Rock Hounding. 

I went to a ranger class to learn about rock hounding and ever since then I have wanted to go do it!

You can not rock hound in a National Park because you have to keep all of those natural things in the National Park for everyone to enjoy. 

I went to an opal mine. Opals can look really pretty once they have been cut into a shape and shined up. But they do not look like this automatically. 

I have my own hammer now and I use it when I rock hound. I am allowed to use it because I know how to be careful. 
Rock hounding is fun. I put water on the rocks to find out their true colors. 
I love  rock hounding. 

I Saw Wolves and Bears. 

When Daddy woke up in the morning he heard a pack of wolves howling and was surprised how close they sounded. Then later on he realized that the reason was that there was a wolf and bear rescue place really close to us. 
We went to visit the bears and wolves. They live here because they got injured or their mamas did. They It is not a zoo where the animals are treated badly or made to learn tricks. It is a learning place and the people who work there don’t even touch the animals so they are having a more natural life. 

The best thing about these bears is that they are all grown up bears but they act like baby cub bears because they don’t have to be as responsible at the center as they would have to be in the wild. All of their food is here and their lives are pretty easy so they play and roll around and act silly.  One bear was trying to rip down a small tree and was tossing branches in the air. Another one was rolling around on his back, touching his feet like a baby human does. 

The wolves moved around the same way that dogs do. Wolves are smarter than dogs, even if you have a very smart dog.

Cheese Sandwich.

The thing I like about road trips is when we see something fun or interesting, we usually stop and try it out! 

I saw this river and asked if we could stop and swim and we did!

The water was warm because some of that hot water from the geysers gets into this water. So it does not feel like melted snow. 

This is a place where people catch fish with fishing poles but I did not find any fish. I looked around a lot. I rolled around in some plants that looked like seaweed and reminded me of a mermaid bed. Then I made a necklace out of plants but I did not bring it with me because a junior ranger leaves those things behind, everyone should.

I sat in a shallow spot and ate my cheese sandwich in the river too. 

Lava + Water + Earthquakes + Germs.

Hot lava is called lava when it gets out of the Earth. When it is still inside and under the ground it is called magma. 

Magma heats up the water and earthquakes help the ground crack and the hot water or hot mud get out. 
Sometimes the hot water just bubbles and sometimes it squirts water out very high. Other cracks or holes in the rocks let just steam out. 

Bacteria (germs) and minerals (kind of like vitamins) can make the hot water turn different colors. Some are so beautiful. I wanted to touch them but I know that is not allowed. It could make a problem in the colors or maybe be hot enough to burn me.


Nature and Fires.

The Park Ranger talked about how when fires happen in Yellowstone and trees burn or fall, they don’t take them away and clean up because the trees make vitamins for the soil. They do not replant new trees either. Everything has to be as natural as possible.

I also learned that if an animal in Yellowstone is sick or feeling bad or about to maybe even die, they just let it do what it would do in nature, either live or die. The only time the Rangers get involved with helping an animal with a sickness or maybe a broken leg or something, is if people caused the problem. People make problems in a lot of ways and one way is by bumping an animal with their car.

Lichen Hike. 

I saw new colors of little plants that grow on rocks. Daddy told me they are called lichen and you say that word “like en” and I thought that was funny so I said “I’m really likin lichen” a whole bunch of times. 

And Daddy just picked me up for a silly picture. I hiked on my own boots, not being carried. 

Sunset Hike. 

I hiked to see the sunset from a high up spot. Mama and Daddy and I sat on a big sandstone rock and saw the sky. It was pink and orange. Sunset is a good time to hike because if the day is too hot then at sunset the weather is usually not so hot. 

Very Near To Bison. 

I saw bison far away and then I saw them very close from the car. I learned that bison weigh about 2,000 pounds. I weigh 47 pounds and 2,000 is a lot more. 

Sometimes people think that because bison move slowly when they are just walking around, that they are like cows. They are not! They can run very fast toward you and that is called charging. I also learned that they can be something called aggressive. Aggressive means the opposite of gentle and it is kind of like an attack. They only act that way if they feel like you are too close or bothering them. These are wild animals and they are big. 

Bison eat grass and they eat a lot of it. The whole time I watched them they were eating. I was close enough (in the car) to hear their mouths ripping up the grass. Then later they all started to scratch themselves on fence posts.

Because these bison are wild, that means they can roam around and do what they want to do inside the National Park. This National Park is not very crowded so there were only some people. I saw more bison than people.

Bison are big and their poop is big too. Poop is called scat. If you are a ranger, you call it scat and not poop.

Wild Horses. 

