The first stop on our summer vacation was in St. George. We wanted to visit the St. George Temple, but first came across the St. George Tabernacle. We did a tour there and learned some interesting history about the city. Next we visited the temple grounds, where a newly married couple was being photographed. I always love to see that! Brings back memories of our own wedding day. After we finished looking around the temple and going through the visitor's center, we had lunch at Nielsen's Frozen Custard. Yum! For anyone who loves ice cream, you can't pass through St. George or Bountiful, UT without stopping in for this delicious treat! Next on our trek north on the I-15, we stopped into Cove Fort and did a tour there. I've passed it so many times throughout my life, but can't remember ever stopping in to learn more about it. We found it very interesting. That night we stayed at Grandma Turner's house in Orem, UT.
Idaho Falls Temple
We drove from Orem to Island Park, ID the next day, with plenty of stops along the way. Our favorite stop was at the Idaho Falls Temple. It's so beautiful! The kids enjoyed stretching their little legs on the temple grounds (we didn't see any newlyweds this time).
Island Park, ID
Our first full day at the cabin also happened to be my mom's birthday. She got some special birthday hugs from all four of her grandchildren. The older ones were super excited about Grandma's birthday cake.
Yellowstone National Park, Day 1
On our first day inside the park, our final goal was to see Old Faithful. Along the way we made a couple of other stops and saw some amazingly beautiful geysers. As you can see, little J had to sneak in a nap on the go. Ethan quickly bonded with Jacob Stoddard, and those two hung out a good part of the reunion. We also had our first wildlife sighting of a couple of elk. One of them was collared.
Mack's Inn, Mt. Sawtelle, and Roasting Marshmallows
The next day one of Josh's former missionary companions, Mike, came up to hang out with us. First we went to Mack's Inn to see Johnny Sack's cabin and Big Spring. Next we drove to Sawtelle Peak. The drive was a bit scary because the road up the mountain was narrow and unpaved. I'm glad we went up, though. From the summit, we could see out over three states (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming) and a good park of Yellowstone Park. I think everyone enjoyed the campfire that night, making s'mores and other creative roasted marshmallow snacks.
Wednesday we returned to the park to view Geyser Basin. It was breathtaking! We ended up hiking around on some dirt trails, pushing the double stroller over some pretty rough terrain. On the way home that day, we got stuck in about an hour of traffic. We kept our fingers crossed that it was an animal sighting and not a car accident. By the time we got up to the front, we were not disappointed. A bison was sunbathing in the middle of the road, and his family was off to the side, causing quite a traffic jam. It was amazing to be that close to such a huge animal in the wild!
The next day we hung out in West Yellowstone without actually entering the park. We saw a couple of movies at the IMAX theater (Yellowstone and Bears) and Josh took Ethan to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center where he could see wolves and bears up close.
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Our final day in the park was my personal favorite. We saw several bison throughout the day, an eagle's nest with the baby looking out and the mother perched nearby, and the views of the river, waterfalls, and canyon were beyond description. We also got caught in a brief, but heavy cloud burst. You can see the looming clouds in the scenic pictures.
We had to make lots of stops on the way home. Ethan was doing fine thanks to the DVD player that we borrowed, but Jacob decided he was done with his car seat. Poor little guy. By the time we got in to Vegas to look for our hotel for the night, he was crying so hard that he threw up. That was the first time he'd ever done that. :o( These are some pictures from three of our stops: one for a Twinkie break, one to take a look at the Rexberg, ID Temple, and one was a lunch break when Jacob learned how to pucker up for a kiss!