National Parks

Wow, I really need to be better about consistently writing. This summer was an absolute whirlwind, and it’s not looking like things will be slowing down anytime soon. On top of starting my senior year (!!) of college and a global pandemic, I spent last week at my roommate’s home in Lafayette, LA. This wouldn’t normally be anything noteworthy, but this meant that we had moved ourselves further into the path of hurricane Laura. Needless to say, I’ve been especially stressed lately. So, I want to take some time to revisit one of my favorite parts of the summer; our national park trip over the 4th of July!

We took this trip because we needed some form of travel, but obviously the options were limited. My mom, her boyfriend, his daughter, and my sisters started the trip slightly before my brother-in-law and I were able to join. I’m still jealous that they got to add another National Park to the trip, but I digress. While they explored Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Danny (my brother-in-law) and I stayed home for one more day of work before driving out to meet them. We made a pit stop in Beach, ND for the night, visiting Danny’s parents and his hometown, before continuing on to the main event: Yellowstone!

Our first day at Yellowstone included the 9 hour drive from Beach, so we kept it a little more relaxed. Along the way, we stopped in Red Lodge, MT for lunch and a little bit of shopping. It was odd, because I finally turned 21 over the summer, so I was able to sample some of the ~fancy~ ciders that they had to offer with our lunch. After eating, we drove through Bear Tooth Pass, where we stopped to pet some chipmunks who were not afraid of humans at all. Gracie ended up catching one–you’ll notice his look of confusion in the picture below. We entered the park through the north entrance and made our way through Lamar Valley. It was pretty spectacular to see all of the wildlife here. Next up were the Mammoth Hot Springs. It was almost surreal to feel the heat radiating off of these natural pools, and we had to keep reminding Gracie that touching the water would be a bad idea.

Our second day in the park began at the Grand Prismatic Spring. This is the hot spring that you see on all of the photos; it was breathtaking to see it in person. We explored these vibrant pools for a while before deciding to take a hike to Fairy Falls. The hike was a few miles, but the view of this 200ft waterfall was so worth it. Our last stop was at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Upper Falls. We also drove by Lake Yellowstone, but I was asleep during that part of the car ride, so I missed it (oops). We spent the night relaxing in an Airbnb to rest up before our next full day.

We started our day by heading to Old Faithful. It wouldn’t be a Yellowstone trip without seeing this iconic geyser, but if we’re being honest I found it to be just a little bit overrated. Once we wrapped up our time in Yellowstone, we made our way down to Grand Teton National Park, which I personally found to be more enjoyable than Yellowstone. It helped that I could laugh about the fact that “grand teton” means “large nipple” in French. One of the first things we saw upon entering the park was a grizzly bear eating an elk on the side of the road. Again, it was surreal to see wildlife so close, especially in such a vulnerable position. The rest of our day was spent exploring the park, providing some of the best views I’ve ever seen. After leaving the park, we got dinner in Jackson Hole and shopped for some souvenirs before heading to our next Airbnb to rest up before our last full day of the trip

Our last day in Grand Teton was spent hiking practically the whole time. First, we took a boat across Jenny Lake, hiked up past Hidden Falls, and up to Inspiration Point. The views were breathtaking, and the hike itself wasn’t too difficult, so I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting the park! Our next hike was called “Taggert Trail Loop”, and brought us through the hills to a gorgeous lake. This trail was a bit more difficult, but I would recommend it if you’re looking for a slightly longer hike. Once we finished our hike, we made our way back to Jackson Hole for our Fourth of July celebration. It was really cool to watch the fireworks in the mountains.

The next morning we set off for our 16 hour drives back to Fargo and Truman. It was an exhausting trip, but it was so much fun. I can’t wait for the opportunity to explore more National Parks!

Stay tuned for more updates,

xoxo, second sister suzie

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