Friday, October 29, 2021

A Change of Scenery: Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone

This was quite a week! As I mentioned in my last post, after a year off, my sister and I resumed our annual sister trip and heading off to Jackson Hole. Actually, we stayed in Jackson, Wyoming. This was sister trip #9 and we both agreed it was our best one yet! We hit up 2 National Parks, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. With only a day to spend in each park, we nailed down an itinerary that allowed us to hit the main attractions. As always, we had a lot of fun, a lot of good food, and a lot of activity. 

Weekly Rundown

Sunday: Hike 6 miles in Grand Tetons National Park
Monday: Hike/sightseeing in Yellowstone National Park
Tuesday: rest/travel home
Wednesday: pool running
Thursday: strength training
Friday: 5.25 miles walk/run
Saturday: rest

Jackson, Wyoming

Our hotel, The Wort, was located in the heart of historic Jackson, Wyoming, which is located in Jackson Hole valley. Jackson is a really cute little Western town. After we checked in to our hotel, we walked around a bit. The town square has arches made out of elk antlers, so we stopped for a photo. I spotted the Roadhouse brewery and we stopped in to try some of the local brews. I had the Nuggie Fresh, a fresh hopped IPA and my sister had a Set Break, a Belgian Witbeer. Both were delicious. Throughout our stay there, we shopped and dined in the town. 

Grand Tetons National Park

From Jackson, it was a short drive to Grand Tetons National Park. The highlight of the parks is Jenny Lake. Since we were there in the off-season, all the facilities were closed. During the warmer months, there is a boat that takes visitors across the lake to the trail that leads up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. The trail also starts at the visitor center and we made the 3 mile trek around the lake to view the falls. It wasn't a difficult hike, but we were winded! Oh right, the altitude there is about 6700-7000 feet. 

Hidden Falls


The trail took us along the shores of Jenny Lake and it was just beautiful. Hidden Falls was such a treat--we would never have known there was a waterfall there! We climbed up to Inspiration Point, which gives an unobstructed view of Jenny Lake. We returned back the way we came and had lunch on the beach. We drove through the rest of the park to check out the other lakes. On the way we saw a grizzly bear in a field! Jackson Lake is a large body of water at the north end of the park. We were stunned to see much of it dried up and later found out this is due to severe drought. Climate change is real. I hope the lake recovers.

Jenny Lake

Yellowstone National Park

We woke up to rain the next morning, but that didn't stop us from our planned trip to Yellowstone! We drove through Grand Tetons again--the 2 parks are linked--and immediately upon entering Yellowstone noticed a major change in the topography. On our way to our first stop, Old Faithful, we climbed to about 8300 ft and crossed the Continental Divide 3 times! There was snow at that elevation, too. The drive took us along the Lewis River and we passed Lewis Falls on the way. It was just breathtaking! We were on a mission to catch Old Faithful doing it's thing, so we didn't stop for photos. Boo. We arrived at Old Faithful about 15 minutes before it was scheduled to erupt. There were about 100 people lining the area--one person told us that in the summer, there are about 15,000-20,000 every time it erupts. I can't imagine!

Old Faithful

Following that, we drove along the Upper Geyser Basin to view some of the geothermal pools and the Grand Prismatic Spring. Yellowstone sits on volcanic rock and there are plumes of steam and eruptions happening all over the park. We weren't expecting that! We also weren't expecting to see all the different colors in the geothermal pools. We made a couple of different stops to check them out. There are boardwalks to provide access to them. Since it was cold and windy when we were there, there was a lot of steam. The water in the pools is around 500F and the steam coming off of them actually felt good. 

Grand Prismatic Spring

Our next stop was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, which was spectacular. Again, I had no idea how amazing this would be. The waterfall is actually higher than the one at Niagara Falls. We were able to view it from several different spots. We hiked down a steep path to a viewing platform above the brink of the lower falls and I teared up when I took in everything around me. We spent quite a bit of time on both sides of the canyon before we drove back to Jackson. Our route took us along Yellowstone Lake. It was raining pretty hard by this point, so we didn't stop. 

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

As always, it's difficult to come back to reality after such an amazing getaway. Our only regret is that we didn't have more time at Yellowstone. We're already talking about our plans for next year! 

Cowboy Bar!

Coming up...

I'm heading up to Wisconsin on Saturday to watch my boy play rugby and also to wrap up the Mammoth Hike Challenge. 8 miles to go and a visit to one of the host towns--I got this! You know what else I've got? The GREEN LIGHT from my ortho to return to running. While the foot x-ray doesn't show any change in healing, since I'm having no pain, he thinks that the fracture is improving with a fibrous union. Yes, there is still a remote chance that I will need surgery in the future but for now, he cut me loose. Don't worry, I won't go crazy. The ankle is still stiff and will need time to loosen up. Pool running will continue and SJ continues to modify my training to accommodate the ankle. As always, I am grateful for what I CAN do. 

How was your week? Have you ever been to Yellowstone? Oh my goodness, it is amazing. What goals do you have for the fall?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown. 


44 comments :

  1. What a fun trip! So glad to see your sister is doing so well. I was out there for a wedding in the summer a few years ago and it is so beautiful. You all packed a bunch into a short time.

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    1. It was as if we just dipped our toes in the water. I HAVE to go back. There's so much more to see.

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  2. Oh, good news on your foot! I hope it is healing well. I was truly amazed by Yellowstone. I haven’t been to Grand Teton, but it looks like I should! So glad you got to spend time with your sister and that she is doing well.

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  3. Looks like such an amazing trip! I haven't been to any of these places. I'm so glad you can return to running- I hope it goes well!

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    1. It's going to be a long slow return. I have to work on ankle mobility. It is stiff!

