I don't have any paper crafting projects to share with you today. I hope that's okay. Instead I have photos of what I've been doing with my family this past week. Yesterday I had a chance to get some of my photos off of our cameras and into my computer so I can share them with you. We are having the most wonderful family vacation! And we are only half-way into our "National Parks Road Trip 2017."
Today we will be in the car for several hours heading out of Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyoming so we can get to our next destination...Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. But for now I wanted to share with you what we've been doing and seeing so far.
June 10th - Saturday
We started an hour into our trip with Minnesota's Largest Candy Store in Jordan, MN. It was huge! And we had trouble deciding what to buy.
We then traveled to and toured the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, MN and also visited the dugout site on Plum Creek. This is where the Ingalls family lived around 1874.
June 11th - Sunday
How fun it was to see the land change as we entered and explored the Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
And of course we HAD to visit Wall Drug in Wall, SD. The boys purchased new fidget spinners.
One of the highlights of our trip was driving through Bear Country USA. They certainly amused us with their lazy loafing around.
Our second favorite place to stay so far was that evening at the Residence Inn by Marriott near Rapid City, SD. It had a full kitchen and a water park!
June 12th - Monday
Today we entered the Black Hills and visited Mount Rushmore National Monument.
We continued through the Black Hills to Custer State Park where we saw a lot of buffalo crossing the road along the way.
Needles Highway was gorgeous!
And though it was starting to rain, we also had a chance to see the beautiful Sylvan Lake as we left Custer State Park.
June 13th - Tuesday
Deadwood, SD was our first stop this day to see Mount Moriah Cemetery where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried.
Then we traveled to Devil's Tower. What an amazing landform! We hiked around the whole thing and definitely got our exercise in for the day.
On the way out we were humored by the inhabitants of Prairie Dog Town.
June 14th - Wednesday
We stayed in Kings Inn in Cody, WY Tuesday night through Wednesday morning. This was the boys' 3rd favorite place to stay, because it had a swimming pool and the lobby was filled with African wildlife.
This is the day we entered Yellowstone National Park!
We visited Old Faithful and got there right when it erupted! We also peeked into the Old Faithful Inn, one of Yellowstone's oldest hotels.
After that we saw the most amazing pools of super hot water. Here are Nick and Luke touring the Lower Geyser Basin with me while Dad had to sit in the car to wait for a parking spot. It was a popular place. Tim eventually parked and joined us. Thank goodness he was able to see these beautiful yet dangerous pools, springs & geysers. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip so far.
The Midway Geyser Basin (including the beautiful, colorful Grand Prismatic) was our next stop. WOW! So stunning! I wish the wind hadn't been blowing the steam our way. It was hard to get a good photo.
We drove the main loop around to Hayden Valley & stopped at the LeHardys Rapids where we saw the rangers doing a survey on Cut Throat Trout. What an educational experience for the boys! Plus we were lucky enough to hold them!
That night we stayed right in Yellowstone at Grant Village Lodge. This was one of Tim's favorite places...no TV, no internet, just peace and tranquility. The boys weren't that excited about the room, but they loved that there was a vending machine in the lobby.
In the late afternoon we walked down to Yellowstone Lake which was a small hike from our lodge where we found a dock that surrounded a single tree that appeared to be growing right out of the water. Instead it was on a raised mini island.
We had reservations at 7:15 PM and ate at their restaurant that evening. The boys did very well at this slightly fancier place.
June 15th - Thursday
Today we saw more hot springs and pools in the West Thumb Geyser Basin. Just amazing!
Nick is in love with my big fancy Canon camera. He took several of our photos with it already...
including this one of a female elk enjoying a drink at one of the pools in the West Thumb Geyser Basin.
We left Yellowstone that morning but captured several more photos of the beauty on the way out. This is another area overlooking the majestic Yellowstone Lake.
And here is a great photo Nick took of an elk with the fancy camera.
By early afternoon we entered Grand Teton National Park.
And in about an hour we were settled into our condo in Wilson, WY. Luke was surprised to find out that the bowls in the bathroom were actually sinks.
Because we could cook now, we shopped (at 3 separate grocery stores - LOL) for our meals for the coming days.
Yay! Our first home-cooked meal in a long time!
June 16th - Friday
These next couple days were very leisurely. We explored the Grand Teton area including the famous Jenny Lake & Signal Mountain Summit Drive. We saw a little wildlife and LOTS of beautiful landscapes.
June 17th - Saturday
On the second full day we explored more of the Grand Teton area including Antelope Flats & Mormon Row.
Below is a photo I took of the highest peak, Grand Teton (the one in the clouds).
We also spent the later afternoon walking around and exploring the beautiful city of Jackson, WY.
As recommended by a local, we stopped for a treat at Moo's Gourmet Ice Cream.
The Wilson, WY condo was our most favorite place to stay so far. We loved it because it felt like home. We had a full kitchen for storing our food and cooking meals and we caught up on a bit of laundry. We also watched 2 more movies in our Hobbit/Lord of the Rings series. Hahaha!
And now we are on the road for the second half of this wonderful vacation! Life is good.