Life through the eyes of a child is magical. Life through the eyes of two little boys is engrossing, with the emphasis, at times, on ‘gross’. Days filled with repeated backseat shouts of BOOYAH! Hikes highlighted by finds of their very-most-favorite-thing…animal scat. Laughter at anything to do with burping, gas, or things that are done in the bathroom.
Ah, yes…little boys. We are used to little boys, 6 of our 7 grandchildren are boys. But these two, I can honestly say, were the best part of our trip.
It was to be a couple of ‘firsts’ for them. After our night in the ConestogaWagons, we rode our bikes into town for breakfast, two miles round trip and Colby’s first time on a two wheeler! He rode like a champ, and was rewarded with seeing a dead deer on the side of the rode which he quickly deduced had been shot in the neck and dumped there. He’s a very observant boy. After breakfast, we packed up and traveled on to our destination, Yellowstone.
Before we’d left home, we found books for the boys, “What I Saw In Yellowstone” by Durrae Johanek. Wonderful little books with information and pictures of things to check off as you saw them. Throughout our trip we’d gathered quite the list…moose, deer, bison, elk, black bears, coyote, chipmunks, and a small rodent that I couldn’t remember the name of, that we thought was a marmot and eventually decided was a ground squirrel. Even with all we saw, the boys main goal, what they were most interested in seeing besides ‘scat’, was wolves and a grizzly bear. What we actually found was much more fun!
When traveling through Yellowstone, you can always tell when there’s an animal sighting. Cars quickly pull off the side of the road and people line up, supposedly keeping a safe distance, but still trying to see what everyone else is looking at. On about Day 4, we saw two black bears. They were far enough away, but clearly visible and it was magical, even to those of us not children. We also saw something else, something elusive, something that was not in the book…
Our sightings were called out…”Bison out Colby’s window!” “Elk out Sawyer’s window!” “Look, at that coyote!”
One day I made the mistake of thinking I saw something fairly far away only to realize it was just some of those two-legged beasts called people. So began, the sarcasm from my husband and son…”Rox, look! Homosapiens!” “Oh look, Mom, a person!” Yes, they think they’re very funny. Sarcasm given should always be returned in kind and so, with excitement in my voice I blurted, “Oh look, a redhead!” My poor daughter-in-law, who was our in-the-park driver, slammed on the brakes before she realized what I’d said. About that same time, our grandson Sawyer experienced his first, a realization, and asked the crucial question, “Dad, what’s a redhead?” Once our son Eric finished explaining to Sawyer that people with hair the same color as Nana’s are redheads, he also felt the need to explain to me about the red hair in his eyebrows and how unruly they are, not lying flat like the other non-red black ones. I can only assume he blames me for this.
Sawyer had a new found quest, not just for the animals to check off in his book; but now for that mythical creature, the redhead. He began looking for them and began pointing them out. Like the little boy in The Sixth Sense, he’d whisper to me, “Nana, I see a redhead.”
We rested from the park on our 5th day and spent the day exploring the town of West Yellowstone, where we were staying. We determined that the Wolf and Grizzly Discovery Center would be our main stop. The boys finally got to see and mark off grizzly bears and wolves, but they were most fascinated by the scurrying of the little ground squirrels. I guess it really is the little things in life…and those little thing, whether they be little boys or little squirrels, really are a very big deal!