Banks Reunion in Yellowstone

What a fun time we had with our Banks family in Island Park and Yellowstone.  No one in my family was very excited about driving 10 hours one week after returning from London.  But after it was all said and done, we all agreed it was worth the drive!  We stayed the night in Pinedale WY to break up the drive and stopped in Jackson Hole the next day for some lunch and to show the kids the famed antler arches.

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We arrived at the Johnson’s cabin in Island Park in the early afternoon.  We all immediately got in our swimming suits and headed for the lake.  We are so grateful to Kami’s family for letting us use their cabin.  It is so awesome.  It has 5 bedrooms + a giant loft with like 7 more beds.  Perfect for cousin time!  2018-07-23 20.33.122018-07-23 20.32.02-1

That evening Kami treated us to a delicious taco dinner and the kids were introduced to Cover Your Assets.  This game became a trip highlight and the kids played it day and night! 2018-07-23 23.27.39

The next day was spent down at the lake jumping on the tramp, canoeing, paddle boarding, and jumping off the rope swing.  We had some pretty good scares on the swing.  Brett and Josh both caught their toes in the water too quickly and were ripped from the swing.  Halle lost her grip one time and did a one-handed swing.  And Josh almost fell off the log, which was about 10 feet in the air.  But, mostly, it was just fun

Rope Swing

These cousins love to be together!  Uncle Brett took Blake and Cohen on the canoe and introduced them to the tadpoles.  They couldn’t get enough.  The devised all kinds of contraptions to capture them, and made a little “pond” in the back of the paddle boat to keep all of them.  2018-07-24 12.26.272018-07-24 15.09.34tadpoles

2018-07-24 14.52.45When the kids needed a break from the lake, Grandma had cute frames for them to paint.  Painting picture framesThat evening we got cleaned up and we went into West Yellowstone.2018-07-24 17.19.05Grandma let all the kids pick a souvenir and they all spent so much time picking out the perfect thing.  Bode, Josh and Brayden all got personalized pocket knives. 2018-07-25 10.43.37Blake and Cohen both got hilarious shirts.  And the girls all picked cute shirts or hoodies. Then grandma treated them to the candy store.  They each got a bag to fill with whatever they wanted and you can bet they took advantage of it.  ALLLLL the candy!  The best thing was the fresh, gooey, soft, salt water taffy.  I think that taffy done right is one of my favorite things ever.  And this was DONE RIGHT. 2018-07-24 17.36.28West Yellowstone2018-07-24 17.34.462018-07-24 17.41.51

We went to Gushers for dinner and had yummy pizza and salad.  We were headed to the Playmill and had about an hour to kill before the show.  So we hit up the park so they could all burn off some energy before they had to sit still for a couple of hours 🙂 Look at these good lookin Banks Men!2018-07-24 18.13.012018-07-24 19.39.302018-07-24 19.40.422018-07-24 19.57.25

The Playmill was so adorable.  We all loved it!  We saw Annie Get your Gun, and we were singing show tunes non stop for about the next 2 weeks.  Blake’s favorite character was Chief Sitting Bull and he was stoked to get his picture with him after the show.  I can’t say enough good things about how cute and funny this show was.  Bravo!2018-07-24 20.16.52-1PlaymillThe adults were beat.  But the kids stayed up till like 2 in the morning laughing and playing with each other.

Needless to say, we did not have an early morning.  Except for these boys who did their own “Polar Bear Plunge” 2018-07-25 09.10.15 By the time everyone was up and at em it was almost 11.  We hit the road for Yellowstone. I was REALLY REALLY excited for this day.  Yellowstone with the kids has been on my bucket list for YEARS.  We got into the park and then almost immediately came to a stand still.  A total and complete traffic jam.  We sat, and we sat and we sat.  Moving one inch at a time.  2 HOURS later we came across the source of our misery.  One measly buffalo.  Just moseying along the road without a care in the world.  Blake and Cohen were with Cory and Lindsey and the little boys were talking about blowing up squirrels with AK47s and other little boy nonsense. When they finally passed the buffalo Cory said, “Ugg…I just want to punch that buffalo in the face.”  Blake looked at Cohen with a surprised face and said, “Your dad is violent!”  Said the boy just talking about exploding squirrels with giant guns.
2018-07-25 11.57.552018-07-25 13.29.042018-07-25 13.29.04-2After what felt like eternity, we made it to Old Faithful!  Hallelujah! We picked out our spot and waiting for the famed eruption.  While we were waiting, we saw several other geysers exploding in the distance.  2018-07-25 14.20.20-2

2018-07-25 15.08.31Rusty convinced us to go on a .5 mile Geyser Loop hike.  He said it would only take like 20 min.  Will he ever learn?  It took about an hour, but we saw some really cool stuff, so I guess it was worth it.  Herding us all around is a monumental task.2018-07-25 15.13.16Old Faithful2018-07-25 15.20.08-1At the Old Faithful sign, we got our one and only picture with everyone included.  I hate asking other people to take pictures, because they almost always mess it up.  But, beggars can’t be choosers.  The back row isn’t in complete focus, but it will do 🙂Banks Family Yellowstone 2018The Firehole was up next.  This was a not-so-hot Springs.  It was a bit cloudy and rainy and we were looking forward to some warm water.  But it didn’t really work out that way.  This was definitely a favorite stop among the kids.  They could hike up a little way and then ride the current down.  Everyone had a blast, teeth chattering and all.
firehole2018-07-25 18.17.49Then we made it to my favorite stop of the day.  The waterfalls.  We hiked for about 20 min down some steep switchbacks and ended up at the top of a massive waterfall that cascaded into the beautiful canyon below.  It was so gorgeous. Check out the video to see the waterfall.2018-07-25 19.36.022018-07-25 19.43.102018-07-25 20.06.192018-07-25 19.40.20
Everyone was excited to hopefully see a Bear.  We went driving through the park with our eyes open.  Halle was the lucky spotter!  We pulled over and watched the cute little bear play in the woods.  Day complete!  2018-07-25 20.40.432018-07-25 20.41.02 HDR2018-07-25 21.15.21
After one more night of staying up way too late it was time to say goodbye.  We had so much fun being together and I’m sure we’ll be talking about this trip for years to come!

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