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  4. An amazing trip in good company and in wonderful places. The landscapes are breathtaking.
    Glad about the news on your foot.
    Enjoy your son's rugby match.

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    1. I have SO many photos, but didn't want to bombard everyone with them. I think you can see how absolutely beautiful it is!

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  5. Your trip is literally my dream trip. I'm so sick of palm trees- I want to see mountains and waterfalls. It looks so, so incredibly beautiful. And it sounds like you went at the perfect time of year- one thing that always stops me from taking a trip like that in the summer is that I imagine it's pretty crowded. Seriously. I'm tagging along with you and your sister next time.
    Best news ever from the ortho!!! I agree that if there's no pain, running isn't going to cause any harm. That's exciting. And I'm assuming you completed your Mammoth Hike challenge today- congratulations on that!

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    1. I did! I'm going to recap that whole adventure in a separate post. I swear, it prepared me for the trip out west. You are welcome to join us any time! <3

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  6. What a great trip! We've never been, but it's been on the bucket list for awhile. Good news on the green light for running ;-)

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  7. Yes i've been there and loved it!! Your pics make me want to go back.

    Glad to hear that you can run again.

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  8. What A Special Location For Two Loving Sisters - That Saddle Bar Says It All - So Pleased For Ya & Continue To Seek The Best Possible Outcome

    Cheers

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    1. It was just an amazing trip! We couldn't believe how beautiful everything was.

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  9. We love national parks! I had actually thought about a race at one of the parks, forget which one, but COVID. Another time, hopefully. Thanks so much for sharing them with us, Wendy!

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  10. I would say "stunning" but that doesn't even do the photos justice! It looks absolutely incredible there and what an amazing place for a sister trip.

    Also so happy that you got the green light to start running again!

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    1. I need to get the hubs out there, but he's not as adventurous as my sister!

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  11. What a wonderful sister trip! Your pics are just breathtaking. It's been years since I've been to Yellowstone. Glad your sister is doing so well!

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    1. It was our best sister trip so far! How can we top this one?

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  12. What a wonderful trip with your sister! I have only been to Yellowstone in the off season and can't imagine it with those crowds! All the waterfalls and thermo-activity is really neat to see. Thanks for sharing your trip with us! And great news on the return to running.

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  13. Wow, your photos are amazing, Wendy! I just googled Yellowstone to see where exactly it's located. I really need to go there one day.
    I had no idea that the Old Faithful erupted on a schedule - I thought it was doing its thing all the time. Great that you didn't have so many crowds!
    Did you do the whole trip by car? Or did you fly there and hire a car?

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    1. Thanks Catrina! We flew to Jackson Wyoming. There's a tiny airport there. We rented an SUV in town. You could also fly to Bozeman Montana. Yosemite is so big that we only saw a portion of it. I'd recommend at least 3-4 days. There are lodges that you can stay at, but they are only open June-September, which is, of course, the most crowded time to go. We loved that there weren't very many people there. We were able to see everything up close and didn't have to deal with a lot of people. If you don't mind cooler weather, this is the way to see it! I want to go back and see the rest of the park.

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    2. Oh, and if you feel really ambitious, you could also add Glacier National Park to your itinerary! I mean, why not?

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  14. Yes! Off-season would definitely be a smart time to see Yellowstone. Thanks for that!
    And I just googled Glacier National Park... Amazing! Thanks, Wendy!

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  15. Wonderful pictures and great sister time, too! Hooray!

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  16. We did go to Yellowstone in the summer but there certainly weren't thousands of people waiting to see Old Faithful! Maybe we were early in the season or something. I liked Grand Teton more than Yellowstone, but both were amazing. Looks like a great trip! I've probably mentioned this before, but check out Gypsy tours next time you go to a national park. It's a great audio tour app. I've bought 13 of their tours now. My family loves the tours.

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    1. You're the second person who's told me they liked Grand Tetons better than Yellowstone! I liked them both, a lot. But Yellowstone is like a science experiment! Thank you for the heads up on the audio tours. I will definitely keep those in mind for our next trip.

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  17. What an incredible adventure! I'm so glad you had the chance to do this, and I am so grateful you shared it with us! I absolutely love all your pictures, and I hope to get to visit for myself one day.

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    1. I really want to go back and see the rest of Yellowstone! One day was definitely not enough, but it gave us a taste and I want more.

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  18. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip with your sister. We went to both the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone for our honeymoon, and then when we were in Utah for grad school, Jackson was an easy day trip. I hadn't been back since we moved away in 1983 until 2018 when we returned so I could run the Grand Teton Half. I was really worried about the altitude affecting my race, but it wasn't too bad (we live at 250 feet).

    That's great news about being released to run again!

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    1. What a fun place to honeymoon! My hubs and I honeymooned in Big Sur, so I can relate to a non-traditional honeymoon in a beautiful place.

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  19. Yellowstone remains one of my favorite vacations of all time, and I've been to New Zealand and Europe a bunch of times, so it's not like I haven't been anywhere. Simply indescribable. And all the wildlife!!

    And I think we were at that same saddle bar! :)

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    1. I'm sure you were, the Cowboy Bar is famous!!! I'm still stunned by the beauty we saw in Yellowstone. It was truly amazing.

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  20. What a great trip! Jackson Hole and Yellowstone are on my "must visit" list. So glad you and your sister were able to get away!

    And, yay for getting the green light to run again :)

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  21. Whoa! I need to put Yellowstone on my list. I want to see the Grand Tetons as well. When I did Wyoming it was only the eastern part of the state, and I know the western half is just magnificent. So glad you were able to make this trip

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    1. You definitely need to make this trip! I need to go back. There's so much to see and we barely made a dent.

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