Saturday, July 16, 2016

Welcome to Jackson Hole

From Yellowstone, we drove south toward Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole.  We'd been told how gorgeous the Tetons are, and were excited to check them out for a few days.  
I'll confess that I did get a speeding ticket on our way.  After driving through Utah and Idaho and Montana with their 75 mph speed limits, I had developed quite a lead foot.  Apparently I was in a national park, so it's a little bit different ticket than normal.  I felt terrible about it.  The ranger who gave me the ticket reminded me of the animals crossing and how carefully I should be driving.  Ugh.  Guilt.

We stopped at Jackson Lodge for lunch, and a gorgeous view of the Tetons from the deck.  It was a great start to our time in Jackson Hole.

Last Day in Yellowstone

We continued to drive around the Southern Loop of Yellowstone with some beautiful stops along the way.

Yellowstone River...
Elk grazing...
Bison- everywhere...
Waterfalls...
As much as Berkley loved the Junior Ranger program, he is also a sucker for a park store.  We didn't come home with a ton of souvenirs, but he always got excited about browsing the stores.  It became pretty funny after a while, so we took this picture  at our final Yellowstone Visitor's Center.
Learning about the skulls of various animals that can be found throughout the Park.
Our final moments in an incredible park...

Firehole Falls & Swimming Hole

After glamping, we took an early morning drive around parts of Yellowstone that we had not yet seen.  We set out with little agenda, and were able to simply stop and play along the way.

Our first stop was Firehole Falls- a short hike off the side of the road...
Doesn't everyone hike in leggings, knee socks and watershoes?!  Ha!  With the cold Wyoming mornings and warm afternoons, I became a pro at layering!
We stopped at a beautiful swimming hole heated by the nearby hot springs.  Berkley & Stephen claim the water was still pretty chilly, but worth the swim.
Family photo by the water.  Poor Berk was clearly freezing, but it was still a great stop!

Glamping

As I planned our epic trip, I really hoped we could have some unique lodging experiences.  Since we were flying out, I knew that hauling our own camping gear would be difficult, but I couldn't resist trying out "glamping"- where you get to camp, but everything is already set up for you.  It was truly the best of both worlds!  Camping and comfort!

We drove out to West Yellowstone, Montana and checked in to Yellowstone Under Canvas...
We registered in these tipis and also had hot chocolate and drinks there..
Huge outdoor games for folks to play outside the registration tents...
Happy to be among tents and mountains...
A view of the camp from our tent...the building on the right is the bathhouse- equipped with individual bathrooms with showers and towels provided.
Our tent...
We were upgraded to a deluxe family tent- that means we had the big tent, and a tipi right beside it.  The big tent had a large bed, and the tipi had a couple of cots.  If we'd had another person with us, we would have let Berkley sleep in the tipi, but until he's older, we wanted him in our tent.  So, we just moved a cot into our big tent for the night.  The tipi was still a fun place to play, and first thing in the morning, he headed out there to read in the comfort of a warm sleeping bag.
The inside of our tent- 
This woodstove was so wonderful and kept us toasting throughout the chilly night
Inside the tipi...
Happy to wake up in the morning- in literally one of the warmest, most comfortable bed I've ever slept in.  I wish we'd had more nights to spend glamping!  What a great way to spend the night!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Old Faithful & Grand Prismatic

Naturally, no trip to Yellowstone is complete without a stop at Old Faithful.  On our last full day in the park we went to Old Faithful for one of its afternoon showings!

Luckily, we quickly found a spot along the really long, and really full benches.  We were shocked by how many people were gathered to watch the eruption.
Afterward, we grabbed a "Young Scientist" backpack from the Visitor's Center- a pack full of interesting tools to "rent" for 2 hours.  By far, the best part of that backpack was a hand-held laser thermometer.  We took it with us to the nearby mudpots & Grand Prismatic.  Berkley had a great time aiming the thermometer at various points to see just how hot the water was.  Folks would often gather around him to see the results!
Photos can't do this place justice- mostly because of the steam rising from Grand Prismatic, and the wind blowing it all around.  But, it was an absolutely gorgeous, fascinating spot.
Hands in the warm water...
We had reservations for dinner at the Old Faithful Inn.  It was a delicious buffett, and also a great chance to explore the old lodge.
Before dinner we grabbed drinks and sat on the porch just in time to see Old Faithful erupt again!
This boy loved the baked beans!
What a fascinating building and a fun evening together!