Day 16 . Last Day in Yellowstone

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Road trip across America… daily reflections by Ema and Elle.

By Ema ~ I awoke from a night of little sleep. My sister seemed to be at war with someone and kept kicking and kneeing me throughout the night. I literally woke several times suddenly crying out in pain! Each time I fell asleep it seemed to happen again. Finally morning came and I went into the visitors center just in time to see Old Faithful erupt. She seemed even more powerful than the several times we saw her erupt yesterday. I wished I had timed it, for not only did it seem to reach taller, but it seemed to last longer too. The longest we observed was about 4 minutes, but as people stood around amazed this morning seeing her for the first time, I felt it was really something special as she just seemed to just keep going. Elle and I had breakfast at the cafe in the Old Faithful Inn, her a cinnamon roll and apple juice, and I had a lemon poppy seed muffin with an orange juice. We got ourselves ready for the day. I braided Elle’s hair in two French braids upon her request and we were dressed and set. We wrote our postcards and even had a few signed by the photographer who created the reflections, as he was there at the bookstore having a book signing. After getting our cards written to our loved ones, we strolled over to the local park post office and sent them on their way, of course sealed with a kiss, as I always have done. A helicopter had landed just next door at the clinic, and I filmed the take off, only to find I never hit record. Oops. I was so impressed with the way it looked rising over the log building, but alas, I do not have the footage to share. We said a prayer for whomever the rescue was for. Our mother taught us whenever you hear or see an emergency vehicle, you always say a little prayer. The drive out of the park was beautiful and we made a few stops along the way to a couple water falls, including at Lewis Waterfall, and a pond that I remember from childhood full of very unique yellow lilies. It is also the line of the Continental Divide.

Once you exit Yellowstone, it is not long before you reach Grand Teton National Park. We were not only impressed by the vista before us of towering mountain over a lake, but that the gift shop had eco friendly toys, and the badge earned for the Junior Ranger Program was made of wood rather than plastic. Go Grand Tetons, you rock! We found out there is no age limit to be a Junior Ranger, so this time I got my own book to complete. If you visit the park do join in, as it is a great way to learn about each park as you go and connect with Rangers to learn from their wealth of knowledge. We spent our time touching the glacier lake, examining rocks and learning some of the history of how the park came to be thanks to John D. Rockefeller.

We also attended a ranger seminar about the bees and the colony collapse crisis that is happening right now, as well what effects that could have on us long term, including possible extinction. Without pollinators we won’t have the foods we will need to survive. It was also quite impressive to learn more about the bees, and particularly the queen. Did you know that all bees live from eating honey, but only the queen gets the royal jelly, which is also the special ingredient to making her fertile and different than the worker bees who are all also female. Only drone bees are male and die after mating, as a matter of fact the act actually makes them explode. There are other pollinators like butterflies, moths, birds such as hummingbirds, and the wind and water, but bees are the main pollinators for all the foods we love and thrive on. I had thought we should stay for a bit as it was getting near sunset, but found myself completely fascinated and stayed to even ask questions at the end. I tried to film it, but my card got full and I felt I missed the best part about why the bees were so important and how we are losing them and fast! Those that feel that they have been saying this forever must realize these sort of problems don’t just go away, but are progressing to a point of no return. If we do not act fast and change many aspects of the way this modern world functions we are in for a devastating future. It is time to find our balance with nature and gain a respect for the fact that we are interconnected and effecting the greater whole through our actions. The talk brought light upon how pesticides and moving the bees for commercial pollination are two of the biggest factors in the, disappearing, but that our cell phones also may be effecting the bees. Would you give up your phone to still have fruit and veggies? I know I would. Speaking of food, we were both very hungry after the seminar was complete and found a restaurant in the park. Most of the items on menus lately have been meat based, and unfortunately I cannot partake of such due to my health, but if you have ever wanted to try bison, this area of the world, it seems to be the place for such. This menu looked once again like the normal fare for the Rocky Mountains, but there was also an oven fired pizza place, so we went to see what they could make for us. They were so kind and got goats cheese from the restaurant, as their kitchen was connected and made us a pizza with pesto for the sauce, goat cheese, fresh garlic and black olives. The chef added the olives and garlic to spruce it up. I think it turned out yummy and it seems we inspired the next customer, as the chef told us he had never has a request like ours before and the next people also requested pesto, which technically was not on the menu. Seems we have started a new trend.

The sun was setting so we headed down into Jackson hole to find gas, but did not have luck finding anywhere to camp or park, so we made our way back to the national forest. The first few places right outside of Jackson said no overnight parking, but as soon as we reached the border to the national forest we found a pull off with no signs and decided it would do for the night. The scent of sage filled the air and there are so many stars to see, including the Milky Way, like a cloud shining bright in the night sky reaching from one side of the horizon to the other. 

By Elle ~ Today we woke up and went to get some breakfast. I had a cinnamon roll and sissy had a poppy seed muffin. We got ready and sis put my hair in 2 French braids. We got ready and went to the visitor center to see if they had any more jr ranger books and to see when the old faithful was said to erupt. It was when got a few postcards signed by the person that took the photos. It was cool to meet the face behind these photos. He told us how he loved the cold, when we asked about him getting cold. He told us he only went to Florida in the winter or colder times to visit people there. We told him we liked the heat and told him the opposite of what he said. Soon we went out and watched the old faithful erupt. Tons of people were gathered around to watch it go off. It was really big and it went so high it was a really cool moment for me. We went to the Yellowstone post office. I was shocked to see there was an emergency helicopter right by the post office. We got some cards sent and sissy got some cool footage, but wasn’t filming. I thought this was kind of funny. We left Yellowstone and soon entered the Grand Tetons National Park. We got the Jr. Ranger book and did that. but when done the visitors center was closed so we went to a talk and it was about our pollinators. It was a very interesting talk. After he signed our books and we said farewell to the Grand Tetons and moved on. After the talk we decided to get some food. We were starving so we went to this joint restaurant. They shared a kitchen. We decided on the pizza place. We asked if they could do a special order with goat cheese and pesto. We had saw goats cheese as an appetizer in the other menu. They did some arranging and agreed. We sat down and waited for our food. During so I was worried about the car and went and checked on it, then i went for our jackets, but left my shoes so I didn’t go through the front door and the door I came out of only went one way, so I just waited. Soon someone my age saw me and tried telling me about the front door but I insisted she open the door as I had no shoes on. They were inside and I didn’t want to get kicked out when she opened the door. I thanked her and sat down. They brought us our pizza. I’ll admit I was sad because everyone’s pizza looked so yummy, but when I tried ours it was so yummy, so I didn’t care about there’s anymore. We ate and went on to Jackson Hole. We found a spot and went to bed.

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