In continuing our bucket list to hit up all the National Parks, we spent a week in July traveling to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National Park. I grew up visiting Yellowstone and the Tetons, but Adam and I decided that if we didn’t visit it together then we can’t cross it off our NPS map 🙂
Lucky for us, we stopped and stayed a night with my mom in Rexburg to break up the long drive up to Montana. We tried not to drive more than 4 hours in one day, so we also spent another night at a random campground in between Rexburg and GNP. We had our little Pilot completely loaded up, so we left Kaleo with my mom for the week. The boys loved having their bikes!
Since I tend to be a “planner” I really wanted to have reservations at a campground. But it was also the week over the Fourth of July, and we were not expecting Adam to have vacation time off, so this trip was planned pretty last minute. We were able to make reservations for one night, and then crossed our fingers we would be able to find a spot the next morning. Our first night in GNP was pretty epic, according to the kids’ standards. Not only did they jump into a freezing cold lake, but we made friends with the family right next to us.
I will never forget the family we met that night. They told us about this 4 month long trip they had been planning for over a year now. They bought a brand new trailer to pull behind their brand new truck for this trip. They had taken the trailer out for a few test runs, but the day they left to officially start their summer trip, something went wrong with the hitch and it was careening out of control behind them as they set out on the freeway. Needless to say, they would not be taking that trailer with them on their trip. BUT STILL THEY LEFT. They rerouted. They went with the flow. They stuck to what they said they were going to do and they made the most of it. That night the husband built shelves inside of a tiny covered trailer (like, an enclosed cargo trailer, not a you-can-live-in-it trailer). They traded in a comfortable, warm and safe, lying in our beds vacation for a tenting it vacation. And still they went. Oh I just love their dedication and courage so much!! What an awesome lesson they are teaching their kids!
The next day we took the Going to the Sun Road. It was gorgeous!! One thing we didn’t anticipate while we planned out this trip, was how much driving we would do once we were actually inside the park! This added a lot of time in the car.
Since we wanted to see as much of the park as we could, we decided to camp in a different area of the park than we had the first night. We drove to Many Glacier, St. Mary’s, and finally ended in Two Medicine. Two Medicine campground was a less popular destination and so we had a better chance of getting a spot there. We ended up LOVING this campground so much more than the previous place.
On the way to Many Glacier:
Our Two Medicine campground:
The next day we rented a little rowboat and took it out on Two Medicine Lake. It was so peaceful and the perfect end to our Glacier visit!
Next up, we drove through Yellowstone. We attempted to stop in and see Old Faithful but the LIIIINE!! The line just to park was so long that we spent 20 minutes driving into the parking lot and then deciding not to…..Yellowstone is close enough to my mom’s house that we have already been through it several times and I am sure we will be through there again!
On our way down from GNP, we stayed one night in Helena, Montana. That night we decided to stay in a hotel just to break things up a little bit. That night – the one night we were in a building and not camping on the ground – there was a huge earthquake that woke Adam and I up. I was so confused about what was going on. It was such a strange feeling, but luckily it wasn’t a large enough earthquake to cause any damage.
Our last stop for this trip was the Grand Teton National Park. Living in Idaho as a teenager meant lots of day trips to Jackson Hole, but it wasn’t often we got to see the other side of the mountains. My mom, Michael, Grams, and of course Kaleo and the rest of the dog crew met us at our campground in GTNP. The next morning Adam and I woke up before sunrise to get a picture of the mountains before the daytime sunshine made them too hazy. During the day we went to Jenny Lake, rode the boat to the other side, and hiked up to Inspiration Point.
Here is our epic sunrise photo! This is actually a compilation of several images stitched together in Photoshop. It was well worth the early wake up call!!