Faithful go off from higher up on the hill, and down below. Waiting an hour or more for the Grand Fountain Geyser to erupt and taking countless selfies with my siblings as we waited.My grandparents holding hands as they walked throughout the boardwalks and the park.
These are just a few of the memories my family and I made in Yellowstone National Park. There are so many more from camping experiences back home in the backyard, state parks, and other national parks. I can’t wait to begin to make memories with my own family in the future, and I look forward to more memories with my family.