I have seen wild horses very far away before but these were very close. The grown up horses looked at me but did not really care very much because they just looked away but I noticed that the baby horses (I know they are called colts) looked at me for a long time. I stood and watched them for so long. It felt special to see them so close up. I know you can get closer to horses that people buy but these ones are wild animal horses. You can’t ride them. 

Ants Carrying Rocks.

I already know that ants can carry very heavy loads and that it’s pretty much like adults carrying around a small car. But it still was very interesting to me to see a whole bunch of ants carrying tiny rocks. The rocks were sure tiny but still lots bigger than the ant bodies. Then when I explored more, I found out why they were carrying them. The rocks were for their habitat. 


The grasslands are where lots of animals live and they are all very cute to me. I have a lot of them as stuffed (pretend) animals. I really like the Black Footed Ferrets. They live in the Prairie Dog tunnels and they actually eat the Prairie Dogs too so I do not really like that very much but they do need to do that to live. Small owls called Burrowing Owls live in there too. 

I took a class on rock hounding and I learned how to do that and where it is okay to rock hound and where it is not. I would really like to go rock hounding soon. It would be fun to gather rocks and then polish them in a rock tumbler. My Gigi told me about rock tumblers and I would like one but I have to save my money and I am already saving my dollars for a sewing machine. 

Badlands are Great!

The Badlands used to not look like it does now. It used to be covered with sea water so there are no dinosaur bones here. 
I loved watching the national park rangers put on lab coats and goggles and masks and work on removing the sediment from the fossils. They used drills when I was watching them but later when they get very close to the bones they use more delicate tools. There were tubes to suck away the dust and they wore the face masks so they wouldn’t breathe the dust. One ranger was inside a clear box with the fossil and another ranger had just his hands in the clear box working. 

I went on a short hike here because it is so hot. The hills have little tiny balls of dried clay and it is easy to slip. Mama slipped and fell down and her legs went straight up in the air and that made me laugh so hard because it looked so silly to me. Mama laughed too so I was not being mean. It is not okay to laugh at someone if they are hurt or sad.

I worked on my Junior Ranger badge here. I still feel very proud each time I earn one. I am covering my Ranger vest! I would like to get a green ranger hat too. 


Today I learned about how countries have missiles for protection from other countries. Missles are very big and they seem a little dangerous. I understand about them a little bit but not a lot.

School kids used to have to practice getting under their desks in case of a missle. I would not like that at all. This Junior Ranger badge took less time than most of the parks with lots of nature. 


This is a big building where you can see live music and each year the outside of the building is covered in dry corn to make a big picture. It costs over $100,000 to do this each year. I wanted to try corn with butter from their snack bar but they did not have that. I also got to touch powdered corn and it was so soft.  Mama bought a necklace for me and it is made of corn. I think it would be nice to wear for a very special occasion. 

Tall Grass Hike.

I went to the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve to see what it used to look like here.

This is an ice house. Back before freezers and refrigerators people would cut a huge hunk of ice from a frozen pond or lake and put it in the ice house with things they needed to keep cold. Because the ice was so big, it would take months before it melted all the way. This is different than small ice cubes which can melt faster.

This wasa tool sharpener. A long time ago you could sit on the seat, pump your legs and make the stone circle go around and around and then put the tool to touch the stone and it would make the metal tool sharper. I would have liked to sit and pump my legs on this but it is too old for that. 

These are all the plants in this area. It was not just one type of grass and that it! There were a lot!

This is an old fashioned carriage for horses to pull and people to ride in.
This is a way people would plant rows of plants. The seeds go in the can and the pointy part at the bottom makes a row in the dirt and the seeds drop inside the dug out row.

The weather was very hot today so I kept our hike short, just about 2 miles. Mama carried a big container of water for us to drink. It was a hot hike but I did not complain.  On this hike I saw silk worms moving all around when I got close to them. I also saw cows eating. The cows were from Texas and they were here to eat and eat and eat so that they could be big for them to be eaten. I do not eat cows so I did not really like this. I also saw a very unusual bug. It was unusual because Dadsy tried to shoo it away from the path but it would not leave the trail, it kept moving forward and landing on the trail again and again and again like it was leading us. It made me laugh but we did not know if it were a biting or stinging bug. It was fuzzy but just because a bug is fuzzy does not mean it is a bug that won’t sting or bite! I asked the ranger but she did not even know what this bug was!

I earned my Junior Ranger badge and patch here too. 

New Word: Segregation.

A long time ago students with dark skin had to go to a different school than students with light skin. 
I learned that this was called separate but equal but it was not equal because equal is when something is fair. This was not fair. It was wrong. 
This school is where that rule stopped happening. It is called Monroe School. I learned a new word called segregation and that means separated but in a sort of unfair way. I earned another Junior Ranger badge here. 

