So, I am already a bit behind on our updates for those interested. I guess, ultimately, it is a good thing as we have been without internet service (except for phones) since we started out all together in Denver a week and a half ago! I have hijacked the wifi at Heather’s house in attempt to get back on track.
Th girls and I kicked off of the #2016summeroffun trip (as Brad has dubbed it) with a shuttle from DIA to the rental car area where our chariot awaited. Brad and the dogs successfully crossed many miles from NC to CO once again to allow for an easier launch from Denver. Many thanks to the Bloomers for feeding and housing Brad and the four-legged ladies, allowing them to meet up with us ready to roll!
We headed out on 70 and turned North to reach our destination just outside of Grand Lake Village, at the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. This was our first park in 2014 as well. Our campground specialized in campers with horses so there were many for us to ohh and ahh over. We took a beautiful drive along the portion of Trail Ridge Road that we missed last time. It is always breathtaking, in more than one way!
The first night in our campsite we saw two large male moose (from a safe distance) grazing in the pasture next to our campsite, they were huge! The morning of day two brought momma moose and her baby into the campsite…we definitely kept a safe distance from her!
Our second full day Brad and Virginia even went for a trail ride on “Jewel” and “Cowboy”, where they crossed the Colorado River on horseback! We also planned to rent a pontoon boat to take onto Grand Lake, but the weather had other plans. We decided instead to head out a day early and stop over in Steamboat. What a fun town! We had a great dinner and graced the Walmart parking lot with our shiny rig for the evening.
Friday morning we continued west towards Dinosaur National Monument, our next stop before finally getting to our second campground at Wasatch State Park in Park City, UT.
We are beginning our second full day in yellowstone, and heading west to old faithful this morning. The first afternoon was a trip to canyon and a hike to the brink of the lower falls. It really takes your breath away, especially climbing back up the 600ft rise in elevation in 3/8 of a mile!
Yesterday was a trip to Lamar valley early in the am to catch some wildlife viewing. Many, many bison were out and about but couldn’t spot a grizzly or wolves. Hoping that will happen at some point in the trip.
On our way to mammoth for lunch and to see the hot springs we happened upon a black bear chilling in a little valley. He was of moderate size and looked happy as a clam despite his audience.
Mammoth is a neat part of the park with the old Fort Yellowstone and we had lunch in “town” with elk grazing 50 ft away! Virginia and Kimberly picked up their Junior Ranger books and instructions at the visitors center. We walked the boardwalks at the lower terrace, stinky but really interesting!
After lunchtime it was on to Norris. We were hoping for a once Ina lifetime experience of seeing Steamboat Geyser erupt. No luck, but some activity so that was cool. It is the largest active geyser in the world, with eruptions from 4 days to 50 years apart!!
We were all dragging a little by this point so after the ranger program we headed back to camp. To our surprise we had a hail storm just after arriving back in the camper! Yellowstone is truly unpredictable!!
I will have to save photo uploading until we get some wifi, signal is hit or miss in park and I am relying on cell for uploading.
We will be here until Friday so we are hoping to see and do much more. Our first site with full hook ups has been a treat…running water as needed, hot water, and laundry facilities on site is a luxury!
We arrived at Grand Teton NP on Thursday around lunchtime and set up camp at the Gros Ventre Campground. The campsite is beautiful with the Tetons to the west and the Gros Ventre River to the East (within walking distance).
We decided to head to the multi-use trail for a bike ride as it was yet another gorgeous day. Initially thinking of the 8 mile (each way) trek from Moose to Jenny Lake, we settled on the 4.3 mile distance instead and I was ever so thankful of that! I pull a small trailer/carriage behind my bike for Kimberly…the attachment does’t fit Brad’s bike…hmmm.
It was by far the most scenic bike ride ever…we were right at the base of the Tetons in the Snake River Valley! We hiked a little around Jenny Lake and then biked back to the car. After the ride we headed into Jackson.
