Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Park ~ June 14, 2020

Sunday morning we headed out to check out another church called the Bridge church in Idaho Falls. It was a nice modernized church with a big kids’ ministry, and the kids were super excited to go to their classes. They were being very careful – taking temperatures and having everyone wash their hands, and the adults did no greeting/shaking hands, etc. A few people were wearing masks. We commented that all the social distancing observations made it challenging to welcome people (especially first timers like us) and we felt more at ease in the church last week. But – it was still nice to be in church with other believers and the kids really enjoyed their time all together. After church we headed north towards Grand Teton National Park to do some hiking.

We purchased the America the Beautiful pass at this park, since they were fully open and charging a fee. As things open up we figure that we might as well get the pass – we’ll use it a lot this summer and it’s good for a year! Idaho is super pretty, by the way, with all the rolling green mountains. We decided we still prefer our rocky mountains, but Idaho sure is easy on the eyes!

We made it to Grand Teton National Park and started driving through to get to String Lake. There’s a pretty easy loop around the lake that we decided to take, and it did not disappoint! We spent a couple of hours hiking, trying not to lose the kids, and teaching them about levers. Javi further cemented his status as a mountain goat, and we spotted a muskrat sunning itself on the rocks. Eventually we made our way back to the van, and drove north through the rest of the park, stopping a few times to take some stunner pictures.

We ate all the food we brought while we drove through the rest of Grand Teton. Then we drove briefly through the Rockefeller Memorial Wildlife Area, and then we were in Yellowstone! Entering through the south of Yellowstone is NOT the park’s best look – if it hadn’t been the same time to head through the park as to head back, we would have just turned around! We drove until we hit a big lake, and then turned off at a little sign for a geyser.

There was in fact a little geyser, but there was also a herd of female elk and their babies! We snapped a few pictures and then rushed back to the car since it was freezing! We were all hungry and tired, and pushed on to head to Old Faithful. Ironically, when we got to the parking lot, we spent a few minutes looking up when it might erupt, and apparently it was currently erupting! We got there right at the very tail end of the geyser, and then high tailed it back to the van! It was really cold and we were really hungry. We tried to stop at the general store but it was closed. Boo!

We hit the road and pulled off for a quick detour to get a picture of a big old bison hanging out by the road. We didn’t even notice the coyote at first! The coyote caught a rodent of some kind for dinner, and the bison was completely unconcerned. We stayed and watched for a while, and then the road we had taken was a one way, so we decided to see where it took us. Turns out, it goes past some pretty beautiful geysers! Everyone perked up and we got some really stunning pictures as the sun was setting. Then we made it back to the main road, only to run into yet another bison, this one much younger and almost black. We snapped some pics and then it walked past our car – I had the long lens which makes it feel closer, but still it was really close to us! At a certain point I gave up at taking pictures and just watched the massive bison walk past us.

Then we finally headed out of the park and hit the little tourist trap town right there at the border of Montana.

They had a McDonalds, so we ordered a little bit of food – and it was highway robbery! They didn’t do a particularly good job, and it still cost us a fortune. But it was good to get some food. Then we drove the last hour and half home and crashed in bed!

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