Adventures and Photographs

A blog about my life as an Au Pair, the places i see and the people i meet.

Day 10 – Wildlife spotting July 27, 2014

Filed under: America,animals,Friends,holiday,travelling,trek america,walking — Sophie Harris @ 4:41 am

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We had a second day in Yellowstone which was awesome so instead of waking early to pack everything up again and move on we used that time to get out early to a walk with the hopes of seeing some wildlife. Sadly nothing was about but we were able to walk around some beautiful spots with hot pools and mud pots where it was bubbling up. It was nice to just walk around without anyone else there.

IMG_1650We then checked out a walk that went down from an upper plateau to a lower one taking in some great views and checking out the hot rivers that were mixing with the cold. We were supposed to move on to some hot pools for a swim but because the water was so high they had closed it which was a shame but instead we decided to go on a wildlife hunt around the park driving to the places where people had said they had seen bears recently. The weather was perfect so we had load of fun driving around and making up as we went along. Bison are everywhere so we saw lots of them and stopped to take pictures of a couple of big herds.

We had a bet going for the first person in the group to see a bear and get photo evidence … the first one we saw we knew there was something there because there was a large crown gathered around the edge of the road. It does kinda block the area up for a while but its a great way to realise there is something worth looking at. We stopped and went over to the main area and i managed to get the first photo!!! It wIMG_1672as a black bear and it was pretty far away behind some bushes … it was quite hard to notice at the beginning but it walked around a bit and people were pointing it out for us.

The second one i saw was being scared away from the road by a ranger with a gun so we could stop for that one. The best one had to be a mother bear and her two cubs. They were pretty close to the road so we were being warned to move away if she came closer. She was down there moving around with her two cubs, one black and one brown and they really were quite close so we got some great photos before we had to move on.

We finished the day back at our campsite swimming in the river there and they bought me a bear hat that i had to wear .. awesome day!!!

 

Day 9 – Yellowstone National Park!! July 25, 2014

Filed under: America,animals,Friends,holiday,travelling,trek america,walking,waterfalls — Sophie Harris @ 2:56 pm

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We were all pretty hung over/tired/still a bit drunk this morning so the day started slowly with a couple of people being rather sick (one even threw up out of the van haha). We got going though and picked up some 4th of July party food and outfits before heading on to Yellowstone National Park. This was always going to be one of my highlights and something i was really looking forward to seeing so i was super excited to get there. DSC_0004-002

We drove straight through in to Yellowstone and after some lunch went on a walk to see the upper and lower falls. The view was amazing and really the photos don’t do it justice. There was an optional 350 stairs to walk down to the bottom of on of the fall which for some reason we all thought was a good idea. The view was great though and we got pretty close without getting too wet.

IMG_1584We then visited the visitors centre and had a drive through the park watching out for possible bear sightings. We didn’t see any this time but there were a fair few bison walking around and at one point we had to wait for a whole herd to cross over a road in front of us. For our last stop we went to and area with some small geysers and hot pools … it reminded me of craters of the moon in Taupo New Zealand. It was pretty cool to see all the different colours under the water based on the temp.

To finish the day my cooking team pulled out the best hangover meal of bangers and mash in the middle of this amazing campsite right in the woods … we even had to cook some of the sausages on a fire we made as our burner went funny. It was so awesome to be chilling out and having group fun in the middle of Yellowstone right in bear country. We did have to hide all our food and smelly stuff in the trailer which freaked a few people out but i thought it was pretty neat :)

 

Day 8 – Time For A Rodeo!! July 23, 2014

Filed under: America,Friends,holiday,horses,Sports,travelling,trek america — Sophie Harris @ 3:00 pm

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Today our main aim was to get to Cody, WY for an awesome night out at the rodeo. We stopped at few times at gas stations like always and we also stopped for some snow as we went through the high passes in Bighorn National Park. One of the group is from Australia and had never seen snow so we felt although the snow patch was rather small we had to stop and show him. That ended up in a snowball fight10394522_10152561152013582_1379894177331640571_n and considering we were all wearing flip-flops and shorts it was a pretty chilly game. We moved on a bit and found an even bigger patch were we decided it would be a good idea to try some sledging. We used a few things out the trailer like the washing up bowls and a couple of tarps but the hill was pretty steep and the few people who tried it ended up with muddy wet pants and probably a few bruises.

After that adventure we pushed on to Cody where Mike went to get our tickets and we set up the tents and made some dinner. The rodeo was AMAZING … totally how you see it in the movies with Bull riding, bareback riders, barrel racing and roping. We had a really good time and everyone got into it with a few drinks and random competitions from the commentators – one person in the crowd even stood in the middle and got water blasted with a pressure hose!!

IMG_1561Once the rodeo finished up  we all went to a bar down the road called Cassie’s which until we arrived was pretty empty but we soon livened it up. We got some songs on the juke box and the other group arrived who are following the same route and we got to know each other. It was totally crazy to think we were in the middle of cowboy town drinking and playing pool with cowboys while playing Miley Cyrus on the juke box haha. We paid for it the next day .. some more than others but we had a great night and finished it all up with a walk back to the campsite and a few hours sleep before it all began again :)

 

Day 7 – Mt. Rushmore!!! July 21, 2014

Filed under: America,Friends,holiday,travelling,trek america — Sophie Harris @ 2:54 pm

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Today was the day i finally got to see Mt. Rushmore!! It’s just one of those places you always hear about and would love to go and see but haven’t a clue where in the US it actually is. We did have a bit of a drive ahead though and started the day at a place called Wall Drug which is basically a town size mall where they sell absolutely everything! Instead of one big building it was like a town high street but all the shops connected inside. They had  weird and wonderful things and i managed to stock up on all my patches from the states I’d missed along the way.