630 Feet Tall.

I went to a special place called The Arch. I learned that it is modern. Modern is sort of the same thing as new but The Arch is not exactly new. Other ways to think of a building as being modern is that it might be shiny or simple. It does not mean old-fashioned or fancy. 

I find bugs wherever I go. I even found some in this city when I walked to The Arch.  

To get to the top of The Arch I got into a round elevator that is kind of like a bubble with 5 seats inside. The ride up to the top is 4 minutes, the ride down is only 3.

I worked on two new badges while I was here and Mama bought a special Junior Ranger vest for me and now I have put my badges on the vest. 
The Arch is 630 feet tall. 

Flooded Mine.

I went to a place that has a mine. A mine is an underground place where something is dug out of the ground for money. A miner is a job where you dig the thing out from the ground. Miners can dig for gold or other things. This mine was for lead. Lead is what used to be in pencils but not anymore. 

This mine was used for over one hundred years and then scientists figured out that lead was unhealthy for people’s bodies and this mine was closed. When it closed, water started coming in and now it’s full of water and people go diving. Mama doesn’t have her diving papers but is a good swimmer and asked if she could just rent a wetsuit and swim there but the answe was no. She asked a few people but they each said nope.

I walked through the mine and then eventually took a boat. The water was very clear and I could see things in the water that the miners had used. 

I saw one fish. There is only one fish there and it’s there because the owner of the mine put it in there. She gets fed so she stays close to the edge. The workers have to feed her because nothing is in the flooded mine for her to eat. I thought she might be lonely and I found out from my guide that they had put two fish in there and either the lady fish ate the man fish or he is very shy and staying under the dock but the workers hasn’t seen the man fish in months. I also learned that her colors have faded on her skin because she is in the dark all the time. 

The boat ride was like a dream come true. Being in the boat was so much fun, it was so very beautiful in this flooded mine. 

Outside Art and Inside Toys.

I saw a lot of outdoor art and then a whole bunch of toys that a man collected. He said he had a whole bunch more not showing and he told us a lot of stories. Some of them I didn’t understand and he talked very fast but Mama and Daddy understood the stories and laughed and said “oh wow” a lot of times. It felt like we were there for a long time and so I asked and Daddy said it had been almost 4 hours. 

I petted a dog named Honey Bear and I heard that this man had a pet squirrel but the squirrel was not available. I saw a black pig and some ducks and chickens walking around too.

I liked this place and the toy area gave me ideas for setting up my train table in a different way. I’d like to make the train go up and over the houses on my train table and try out a remote controlled train too. 

Ring of Fire, Fellow.

I went to a museum that had everything in it that was all about the singer Johnny Cash. He was a singer and he also played the guitar. He was a very good singer and I do like his songs. Two that I like I Walk The Line and Ring of Fire. I saw some Sesame Street and Johnny Cash was on that show singing a song, Don’t Take Your Ones to Town and it was about Big Bird and the number 1.
I learned that a lot of people like Johnny Cash’s songs and have done something with his songs called covering. If you cover someone else’s song it means that you sang their song but didn’t steal the song from them. It’s like being a copycat but it’s nice, not mean. I listened to 15 different singers sing I Walk The Line and about 10 who sang Ring of Fire. Mama read a sign to me that said over 150 singers covered that song. People were waiting to get to one of the three spots where you can listen with the headphones but I’d had to wait my turn so Mama said it was okay to just listen until I had heard all of what I wanted to hear. Most people only listened for a little bit before they walked on to the next thing anyway.

I saw Johnny Cash’s guitars, clothes, papers, records, and photographs.

 I also got to see a movie about him singing for the people who were in the prison. He sang for the prisoners in Folsom Prison and San Quentin Prison and I have never been to those prisons but I have been in the towns where the prisons are. 

The people who work in this museum say “you can get your picture made” instead of saying “you can get your picture taken” and that is different to me. 
When I had my picture made, the man called me a fellow. I am not a fellow because a fellow means a man or a boy.  I wore a pants and a tank top today and they both have fringe on them and I know boys probably might like fringe too because it moves all around if you run or hop or dance. If I wore a dress he probably would not have called me fellow but anyone can wear anything they want to wear and it does not matter if you are a boy or a girl. But I didn’t learn that today. I already knew that for a long time.  

Behavior and George Jones. 

I went to a museum where I saw all sorts of special memory things from a singer named George Jones. I learned that he didn’t show up for his concerts sometimes because he did not treat his body very well

His nickname was possum and I think that is pretty funny. It is not funny that he died because he treated his body badly. The George Jones museum had a nice restaurant with singers singing and playing guitar too and I ate dinner there. I ordered blackened fish tacos and milk. It was delicious.  
At the end of our meal our waiter told me that he has been waiting tables for a lot of years and that I was in the top five of well-spoken and well-behaved kids he had ever seen in a restaurant. This was nice to hear because I got very shy and quiet when I had lunch with some people who are related to my Daddy a few days ago. 

