Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Yellowstone Magic

(Destination L1-2)

I'm not sure I can do Yellowstone much justice with my words.  It's one of the most beautiful, diverse parks I'v experienced.  From bubbling acid pools and geysers to serene mountain views and meadows it offers a ton of options for adventure.  I'm not sure a month would allow for it all to be experienced.  We had 5 days.

It's hard to get a reservation in Yellowstone even 5 months out.  There are only a few spots in the entire park that can accommodate an RV of our size anyhow.  So, we ended up in West Yellowstone.  A touristy, expensive little town that had some great perks.  While our drive into the park everyday was roughly 45-90 minutes, we really used up everyday we were there to get the most out of the park.  No electric, water or sewer again, but we did have a brand new, working battery that lasted us 2 days instead of a few hours.  Nights were nice and warm and the days were beautifully cool.  There had been a Grizzly bear spotting in our campground 2 days prior to our arrival, so we were sure not to let the kids run around too much on their own.  It left a feeling of suspense arriving after dark some days, wondering if we'll spot one, hopefully from very far away.

We saw Old Faithful, who wasn't very faithful to us, go off twice.  Once 45 minutes later than predicted while we sat waiting.  We biked to Grand Prismatic, an easy 7 mile round-trip...just kidding it was gravel and felt like I was peddling through a sandy beach with a 5 year old not interested in biking hanging off the tandem bike extension behind me.  We hiked the 6 miles up and back to the peak of Mt Washburn, something Jon had done 6 years prior with a good friend of his, viewing Big Horned Sheep and a too-friendly red fox.  We visited the Grizzly and Wolf refuge in West Yellowstone, which gave us a fun show of playful grizzly bears.  And we spotted a wolf pack that included a white wolf the rangers didn't know was now forming a new pack in the park.

As we drove out the northeast entrance to head to the Bear Tooth Highway, we were met with sobbing tears from LJ, "I don't want to leave Yellowstone.  I'll never come back to Yellowstone." which lasted at least 15 minutes.  Guess he really enjoyed it.

We stayed at a very basic campground a few miles off the Highway and spent the next day driving to Red Lodge along the Bear Tooth Highway, "The Most Scenic Drive in America".  The kids got to get out and have a snowball fight in sandals, see mountain lakes at 10,000 feet and some of the most breathtaking views of the mountains.  Montana and Wyoming are incredibly beautiful states, unfortunately they frequently get down to about -40 degrees during the winter.  So we will keep our visits to the summer months.

When Old Faithful was not staying true to its name.

Wolf Pack-we spotted them 2 different days

The Dragon's Mouth

Grand Prismatic

Baby A decided to take a nap and I held her head.

Not excited about our 6 mile journey up Mt. Washburn

We made it!!!


Bear Tooth Highway

Baby A's first time playing in snow

Friday, September 8, 2017

Grand Tetons

(Destination K)

I’ll start with our campground on this one.  While we didn’t have any hookups it was a really beautiful area at Gros Ventre campground in the park with views of the Grand Teton peak.  We backed up the Gros Ventre river which was apparently a hot spot for Moose (but we barely saw 2, see pictures below).  I felt like a hard core outdoors-woman living without electricity, water or sewer hookups for 4 days.  Little did we know our battery on the trailer was bad and we just hunkered down at night for the low 40s without a working furnace.  I know, I know I’m spoiled. 

Our adventures included the boys taking an icy dip in the glacier-made String Lake, a boat ride across Jenny Lake followed by a hike to the beautiful Hidden Waterfall, an evening ranger program at the campground, dinner at a local brewery in Jackson Hole, and some moose hunting along the river.  Grand Tetons lived up to its reputation with the beautiful views and smaller crowds than we experienced in Yellowstone, up next.