We had a packed day what with the quick tour through Yellowstone and all so we were relieved to find a great camping spot about 25 minutes north of the north entrance to Yellowstone N.P.  The campground was lovely and super cheap ($7 per night)!  It was nestled at the foot of a picturesque butte mazed between large craggy lichen covered rocks.  The girls were thrilled to have such a great climbing gym in our own backyard!  

By the time we arrived at camp it had stopped raining.  It was perfect timing and such nice weather.  I feel like the low 70’s are perfect weather where you can comfortably wear pants and a t-shirt.  The girls climbed the rocks picking their favorites as “the rock patio,” “the castle” and “the new castle with more comfortable beds.”

Justin got out the climbing gear and set up a belay to use for the rest of the afternoon.  The girls did SO well climbing!!  It was the first time for both of them on a real rock (as opposed to a climbing wall) and our youngest’s first time ever.  It was a fairly high rock that Justin set up an anchor on but they did a good job listening to directions and conquering their hesitations.

The trickiest part was coming down.  It always is more scary than going up, isn’t it?!  It’s hard to trust the rope and lean back into it like you must to come down safely.  It was a slow process at first with the girls but by the end of the afternoon they were both much more confident and doing great!  They looked so little up there on the rock and I knew they were in safe hands with Justin in charge of the belay.

Meanwhile I baked bread in the solar oven using the electric feature that we haven’t used yet and made dinner.  That turned out to not work so great for bread.  We ended up with a loaf of bread with a very charred bottom.  All the heat is concentrated on the bottom when using the electric heating element which for bread didn’t work out.  Using solar heating it works great for bread!  Now we know that we have to wait for a sunny day if we want bread.  It’s okay though, all was not lost.  It was still a tasty loaf after we cut the bottom off. ;). Tomato sandwiches never tasted so good!  

As soon as we started eating dinner the rain started again.  Lightly at first giving me time to put away “the castle” and then later that evening it started down pouring!  Our youngest and I had fun watching the thunderstorm from Azul where we were doing some schooling.  We were glad that Wobbles was close by when we had to make a mad dash through the drops for wash up for bed.

Hanging out in the top bunk

On a side note, during the day Justin had used the shower wand to fill up our water purifier and noticed water coming out from what seemed to be the edge of the shower basin.  Did we have a crack in the basin?  Then he noticed water coming out of the bottom of the wall!  Oh my!!  He took apart the wall where the shower water hookups are and we saw where the leak was coming from.  The joints attaching the shower tube was loose.  In fact, all the connections back there were loose.  The good news was it was an easy fix and there is mostly plastic behind there so not much worry about wood rot.  Though, just in case we left the wall panel off to let it dry out.  

Shower water leak

Due to the long driving days, the campground letdown the previous day and the fact that the site we were at was so great, we decided not to try getting into Yellowstone until another day.  We wanted to be sure to have a full day at this campground so the girls could have fun on the rocks.  

On our second day at this site we enjoyed the down time!  The girls and I chose a perfect boulder to do schooling on (our youngest loves to do schooling any chance we give her which includes at my feet as I get breakfast together).  Four is such a great age for learning.  She is like a little sponge and wants more and more to soak up.  

School of hard rocks

Since we had some down time I thought I’d try making a cookie loaf in the solar oven.  It worked beautifully and we now have A LOT of cookies!!  The sun peaked through the clouds just enough to crisp them beautifully on the outside and yet keep them moist on the inside.  I also had time to strategically plan our Yellowstone exploring so we make the best use of our time and see a lot.

Justin spent some of his time figuring out why our refrigerator wasn’t working in Wobbles anymore.  The temperature was up to 60*!!  He fiddled with it and tried a couple things and thankfully it started working.  It’s not clear if anything he did fixed it or if it was just a fluky thing.  I tell you, campers are not built without quirks!  I am really glad Justin is so handy!  This time it was an easy fix but to be honest, I don’t know if I would have known where to open up the wall to even check the connection.  

The girls used their down time to climb, have a dance party, play dress up and get clean!  These girls will be clean to start our adventuring in Yellowstone tomorrow bright and early.

We plan on scooping the girls out of bed and popping them into Azul at daybreak and eating breakfast on the road so we can be at Mammoth Hot Springs Campground in the wee hours of the morning to get a site!  I hope our plan works!!