Family Trip Out West Summer 2018

by - June 21, 2018

Be forewarned, I spent a week in the Tetons and Yellowstone national parks with my family, and there are several posts about this trip to come! There are over a thousand photos to sort through, so I  will do it one location and adventure at a time, which will help me relive the trip and remember some of the names of the spots we photographed. There is no way I will be able to recall the name over every mud pot or hot spring, but I plan on linking up some of the National Park Service pages so that maps and information are close at hand.

We booked our lodging back in the fall after my 4th grader went on an IMAX field trip to see National Parks Adventure, and we learned he had free national park access for the year. We also asked the grandparents to join us because we love them and wanted them to share this special trip with us. We were amazed that lodging in the park was nearly full so far ahead of the trip, so room availability partly dictated the week we traveled and the order we did things in. We spent one night in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho before we drove to the Tetons for two nights. We then spent four nights in Yellowstone. We celebrated my youngest son's birthday and Fathers Day at Old Faithful Inn, which was such a special experience. 

We averaged about 6 miles a day walking and hiking, which amazes me for how much time we spent driving and how much it rained. There were a couple planned hikes we weren't able to make, more on that later, but with the nature trails and boardwalks around geysers, we were filled to the brim on sights. We pushed our days to the limits and tried to get the very most out of the trip we could. By far the best nature viewing was in Roosevelt and Lamar Valley, so if I were to plan the trip all over, I would have tried to book lodging in Roosevelt rather than Canyon Village. No complaints though -- Canyon Village was recently renovated and the lodging was the nicest we had. Some of our favorite moments were completely unplanned, such as a random stop with a herd of cows by a lake in Idaho.

I had not flown in 10 years, and it was just as terrible as I remembered. Airports and the hassle of air travel are simply the worst. The boys loved it until one of our flights was delayed four hours, so most likely they fall in my camp now. The people watching was simply amazing. As we waiting for our flight home from Bozeman, I told Joe that you can learn so much from people's dress and posture and facial expressions. There's not a better chance to size them up than fresh off the runway. And if you know me, then you know how much this equally terrifies me as I couldn't take communion in church for a couple years simply because the anxiety of walking in front of people. Postpartum did a number on my nerves! 

Back to the trip though -  we survived. The kids did great. The grandparents did great. Joe and I did great. I'd personally love to go back for a summer season as a volunteer once the kids are grown. It is such a beautiful part of the country!

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