Summer 2021 Vaca Part 2

The kids woke up so excited for Yellowstone! We absolutely love South Dakota and the adventures we’ve had there the last two summers, so Yellowstone had big shoes to fill.

I think we went at the perfect time in our kids’ lives. As adults, we are so appreciative of nature and the incredible beauty of our planet. But kids…. kids can be kids. I am so grateful they were excited and adventurous. We did have to laugh – several times we passed teenagers with their heads down or sleeping in a car (which I absolutely did myself as a teenager on family trips!).

Day 4:

After picking up breakfast at Grapes & Grinds, we headed to Yellowstone.

Route we took: Cloud Peak Skyway to Yellowstone.

The trip was pretty uneventful (but also breathtakingly beautiful!) until we got about 20 miles away from Under Canvas. We ended up completely stopped in a backup on our way to W Yellowstone. Assuming it was an animal, we thought it would go quickly. We thought wrong. A young man who was apparently very bored was on a jog and shouted to those asking, “this goes on for at least 5 miles!”

Eli and I got out due to sheer boredom and ADHD 🤣 We went for a walk and ended up finding some awesome hot springs and chatting with other exhausted parents. Cars driving on the opposite side of the road were eventually able to tell us it was a massive herd of Bison just laying down on the road.

When Eli and I got back to the car, Adam already knew it was Bison. How? Apparently he saw a guy with ND plates with his Bison horns up to signal what was going on. 😆 🤘🏼

Finally, we arrived in W Yellowstone, and ordered pizza to-go for dinner.

Under Canvas Yellowstone is much flatter than UC Mount Rushmore. The tents are all in a valley, but with a beautiful backdrop. The other difference is dining – while UC Mt Rushmore is located in the main lounge, UC Yellowstone is at a separate restaurant within walking distance. It was fun to see the differences!

Here is our itinerary!

Day 5:

Firehole Canyon Drive (Adam found out about this on a podcast. It is a *must-do*. We loved it and apparently it’s not super traveled.)

Firehole Falls

Fountain Flat Drive

Super great lunch spot with no name (Another place Adam found out about on a podcast. I’ll link to where it is on a map!)

West Thumb Geyser Basin

Biscuit Basin

Old Faithful / Old Faithful Inn

Way out of park: we took Firehole Lake Drive (tons of environmental elements like geysers). Great fountain and dome geyser.

Day 6:

Drove from the West entrance to NE entrance (Lamar Valley)

Gibbon Falls

Mammoth Hot Springs


Lava Creek for lunch

*Wraith Falls was also a recommendation, but we looked at it and not Claire-able (big hike from parking)

“Running of the {Bison} herd” – so fun

* Soda Butte Creek would also be a good lunch spot

Note: bring a telescope for wildlife viewing!

Mountain goat! (@ Barronette Peak)

Day 7:

Artist Paint Pots

Virginia Cascade

Grand Canyon of Ystone

{1200 ft deep and 308’ waterfall}

Lunch spot: Wapiti lake / Sam and Mom went on a hike down to a beautiful little lake

Uncle Tom was closed 💔

Artist Point

Ice cream at old Faithful Inn

Grand Prismatic Spring

If I can toot my own horn for a minute…. I’m so, so freaking proud of Adam and myself for doing this. We have two disabled children – both of them have issues with endurance and gait. And yet we keep pushing them, encouraging them, and expecting a lot from them – and they keep exceeding our expectations.

We have so much going on – a lot I don’t share – and it definitely seems easier to just stay home and let the autistic kid keep his routine and let the kid with Down syndrome stay safe. But I’ll keep booking these adventures (without asking Adam 🤣) until the day I die because the memories we have are just too good.

Some days we only accomplished 1/4 of what we probably could have with “typical” kids. But we let go of that expectation years ago and it’s helped immensely. I’m just glad I’m not having to bring along Sam’s g-tube supplies anymore! But even that… coolers exist!

Cheers to us, StibbeFam. We are an absolute disaster and shi* show, but I’m really freaking proud to be the matriarch of this dysfunctional crew. ❤️

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