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Monday 27 July 2020

Yellowstone National Park: West Thumb Geyser Basin

Another day, another Yellowstone post! I hope you're not sick of geysers and hot springs yet! There are still a few more posts to come.

Today's post is all about a place in Yellowstone that I knew nothing of in advance but quickly became one of my favorite stops on our trip. Have you heard of West Thumb Geyser Basin? Weird name right? I'd never heard of it before our trip, but upon reading about it in the information brochure we received at the entry gate I was keen to check it out. Like other geyser basins in Yellowstone, West Thumb is home to plenty of geysers and hot springs, but it's also home to a few features we'd been yet to see including mud geysers and underwater geysers in Yellowstone Lake.

Black Pool
Black Pool
Thumb Paint Pots
Lake Yellowstone with under water geysers
Thumb Paint Pots
Mathilde Walks along the boardwalk
An elk grazes around a hot spring
West Thumb Geyser Basin

We visited West Thumb on our second day in the park. The second day was much colder than the first had been, and as we entered the park the rain that had been continuously falling changed to sleet. By the time we reached West Thumb it had changed again: to snow! Can you believe that? Snow - in Summer! Granted, it was only very light snowfall and it melted as soon as it hit the wet ground, but it was snow none the less.  

Friday 24 July 2020

Yellowstone National Park: Grand Prismatic Spring & Midway Geyser Basin

I'm back today with more from our recent trip to Yellowstone National Park. As I mentioned in my last post, I took so many photos during our two days in the park that I decided to share just one part of the park per post - instead of spamming you with the world's longest blog post!

My last post focused on Upper Geyser Basin, home to Old Faithful geyser, and today's post is all about another popular location in Yellowstone: Grand Prismatic.

Grand Prismatic has long been a popular sight in Yellowstone thanks to it's large size and intense colors. With deep turquoise water flanked by vivid orange it's an awe inspiring sight to see and one of  Yellowstone's instantly recognizable locations. I had been looking forward to seeing Grand Prismatic the most out of everything in Yellowstone (or what I knew of in Yellowstone) in the lead up to this trip. I couldn't wait to see all those stunning colors for myself. 

Now you may remember that the weather wasn't so great during our trip to Yellowstone. All that moisture in the air meant that the geysers and hot springs had more steam coming off them than they would on a clear day. The bigger the hot spring, the more steam rising off it. Given the large size of Grand Prismatic, it had the most steam out of all the geysers and hot springs we saw. 

Sunday 19 July 2020

Yellowstone National Park: Old Faithful & Upper Geyser Basin

When you think of Yellowstone National Park, what's the first thing that pops into your mind?

Was it Old Faithful? It was, wasn't it?

For many of us, this iconic geyser and Yellowstone are synonymous. With its regular eruptions approximately every 90 minutes or so, Old Faithful has been one of the most popular sights in Yellowstone since the area was established as the country's first National Park back in 1872.

Old Faithful erupting in front of Old Faithful Inn

As spectacular as Old Faithful is, it's not the only magical sight in the Upper Geyser Basin area of Yellowstone where it can be found. In fact, Upper Geyser Basin alone is home to hundreds of geysers and hot springs. The area is set up with boardwalks from which visitors can safely explore, and no matter which way you look you're sure to spot a geothermal wonder of some sort. Steaming geysers, deep and still turquoise pools, bubbling crater-like pits, steam rising from the ground, mud and rocks in vivid colors... there's so much more to see here than just Old Faithful.

Boardwalks lead visitors past geysers and hot springs, and over the Firehole River
Blue Star Spring
Belgian Pool
Crested Pool

So, let's take a look at what you can expect to see in Upper Geyser Basin...

Thursday 16 July 2020

DIY Kawaii Plant Labels for the Veggie Patch

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of the things I've been most excited about having our own house is being able to plant a veggie patch again.

You may remember that we had a plot in our local community garden when we lived in Berkeley, but as great as that was, there's nothing quite like having fresh veggies, herbs and fruit growing right outside your back door. Walking out the back door to pick herbs for a last minute addition to dinner is convenient. Walking to the park at night to do the same; not so much. So finally having our own garden space, in our yard, was a dream come true.

By the time we were settled into our new house last year it was too late in the season to start growing a veggie patch, so we had to wait until Spring rolled around to start our garden. And by Spring, I mean mid-May as it's not uncommon for it to snow here up until early May! While we waited for consistently warm days to arrive to get planting, I got to work building garden beds, filling them with soil, paving between the beds with pebbles and working on our compost bin.

I also got to work thinking about all the little finishing touches, like plant labels. Sure, I could've just stuck with the labels that came with each of my seedling plants, but why do that when you can make something cute? The kids LOVE everything Kawaii at the moment, so I had the idea of making cutesy Kawaii plant labels. Little fruits and veggies with happy little faces smiling up at me from the veggie patch. A little touch to make the veggie garden an even happier place.

Aren't they cute?

Making my kawaii plant labels was a breeze thanks to my handy little Cricut Joy. First I designed the various fruits and veggies in Photoshop (that was the hardest part) and then I cut them out on permanent Smart Vinyl with my Cricut Joy before sticking them onto bamboo plant labels. Easy peasy!

With no need for a cutting mat, Cricut Smart Vinyl is such an easy to use product for projects like this. No need to line it up perfectly on a cutting mat. Just load the Smart Vinyl into the Cricut Joy and you're done! The Smart Vinyl used here adheres permanently and is water proof making it perfect for use in the garden.

If you'd like to make your own kawaii plant labels follow the simple instructions below. I've made it even easier for you by sharing my designs on the Cricut Design Space, so you won't need to spend time designing them.

Sunday 5 July 2020

Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park

Last weekend we packed our bags, loaded up our car, and did something we haven't done in an awfully long time. We went on vacation!

Like most of you we've been at home since early March, pretty much only venturing out to the supermarket or for walks around the neighborhood (and more recently a few mask clad trips to Denver Zoo and a Denver Selfie Museum which reopened with strict social distancing rules). 

We've missed a few planned trips in those months including Spring Break in Chicago, Ava's school trip to Washington DC (I'm most bummed about that one), and smaller weekend getaways that we'd planned here in Colorado before the weather warmed up too much. I had pretty much written off Summer when it came to travel, but then I saw that local friends had visited Yellowstone National Park a few weeks back and it was pretty much empty. I knew that the opportunity to visit one of our bucket list destinations without the crowds was probably not going to come up again any time soon, so right away I got online and booked a hotel. I can't tell you how excited I was making that booking after so long!

Now that we're in Colorado, Wyoming is just over an hour away from our home but we had been yet to head north across the border. Yellowstone National Park is located at the very top of the state, but at around an eight hour drive, it's an easy destination for a road trip from Boulder (or Denver). It's also an easy drive from cities in neighboring states including Idaho, Utah, Washington, Montana and Nebraska. When looking at the map I realized that my friend Lindsey, who lives in Spokane, Washington, was a similar distance away making Yellowstone the perfect meeting point for a catch up. A little last minute planning, and both our families were booked in for a trip to Wyoming!
Last Saturday we hit the road and headed to the idyllic mountain town of Jackson, where we based ourselves for our visit to Yellowstone National Park. Jackson is located about an hour away from the south entry of Yellowstone. It's a handy spot to use as a base, especially now while the hotels inside the national park are closed due to COVID. 

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