Wyoming Adventure

“Keep close to nature’s heart….climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” ~John Muir

When the hubs and I married five years ago, we decided that each year we would vacation somewhere new. The destination we choose must be either a place neither of us have ever been or a place that the two of us have not seen together. The only exception to this rule is New York City. We love the energy and excitement of the city too much to not visit multiple times!

In a mere five years, we have visited Paris (France), Charleston SC, Rome (Italy), Positano(Italy), Venice(Italy), New York City, Colorado Springs CO, Key West FL, Boston MA and we loved them all! We absolutely love immersing ourselves in the culture of each city and country we visit and appreciate the diversity that each have to offer. Last summer we put on our ‘patriotic hats’ and visited the beautifully historic city of Boston for their famous 4th of July celebration. What an incredible experience that was! So when we began discussing this year’s trip, we thought it only fitting that we should put on our ‘cowboy hats’ and head out West for some fresh air and mountain life. We settled on Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Grand Tetons and a day trip to Yellowstone National Park.

If you’ve never visited the Grand Tetons, I highly recommend it. Often times, playing second fiddle to Yellowstone, they are more beautiful and less crowded giving one the opportunity to ‘slow down’ and get a real sense of what everyday life is like in this quaint little town. Unlike some of our European and big city vacations, I felt as if we were able to do everything we wanted, leaving no ‘stones unturned’, without breaking the bank. There is so much to see and do which does not require a great deal of money. Obviously, airfare and lodging are the biggest expenses of any trip; but beyond that, our Wyoming vacation was relatively inexpensive and the memories are priceless!

There are many places to stay in Jackson Hole but my personal opinion is that the Fireside Resort is perfect! You are treated to your own private, yet modern, cabin with all the modern amenities of a hotel; including a microwave, stove, coffee pot and fully stocked with cookware. Each cabin has a fire pit outside for camp fires and s’mores, a bundle of wood, picnic table and gas grill. This is perfect for active people on the go! We stocked up on groceries for breakfast, picnic lunches and dinner for a couple of nights. Only having to eat out a handful of times saved quite a bit of money.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

However, the best amenity they have to offer is their Jeep rentals. You can book one through the resort for your entire stay or just a day, whichever you prefer. Honestly, I think my pictures will prove that there is no other way to truly see this countryside other than in a Jeep!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First up on the agenda was a beautiful trail ride. AOK Corral, Ike and Pendleton treated us to a great ride with breathtaking views! Just a side note here…according to some research, one can burn, on average, 400-500 calories on an hour long trail ride. Added bonus!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Knowing that we were only giving Yellowstone one day of our trip, we decided to go ahead and tackle it next. While it is next to impossible to truly explore this vast park in one day, we gave it our best shot! The Grand Loop alone is 142 miles and we covered 3/4 of it. Even though we were visiting just before the busy season (Memorial Day), the tour buses were everywhere making some of our stops more lengthy than necessary. I can’t imagine what it must be like in June, July and August!

Wanting to get in as much hiking as possible, we decided to hike the 1.5 mile loop to Observation Point for a “Bird’s Eye” viewing of Old Faithful …and it was much more intimate and peaceful than sitting on a bench with hundreds of other people snapping pictures and videotaping this incredible event.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In addition to Old Faithful, the Gran Prismatic Springs, Upper and Lower Falls, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the wildlife spotted along the way were just highlights of our day in Yellowstone!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With Yellowstone accomplished, the remainder of our trip would be spent in Jackson Hole exploring the town and hiking as many trails as possible. After approximately 16 miles of hiking and one short little “snow storm”, we had only “tipped the iceberg” of trail exploration. Our favorites were the Jenny Lake Trail and Cascade Canyon leading to Inspiration Point, Granite Canyon Trail, Taggart Lake Trail and Moose Pond. Many trails were still closed due to bear activity and the amount of snow still covering the peaks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were fortunate to be vacationing while the 2016 Elk Fest was being held. Each year, an average of 6,000 to 9,000 pounds of Elk antlers are auctioned by the Boys Scouts with 75% of the proceeds going back to the National Elk Refuge of Jackson HoleThis is a must see if you are visiting in May!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is nothing more incredible than to see wild animals in their natural habitat and Wyoming is a great place to witness this. Elk, marmot, osprey, deer, moose, bison, bears and even a bald eagle were spotted during our trip!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The highlight of our trip, without a doubt, had to be stumbling upon an old abandoned dude ranch, Bar BC Dude Ranchfrom the 1900’s. It is nestled alongside the Snake river and can only be accessed by four-wheeled drive (another reason you should rent a jeep during your stay). On any other day, this would have been just another historical site; but this day was special! It was our last day in Wyoming and I was pretty disappointed that we had not yet seen a moose. Upon awaking that morning, my adorable husband told me to get up and get dressed because he was going to “put me on a moose”! We drove to the information center for the Grand Teton NP where my husband explained to one of the park rangers that it was our last day and his wife NEEDED to see a moose. The ranger explained that they are often times seen near water and recommended we drive along the Snake River. About two miles in to this narrow, rocky and bumpy road meandering alongside the river, we spotted the dude ranch and decided to explore it. While walking around the fairly remote and abandoned buildings, my husband stopped and whispered in my ear “turn around”. Upon doing so, I was absolutely stunned, shocked, amazed and in awe of what I saw! Maybe fifty yards away, standing in the wide open, looking directly at us, was a Moose! She was beautiful, magnificent and HUGE. My husband kept whispering in my ear “take a picture”, yet I was frozen. I couldn’t move. I just stared at her while she stared at us. When I finally got over the shock of just how close we actually were to this creature, I reached down for my camera and with two short steps she was gone. In the blink of an eye, she disappeared into the brush and I was furious that I hadn’t gotten a picture. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me when my daring husband took off into the brush to find her; and after a few moments of deliberation on whether or not that was a good idea, I followed him. We kept a safe distance, giving her enough space to not feel threatened, snapped a few photos and promptly left her to the quiet oasis she called home on the banks of the Snake River.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As we boarded our plane early the next morning; I was, once again, struck by the pure beauty of this place. Our trip to Wyoming stirred within in me a new desire ….one that I honestly have never felt before. Upon returning home and getting back into the routine of the life I’ve always known, I assumed this “stirring” would dissipate. However; much to my surprise, it has only grown stronger. What is this “stirring”? It is a desire for a much simpler life; one where the air breathed is pristine, crystal clear water flows freely from the mountaintops, magnificent creatures roam free and the view while driving to and from work look like something from an Ansel Adams gallery. It’s a dream, I know …but dreams have been known to come true.

 

 

Happy traveling,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one incredible vacation at a time!

 

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Wyoming Adventure

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s