Mama and Daddy were frustrated with me because when someone asks me questions, I should be able to answer and have a conversation but yesterday I did not do a good job of doing that even with Mama reminding me and trying to help me answer. I don’t really know why it was hard for me but it was. We all had a long talk about it and I got better at it again today. Sometimes things go right and sometimes things go wrong. 

A Drink Not For Kids.

This tour smelled great! I liked that the whole tour smelled like bread. No bread was being made here but some bread ingredients were being used. 

This factory is where some drink is made that is not for kids. Adults can drink it as a treat but not all adults like to. Kids can go on this tour though, and see how everything is made. I liked seeing how the barrels are made out of wood pieces and metal circles. 

Fancy Hats + Horse Race.

This is a place where a very special horse race happens each year. It is called the Kentucky Derby. Horses have to be exactly three years old to do the race and the person who rides the horse has to be very light and small so that the horse does not have to work hard to run with the jockey on their back. 

I took a tour and got to see the paddock. The paddock is where the horses wait in stalls. I also saw where people pay extra for a special ticket to see the race up close. The track is a big oval shape and it is mostly sand. The horse that wins gets to wear a cape made of red roses.

When people watch this race they wear dress up clothes and very fancy or silly hats. 

Only Child Here.

Mama and Daddy got married around this time a long time ago but it was in the middle of July so they celebrate their anniversary each July. 

This year to celebrate, my Grandma Jojo bought us all tickets to see a singer we really like and who we listen to in the car when we drive around to far away places. His name is James McMurtry. I recognized all of the songs he played and he played my favorite and I think it’s called North Texas but maybe it is called something else but he says North Texas in the song I really like. I could feel the music in my belly because it boomed. 

I had to wear my special ear muffs to block out some of the loud songs. I sat up against the wall on a drinks ledge and ate chocolate covered raisins while I watched the band play. This place said it was ok for me to come in even though I am not an adult but I was the only person at the show who was not an adult. 

Waterfall Hike.

I hiked down some steep rocks and into this area where this waterfall was. This was a beautiful waterfall and it was not too strong like other waterfalls can be. I felt really brave and strong doing this. 

Later in my hike I saw an animal I had never seen before. It was a muskrat. It was so cute. I would like to have one. 

I read this sign all by myself and sounded out all the letters.

Snapping turtles and big fish were in the water near the beaver dam. I would have liked to see the Beavers but they rest up during the day and start their work when the sun is starting to get ready to set. 

I also earned two new Junior Ranger badges here. I earned a protector badge and a badge for this National Park. Since I am 5, I usually have to do 5 activities but this time I had to do more. 

Itchy Outfit.

George Washington was the first president of the United States of America and this is what he wore!

Sometimes a museum shows you a model or a replica. I know that those words usually mean please don’t touch, just look to learn. And that a replica always means that the thing is not the real one but it is a new one that got made to look just like the real thing so people can learn.

But this is not a replica. George Washington wore these actual clothes! 

I saw a painting of him wearing the same outfit too. The clothes are made of wool and wool comes from sheep. I think that this outfit is probably itchy. 

Bad Rules about Skin Color.

Before Mama and Daddy were born but when all of my grandparents were born, there were rules that people with dark skin were not allowed to do all the things that people with light skin could do. I know that this was very wrong. 

I learned that there were four students (but older students, not little kids like me) who went to sit at a lunch counter table that they were not supposed to use because of the bad and mean rules about skin color. Doing this started to help the ending of those bad rules. 

I Sold Lemonade. 

I learned how to have a lemonade stand business of my own when I went to classes to learn about it at the library. I have really been wanting to sell lemonade for a while and I finally got to try it.

I got a loan from the Kiwanis Club after I made my list of what I would need. I paid for the supplies with that loan. If you get a loan that means you have to pay it back. It means borrow and you can’t just keep that money.

Mama and I made strawberry lemonade and I sold it at a Farmers’ Market. I made enough money to pay back my loan and then extra money after that. That part is called my profit. Profit is the money you make after you pay the loan back. 

I used tally marks to keep track of the number of cups of strawberry lemonade that I sold.

It was a very hot day outside and so people really liked having lemonade and lots of cold ice in it. I will do this again!

Abraham Lincoln’s Hat.

Abraham Lincoln was a president of The United States of America. He was the 16th one and was the tallest one ever. 

Abraham Lincoln wore this type of hat a lot and this is the actual one that he wore. It looks very old and it is.