About the Post

Author Information

Obsessed with bowhunting whitetails and running trail cams! Love fishing, 3D Archery, camping, and teaching hunter education. Been a member of the Mossy Oak ProStaff since 2008 and is excited to become a part of the team here at Victory Outdoors.

The Family Vacation

20160711_153046 - CopyGrowing up I was very fortunate to be able to take family vacations every year. We would all pile in the car and head to various places throughout the United States and sometimes even into Canada. Being able to see so much of this great country has helped me appreciate not only the places I’ve been, but also the places I’ve lived. I wanted to try to pass these experiences on to my children, so this year we decided to start what will hopefully be a new tradition of road trip vacations for our family. In my opinion there was really only one logical place to start these vacations, and that was Yellowstone National Park. My wife had never been there and although I had been there a few times as a kid, the last time was in 1989, so there would be plenty of “new” experiences for me as well. We left our house early on a Saturday in mid July, and I hoped to have some miles behind us before the kids would wake for the day. We were just crossing into Minnesota as they started to stir. We knew it would be a tall order for them to spend long days in the car, especially across some relatively flat and uneventful terrain, so we packed a portable DVD player for the slow times. We stopped and had a picnic lunch near the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. I had been there several times, and although I didn’t think we really needed to stop there, the family thought we might as well as long as we were in the area. They had a nice kids activity area upstairs, and after an hour or so, we were on the road again.

20160709_190601 - CopyWe dropped off the interstate and drove through the Badlands National Park before making our way to Mount Rushmore, and finishing day one in Rapid City. The next morning we headed out and made a quick detour through Sturgis before heading south through Deadwood and then looping back up through Spearfish Canyon and getting back on the interstate. After crossing into Wyoming, we headed north to check out Devil’s Tower, and then we made our way through Bighorn National Forest en route to Cody. It was great to see the reactions as we progressed through each place and the mountains got taller and taller. We were also fortunate enough to see a young bull moose while in Bighorn. In all my travels, I can’t recall ever seeing a wild moose before, so that was a treat for me as well as for the kids. We headed north out of Cody Monday morning as I wanted to take the Beartooth Highway from Red Lodge into Yellowstone, but an unusual July snowstorm forced a change in plans.

REALLY Folks...


Since we didn’t really want to backtrack all the way to Cody, we decided to loop across Montana and enter Yellowstone through the northwest gate. Once we entered the park, we stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs for the family’s first experience with geysers. After a nice walk along the geyser trail, we headed through the park on our way back to Cody. Along the way, we saw a few elk, some buffalo, a large black bear, a smaller cinnamon phase black bear, and a grizzly with a cub. I hadn’t ever seen bears this close in any of my previous trips, so once again it was a great experience for me along with the rest of the family. The next day we made the big loop through the park, stopping to see various geysers along with old faithful, the mud volcano, and the dragon’s mouth. We saw more buffalo, elk, and mule deer, but we had seen our last bears of the trip the first day. We had originally planned to head down to Jackson the next day, but between the detour on Monday and the lack of available rooms, we decided to modify our plans once again. We spent the next afternoon at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. This is a great spot as there are five museums in one building dedicated to various aspects of the old west. After the museums, we headed north and drove the Chief Joseph highway up to the Beartooth highway and made our way into Red Lodge for the night. The Beartooth Highway is considered one of the most scenic roads in the country and it did not disappoint. The views were amazing, and the kids got to play in the snow in July. The next morning we started making our way back home. We drove across Montana and Wyoming, stopping for the night in Wall. We did swing through Wall Drug for a bit before we headed to the hotel. The next day we finished out the trip arriving home just before 11PM. It was a lot of driving, but I’m convinced the kids had a great time that they will remember for a long time. Next year, I plan to take them to Colorado where they can ride the Durango to Silverton railroad, as that is another of my greatest vacation memories.

20160713_172441As a side note, although the vacation was very enjoyable, I also saw some things that made me very sad and even angry. I’m sure you have all heard about the various issues in the park this year, such as the man that fell in a geyser and died, or the family that “rescued” the bison calf, or the people trying to pet animals or take selfies with them. Even knowing all this going in, I couldn’t believe the people that seemingly had no regard for other people, or park rules, or even their own safety.  A few things that stand out in particular are the people who jumped off the boardwalk to dip their hand in the runoff from Old Faithful and other geysers, the family fishing off the Fishing Bridge which has been closed to fishing for something like 40 years, and the man that stood on the side of the road with his young daughter less than thirty yards from that grizzly and her cub. I fear it is only a matter of time before the park is closed to self guided tours to protect us from ourselves. I can only ask everyone to please use your head, follow the rules, and don’t spoil it for everyone else.

Now with that off my chest, here are a few more pictures from our trip. Enjoy and Thank you.

20160709_162731 - Copy







20160710_130348 - Copy


Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.