Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Roaming in Wyoming (Family Reunion Trip)

In early July, Floyd and I enjoyed a fun vacation with his family in Wyoming. The Grand Tetons (above) were some of the most beautiful sights we experienced.

We spent a day in Yellowstone National Park, where we saw buffalo and elk and lots more beautiful scenery. Old Faithful (left) was a highlight.

The family rode a gondola from Teton Village to the top of the mountain, and then some of us hiked back down again. My sister-in-law Melinda, her fiance Miguel, and I made it all the way together - 5.2 miles! We were exhausted, but it was worth it. There was snow at the top, melting into delicious streams that flowed all the way down, feeding the gorgeous wildflowers and evergreen forests that covered the slopes.

Another highlight of the trip was our ride in a hot air balloon! We were excited to see posters advertizing free balloon rides from 6-10 a.m. on the 4th of July. We got there at 5:50 so we would be the first ones in line before the crowds arrived. Well, I'm not sure when the crowds had arrived, but it was sometime way before 5:50. We waited behind nearly three hundred cold, tired people, some of whom had come with blankets and books and lawn chairs. It was interesting to watch the balloon being inflated, although we were disappointed to see there was only one, and that they were tethering it to four trucks. Apparently we weren't going to be floating gracefully over the mountains. We also saw that the basket was only big enough for three or four people, one of whom was the balloon operator, so our group wouldn't even be able to ride together. Well, after we shivered in a very slow-moving line for two hours, the wind came up and blew the balloon over. So they told us there would be no more rides unless the wind died down, and in the meantime they had to deflate the balloon. At that point, about half the line got up and left, and the rest of us stood around freezing and wondering if it was worth it. But after getting up so early and being cold for so long, we hated to just give up on the only free hot-air balloon ride we would probably ever have. Finally, our patience was rewarded: the clouds and wind passed, the balloon was reinflated, the one group still ahead of us in line had their ride, and at last it was our turn. All I can say is that it was quite an experience - all two and a half minutes of it.  Still, at least now I can say I've ridden in a hot air balloon!

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