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July 2020, Janna, Brianna, Megan, and I flew to Salt Lake City where we rented a Dodge Caravan and drove to West Yellowstone. We spent 2½ exploring Yellowstone then we drove to Jackson Hole where we spent a couple of days before completing the circle back to Salt Lake City.
I picked Janna, Brianna, and Megan up at 3:30 am to go to the airport. It was a long day of traveling especially since we had to wear masks for about 10 straight hours. After we got to Salt Lake City, we spent some time walking around the Temple Square area.
We left Salt Lake City and drove 5 hours to West Yellowstone. It was a beautiful drive. We stopped for supplies and lunch at Idaho Falls. We ate at Smitty’s Steak and Pancakes. It was a good place to eat. I got their specialty, a German pancake. It was like a light, thin pancake with strawberries on top. It was very good and huge. After we ate, we stopped at the river and spent some time looking at the interesting falls and river walk. There are two levels to the river and at places there are falls dropping from the upper level to the lower.
When we got to West Yellowstone, we checked into the Stage Coach Inn. Rick had told me he and Laura had stayed here and had liked it. It is nice and very interesting with all the animals. We spent some time exploring the town before eating and going to bed.
Today I adjusted my view of what heaven may look like. Yellowstone is something else. We saw many geysers today, of course Old Faithful, and we visited the Grand Prismatic Spring. While at the latter, an eagle flew overhead in the cloudless blue sky. I was hoping to get a shot of it so I was very excited when I was able to snap several pictures that I am more than happy with. Yellowstone Lake was beautiful and the Hayden Valley was astounding. The waterfalls in the grand canyon of the Yellowstone were spectacular. We saw lots of elk and bison. It was a long day with a lot of walking (for me) but a very enjoyable day. I looked forward to being in the park again tomorrow.
We began the day by heading to Mammoth Springs. After exploring that area, we dropped down to Gardiner, Montana for lunch. On our way out, we saw some type of mountain goats on the hillside. Next, we headed to the Lamar Valley. On the way, a coyote came out in front of our vehicle and walked in front of us for quite a while. The traffic backed up behind me until the coyote got off the road. In Lamar Valley we saw large herds of buffalo. Then I did something quite stupid. I got out to take a pitcher of one of the herds and left the car in drive. It started coasting and Janna yelled the car is moving. I reached back in, got hold of the steering wheel, but my feet slid on the gravel and I was thrown to the ground. Janna jumped over to the driver’s side and got the car stopped but not before it ran over my left foot. It just so happened that a nurse from Indiana and a paramedic from Steubenville were at the same pullover. And, within two minutes a ranger came by and called for paramedics. As it turned out, I don’t think anything is broken but I am in a lot of pain from the many cuts on my knee and back of my leg. It seeped blood throughout the night and I am in a lot of pain when I try to bend my knee. We spent the night in a cabin at Yellowstone Lake.
We drove back up to the falls. Janna and the girls walked down near the bottom of the lower falls then I drove them to the brink of the upper falls. Janna loved the grand canyon of Yellowstone. I sat out these trips down the trails due to my knee. We drove back down the Hayden Valley as we left Yellowstone. If the canyon was my favorite part of Yellowstone, then Hayden Valley was a close second. Not just because there was wildlife there but I just thought it was the most beautiful section of this amazing park. On our drive to Jackson Hole, we saw lots of amazing scenery including the beautiful Teton Mountains. I stopped at a pharmacy and got gauze, tape, neosporin, and a wrap.
We got up early. A few months ago, Rick and Laura had suggested that if we took an early morning drive up Wilson-Moose road, we might see a Moose. We drove the road between 8-9 am but did not see any. We took a float trip down the Snake River (also recommended by the Walters’). It was a great experience. I think Janna was ready to go back and float the 10 miles all over again. The girls really liked it, too. We saw eagles but not much wildlife, but the scenery was perfect. Our navigator/guide said that July is hot for the animals and they stay in the woods until night.
From there we went to Jackson Square, the downtown area of Jackson. After we got some lunch, I sat in the park while the others visited several shops. After a late afternoon nap, we decided to do a late evening search for Moose. We really wanted to see one. I did a Google search of where to go for the best probability of seeing one. The overwhelming result was to go to Wilson-Moose road. So we went back up that road, which is in Teton National Park. We were getting rather discouraged as we got within 3 miles of the end of the road. Then we came to a bunch of cars parked on the road. Down over the bank was a moose, working hard at eating bushes. We sat there and watched her for several minutes and left happy that we saw a moose.
We drove from Jackson Hole back to downtown Salt Lake City where we spent our last night before flying out. For dinner we took a 20-minute journey to the east side of the city, out by Utah University, to a restaurant in a canyon called Ruth’s Diner. I got steak and shrimp and Janna had sesame chicken. Our meals were great and so was the atmosphere. The temperature was in the upper 80s but it was comfortable dining out on a patio since there was very low humidity. I was able to get an appointment with Dr. Brooks for first thing Wednesday morning.
We flew back from Salt Lake City with a stop at St. Louis. I got back to the house about 10:15 pm.
Piggy is a stuffed animal that has been with Megan almost her entire life. He is very precious to her. About an hour or two in the air, she realized she didn’t have him and most likely left him at the hotel. She was very upset. Janna called a few times back to the hotels in both SLC and Jackson but had no luck.
Other than that and me getting hurt in the Lamar Valley, it was a very great trip. We all really enjoyed our week and knew that we had seen things we never had before. We liked the places we stayed but our favorite were the two nights in West Yellowstone.
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