Yellowstone!!

I can’t believe it! We actually made it to Yellowstone this year! Those of you who know where we were last year when we’d planned a trip to Yellowstone can maybe understand how monumental this is.

The trip up didn’t go without incident. (See the blog entry at this link for detailshttp://www.cotaforpatrickh.com/node/1001), but we arrived in West Yellowstone Thursday afternoon unscathed, despite an extra 2 hours sitting in traffic.

Because we arrived a bit late, we didn’t have time to go into the park the first day. So, we wandered around West a bit. First we had lunch at a little cafe we discovered in winter a few years ago. It’s a small place with a very local, small-town feel. We were so surprised when we told the waitress Patrick was waiting for an intestinal transplant and she told us the owner’s daughter, age 30, was listed for one, too. That, plus Patrick’s usual flirtatious play, won her over quickly.

After lunch, we shopped for souvenirs and took Patrick to play at the city park. Then, after doing Patrick’s daily TPN change, met the rest of Brian’s family at the playhouse.

Yup, Patrick went to his first play. It was Disney’s Beauty and the Beast put on in a tiny little room that seated maybe 100 people. The cast was also ushers and consession sales. Patrick did really well, I think. He watched a lot of the play.. liked the songs.. but was nervous about the Beast. And, of course, he always gets jumpy when there’s applause involved.

After a dinner of buffalo burger and huckleberry ice cream, we turned it… It was nearly 11 by the time I got meds, fluids, and PJ’s all in order and got Patrick to stop tearing around the room and go to sleep.

The next morning, Friday, we actually made it into the park for a day of walking through geyser basins and looking for animals. (We spotted a baby black bear and a bald eagle, among other things.) Brian and his brother did and impressive job maneuvering a stroller around stairs and hills in the trail.

Patrick did well for the first half of the day, and was pacified well enough by looking at books and toys on the ride back.

After dinner, we decided to turn in early.. we were sunburned, sore and tired.

It’s a good thing, too.. because Saturday morning he was up and whimpering around 4:30 a.m. Finally, I gave in and pulled him out of his crib and into my bed…. only to remember why we don’t do this. He tosses and turns and about kicked us both out! Around 5:30 he decided it was awake, anyway, and we gave in and got up and packed.

We went to breakfast early at the same cafe where the waitress was thrilled to see him.
Then, we went into the park to see Old Faithful. Patrick surprised me by actually being interested in the geyser, though the pictures don’t show it.

We left about noon and Patrick and I slept at least half of the drive home. By the end, he was pretty tired of being in his carseat and pretty bored with the same selection of toys. Isn’t that part of a roadtrip, though?

What a great few days it was! It was nice to have finally made it.. and best of all, to Yellowstone, which is such a big part of the Hoopes family legacy. We’re so grateful we were able to share it with Patrick at long last!

I’m not feeling quite as superstitious anymore about saying the “V” word.

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