Friday, September 30, 2016

Vacation Recap, part 2: Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons

 Last week, Ethan picked out a book on Wyoming from the library.  He was so excited to look inside and read about all the places we ventured on our adventure this past summer.  So, I thought that now would be a good time to finish this blog post.  With things getting super busy at the beginning of the school year, I almost forgot about this one!  Oops!  You can read about the first half of our adventure over here.

I left off with us leaving Devil's Tower.  From there we headed to my Grandma's house is Worland.  To get there we had to drive through some of the most beautiful areas.  Wyoming is so much more than grassy prairies and filled with diverse rock formations and beautiful mountain ranges.  This day of driving was a long day, filled with roadside peeing (thank goodness for having boys!), and car activities.  When we reached Powder Pass, we got out to play for a few minutes.  There was still snow up there and the kids came really close to running and playing in it before we continued on our trek. 

We even got to drive through the tiny town of Ten Sleep.  I have some super fond memories of this cozy little town where my great grandmother lived.  It was fun sharing some of these memories with the kids and Jon.  The town my grandma lives is just a short drive from Ten Sleep and the kids could not wait to see everyone.  They had so much fun playing with their cousin George the week before and were so excited to be reunited. . . even if just for 24 hours!  There were soccer games in the yard and nerf gun wars and even lego playing.  These boys had a blast while the adults hung out on the porch and chatted.
The next afternoon, we headed toward Cody for some more adventuring.  From this point on we stayed with my parents in their camper as they worked their way towards Oregon.  Ethan got to help put the camper up and he thought that was the coolest.  We stayed at some pretty cool campgrounds and I will put the links at the end of the post.  Our night in Cody was also Father's Day, so we headed out to eat at The Irma, because who doesn't want to eat at Buffalo Bill's restaurant?!  Jon even got a rootbeer which made his Father's Day wish come true (he only wanted a yummy rootbeer!).  We also raided Walmart for groceries for the next few days and then on to the Rodeo.  Cody has a really cool rodeo that happens every single night and the kids loved it! 

After grabbing a latte from one of the local shops the next morning, we started our trek into Yellowstone.  Cody is a couple of hours from the park entrance and we headed straight there.  We didn't stop until we got to Yosemite Lake and it was breathtaking.  It was one of my favorite parts of the park.  The steam coming from the ground comes from fissures.  We also stopped at the Mud Pots and then to Fishing Bridge to have lunch and get Ethan his Junior Ranger book.  The books here cost $5, but are really well done and have color pages. 

We then headed into West Yellowstone, where we were reunited with the camper, my parents, and took some time to rest.  Our campground had a fun little park for the kids to play and Ethan loved buying ice cream at the campground store.  That night, we drove up to Earthquake Lake to see the craziness of an Earthquake that took place when my mom was a kid.  You can read about it here.

The next morning, we woke up super early to head to the Old Faithful Inn for breakfast and see Old Faithful go off.  It was beautiful and we had fun.  The food and service were not that great, so I would only recommend eating there to say you did.  The kids had a blast exploring the area and going to the second floor balcony.  My favorite part was Weston screaming, "It's Amazing!"

The next day, we got up super early (because we found that if we got anywhere later than 10am, it was too crowded to see anything and no parking).  We made it to Mammoth Springs and explored the area, found souvenirs, lunch and the Roosevelt Arch.  It was so much fun!

We left early the next morning, because we really wanted to see the Grand Prismatic Springs and it was always too crowded.  We were so glad we went early, because it was so beautiful!  It was a great finale of our time in Yellowstone.  
From Yellowstone, we headed into the Grand Tetons.  This is one of my favorite places and is probably what I was most excited to show Jon.  It is breathtakingly beautiful, peaceful, and there's this wonderful little town called Jackson Hole.  We stayed with my parents here, also, in the coolest campground outside of town.  Someday, Jon and I are going to go back without the kids and stay in their cute tiny cabins!  We even were able to add a moose to our animal siting list!

We decided to not have Ethan do the Jr. Ranger program here, because we didn't spend a lot of time in the park.  The one place I knew I wanted to show Jon was this church that sits just inside the park, not far from Jackson Hole.  The church faces the Grand Tetons and all I can think of is singing praises to God while looking up at this large, majestic mountains. It is utterly breathtaking! How lucky those early settlers were to be able to attend church here each week.

We explored what we could and then headed into town to set up camp, rest, and head to dinner at the Circle J Ranch.  This was my second time and I was so glad that the kids were old enough to enjoy it.  Weston was a little restless, but it had been a long day and he was tired.  Ethan laughed at the jokes and enjoyed the music and the food!

The next day, we spent some time shopping and eating some local fare.  My favorite store is this amazing little shop of handmade goodness, called Made.  So many super fun things! 

We ended our last night with a walk over the Snake River, seeing a moose, and eating leftovers in my parent's camper.  After two weeks of traveling, we were excited to hit the road the next morning and head to Salt Lake for our return flight to San Francisco.  We had a wonderful adventure and can't wait to plan our next one!  The kids are already making lists of what they want to do.  I love that they love traveling. . . It makes my heart so happy!

If you have any questions about our trip feel free to comment!

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