We then went on to Mt.IMG_1528 Rushmore itself where we had a little bit of time to either take a million photos or take one of the nature walks around the area … you know which we chose haha. It was smaller than i thought but then you don’t get  really close. They had a great lookout point and im sure had we walked anywhere from that main area we may have found a couple more but we were sadly pressed for time. It was pretty cool to see and random how it was in the middle of nowhere and yet SO busy!! There were people everywhere taking photos and buying a million things in the gift shop.

On our way to our camp spot at Devil’s tower we stopped at the Crazy Horse Monument which is basically the same idea but paid for by the native americans. It’s supposed to be in the shape of Crazy Horse riding his horse but at the moment all that has been done is his head and the basic outline. It will look amazing when its done but they are trying to make the money to do it at the moment.

Everyone is a little ill at the moment maybe from the aircon in the van so we all went to bed early to sleep it off. It’s hard to keep up most days and get enough water and sleep so that’s probably not helping but i guess it’s all part of the experience haha.

 

Day 6 – 1880′s Fancy Dress July 20, 2014

Filed under: America,Friends,holiday,travelling,trek america,walking — Sophie Harris @ 6:01 am

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Today passed in a blur of really rather random and un-connected stops and activities. We started with the worlds only corn museum where they have murals on the outside made from corn cobs. It was fun to add to our list alongside the SPAM museum and check out all the weird and wonderful things they had inside.

IMG_1438We then drove on to an 1880′s town in South Dakota where you could see buildings from the time as well as play dress up as 1880′s men and women. We had such a good time picking out the outfits (some cross dressing) and walking around town taking ridiculous photos … we even had a wedding between a mexican and his cross dressing bride!! We didn’t get a whole lot of time at each place today but that just meant we had to make the most of the time we did have. We had so much fun running around and getting on all the various carts, wagons and trains to take photos in our amazing costumes.

Our final stop before the camp ground for the night was Badlands National Park where we went on a short hike up to a lookout spot. We had to climb this crazy ladder to get up there but the view showed right over the park  and we had fun getting up there. It was a pretty mad day and everyone was exhausted by the end but it was great to be able to fit so much in!

 

Day 5 – Matching SPAM Tattoos!! July 18, 2014

Filed under: America,Chicago,Friends,holiday,travelling,trek america — Sophie Harris @ 2:27 pm

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And now im home … sorting things and remembering the awesome time i had while most of the group carry on following the southern route back to NY. Here is day 5 :)

We had our first big drive of the trip as we aimed to go 8 hours across Wisconsin to Minnesota. Leaving Chicago for good this time was a little sIMG_0098ad but im glad i got to see it one last time and share it with new people who were experiencing it for the first time.

We stopped along the way as usual at various gas stations where everyone would try out a new candy and we stopped at a random Jolly Green Giant statue where we got a group photo. The best stop though has to be the SPAM museum where we had a little time to walk around and see the history of SPAM and play some games like packing up tins in a race against each other (me and April won!). From the shop we all picked up SPAM tattoos as well and went to put them on in the bathroom – i think we may have been a little mad from lack of sleep. Our tour leader Mike also got us to play a game with some eggs in the parking lot although when we managed to keep them whole during an egg and spoon race we turned it in to egg catching and threw them at each other until they broke haha.

Most of the van journey was spent sleeping and playing games and the time passed pretty quickly. We got to the campsite and played some volleyball with some of the kids there before ending the day with some s’mores and a fire.

 

Day 4 – Final Goodbyes To Chicago July 10, 2014

Filed under: America,Chicago,Friends,holiday,travelling,trek america — Sophie Harris @ 6:58 pm

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So here we go … time to catch up. I’ve been in a couple of national parks and basically had a lack of internet wherever i’ve been so i haven’t been able to keep up. Also our days are crazy filled with all manor of things from when we wake up till bed in the evening but now im in San Francisco and chilling out before we go for a sunset cruise in thrift shop outfits later. I only have a few days left but here is day 4 :)

Today was a free day to spend in Chicago as we wanted. We started a little later than usual although everyone else wanted to see as much as they could so we were up and about by 9. I played tour guide and took them to Willis tower, last time I was there it had been snowing so I got a different look at the view with the sun … we also got a really great group photo.

IMG_0061Having been in Chicago a while they followed me blindly across town to check out the Route 66 sign and take them out to Panera Bread for lunch (which they liked just as much as I do). We then had to head back for a Cubs V Washington Nationals baseball game out at Wrigley Park. Our tour leader didn’t go so we went with the other group of trekkers who are staying in the same hostel as us. We had to get there on the Chicago Metro train which was a little confusing but with a million other fans all getting off at the same stop we couldn’t really get lost! We had super high seats with a pretty good view of the game and i spent most of the time trying to explain the rules and what was happening. We had a good time but being that far removed from the game and not knowing totally what was going on im not sure everyone enjoyed it totally but I was glad I could tick seeing the cubs off my list. We chilled out in the evening having some dinner and using the time to re-pack our bags again and sort things out ready for the next step of our trip!

 

 

 
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