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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park

We were having a great time in Jackson Hole and exploring the area but we had yet to get Kaitlin into our new hiking backpack. We decided to take a group trip to Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park. There is a 7 mile loop that will take you around Jenny Lake (and to see many other sites) but we decided to take the shorter route since we had so many kids in tow. There is a ferry that crosses Jenny Lake and drops you off at the other side. It is a short hike (I think around half a mile) up to Hidden Falls which was our first stop of the day. It's a relatively easy hike and absolutely gorgeous, if not a bit touristy and crowded (especially in the summer). 

"Look at all that water!"

We took a break for lunch and some photos with the gang. Kaitlin was being such a good sport and loved the scenery (especially the water fall!) so we decided to press onward to Inspiration Point, about another mile up. We will never learn to "quit while we're ahead" in terms of pressing Kaitlin to the limit. She was a bit fussy on the way up and A LOT fussy on the way down. Fair enough, it was the middle of the day and temperatures were reaching 90*F. Regardless, I'm glad we did the extra bit of hiking as the views were spectacular! We couldn't have asked for better weather during our whole trip, what a treat!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Yellowstone National Park (Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic)

The next stop on our Jackson Hole adventure was to get out of Jackson Hole. We were about 50 miles south of Yellowstone so decided to take one day to drive up and see some of the sights. In reality you need at least three days to see a good clip of Yellowstone, but I'm pretty sure that you could spend two weeks there and still not see it all. We only had about 10 hours so we had to see as much as we could in that short amount of time. The drive up there itself was actually really beautiful. We essentially had to drive through Grand Teton National Park and past Jackson Lake to get to the entrance to Yellowstone. From the entrance it was another hours drive to our first official stop - Old Faithful.

We parked near the Old Faithful Inn so we had a wander through it on our way to Old Faithful. What a cool looking hotel! It was very dark and rustic on the inside and the wood work was just gorgeous. Next stop - Old Faithful herself. We had enough time to grab a quick lunch before making our way to the show. She decided to erupt about 10 minutes past the estimated time so we had plenty of time to get a great seat. As did the hundreds of other people that were there to see the show! If it doesn't look that impressive in the kind of wasn't. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that we went and that I had a chance to see it (bucket list - check!) but I expected something...more. That and we were standing down wind so we mostly just saw the mist coming off from the spray of water. We had gorgeous weather though and for that I am grateful.

Next stop on our Yellowstone Mini Tour was Grand Prismatic Spring. It is the largest geyser in the park and is also probably the most beautiful. It is about 250' x 300' and something like 160' deep! There is a boardwalk that covers most of the area which makes for a nice and easy stroll. Don't get caught near the steam for too long on a hot summer day though - talk about hot! This was easily one of the most fascinating and beautiful places I have ever been. I could have stayed for hours taking photos and wandering around. Alas, a hungry and tired baby called (loudly in my ear) and we were on our way back to Jackson Hole. Even though we didn't get to see that many sites and it was a lot of driving (6 hours total there and back) it was definitely worth the trek.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Last week we were on vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with a bunch of friends. I have one suggestion if you live far away from your friends - go on vacation with them. Pretty much guaranteed to have the best time ever. We love going home to visit with friends and family, but most of the time we are rushing around from place to place, trying to see as many people as possible. This vacation was a great way to see and catch up with good friends, and have a chance to make new memories! Not to mention Kaitlin had a blast watching all the other kids run around and play. She's a little slow to warm up to a lot of new people so she hung back a little bit at first. But by the end of the week she was right in there playing with everyone.

Since there were so many of us (six adults and four kids under the age of five) we decided to rent a house in Kelly, just outside of Jackson. A house way definitely the way to go - we had TONS of room and lots of space for everyone to spread out. Kaitlin even got her own room! We were a little far from town but it was really quiet and we didn't have to worry about disturbing anyone. I can't recommend this house enough, so if you are heading to Jackson with a big group of people I highly suggest you check it out

our view from the back deck
 The day after we all arrived we decided to check out the neighborhood. As I mentioned before the house is in Kelly and it borders the National Elk Refuge. The road creates a loop around the area so we decided to take the whole gang for a walk. We had primo views of the Teton Mountains, the Gros Ventre River and even some wildlife! The walk proved to be a little longer than we planned, but it was beautiful and enjoyable none the less. And a great way to catch up with friends that you haven't seen in over six months!

view from the front yard

"Hiiii everybody!!"

I loved the contrast of plains and mountains

I'll be sharing our adventures in Jackson Hole (and beyond!) over the next couple of weeks. Check back soon for the next update!