They have a “shoot out” every evening in town with local actors and black powder blanks. It was entertaining, but a bit much for Kimberly and too short for Virginia! Afterwards we headed to a local brewery (Snake River) for dinner, and as they put it…”put our river through your liver”.
We were supposed to head to Yellowstone today but decided to remain here for one more night. It is so beautiful (did I say that already?). Today we drove up to Jackson Lake accessing it at Colter Bay. We hiked to a picnic spot for lunch and tried to catch a fish for a while…no luck. This lake fishing thing is really not my strong suit ;-).
A grocery store run this afternoon topped off our activities before heading back to camp. We walked along the river looking for Molly the Moose, who apparently frequents the area.
So far our wildlife sightings have included Bison (Fred and George, as Virginia named them), more Pronghorn, and Elk.
Off to Yellowstone in the am…heading there takes the sting out of leaving such a lovely spot here in GTNP.
We arrived at our campsite (Moraine Campground) yesterday afternoon. The drive here from Pete and Donna’s was very interesting, there was so much flood damage from last fall. What an experience that must have been for the residents of these drainages…still so much to be done! As we drove down Hwy 7, with the front range in our windshield, we did what had to be done…we played John Denver’s Rocky Mtn High at full volume! A made quick stop at the Safeway in Estes Park, purchased our Annual Pass at the gate, and park the rig in site A024 before 5pm. The campsite is beautiful, picnic table and fire pit are being put to good use. We are all feeling the effects of the higher elevations, and have been trying to stay hydrated!
We had an early start today, even for us. With three of us still on east coast time, there was chatter before 5 am! We walked down to the ranger station at our campground a little before 8 and saw our first coyote! The ranger helped us plan some activities for the day and we were off.
The drive up to Sprague Lake was beautiful…we were scoping out wildlife for Virginia’s junior ranger book. The hike around the lake was spectacular, with 5 peaks over 12,000 ft as the backdrop. There were a few other visitors around, but the most memorable one was a moose, we named Lucy! She walked across the lake to where we were and spent some time eating aquatic plants/algae about 15 feet away!
After lunch we made a quick trip into town and then listened to a ranger talk on Big Horned Sheep…but didn’t see any today. Our wildlife scouting was successful, and Virginia was so dedicated in filling out her book, that she received her first Junior Ranger badge this afternoon!
We are planning to do some fishing in the morning, check out Bear Lake, and head across the park on Trail Pass.
More to come….!
So last year I took a trip to CO with my great friend Julie…as I stood next to Twin Lakes before crossing Independence Pass I was on the phone with Brad. I remember vividly telling him…it is so beautiful here, I need to bring you and the girls back next year! Amazingly enough, we are getting ready to do just that, along with a few other stops…and I couldn’t be more excited!
This site is for updates along the way. Just what I need, another website to keep up with, right?! Believe it or not, this is the easiest way for me to share our adventures with anyone interested! I have included a page on this blog with a pictoral representation of our airstream renovation as well, although many of you have already seen many of the photos.
So Brad left for Colorado on Wednesday before lunch and crossed the state line this morning…his traveling has gone well and I have enjoyed his descriptions of the route. He chose the most direct version, and understandably! It is a haul. He should be arriving at our friend’s house near Longmont around lunchtime. He has utilized truck stops along the way for parking at night, found a gym in St Louis to get some exercise, and has enjoyed the fully stocked kitchen/refrigerator I sent him off with!
The girls and I are headed to Denver via Southwest airlines Sunday morning and I can tell you it can’t get here soon enough! I know I have “straightened up” a thousand times…but with two girls running around this place it has been a complete waste of time. The final walk through will be all that I actually achieve! Most of our stuff left with the camper on Wednesday, so we are just bringing backpacks and Kimberly’s blends on the plane.
If all goes well, we will be in Rocky Mtn Nat’l Park tomorrow night…we’ll keep you posted!