Day 23

Wow! Another fun-filled, exciting day! Started out early. Again. I don’t think we’ve not set an alarm except for two or three days this whole trip! We had a couple hour drive to Grand Tetons.

We arrived, had a nice chat with a ranger and decided on the Jenny Lake hike and ferry ride. We hike the two miles around the lake, continued hiking to a gorgeous water fall, and then took a ferry back across the lake. I think Zak and the girls were still exhausted from Yosemite and the long drive this morning and they didn’t seem to have it in them to do much more. I happened to just love the beauty and serenity of Grand Tetons. We certainly didn’t spend enough time, but I hope it was enough for the rest to want to come back.

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We continued our drive through and out of Grand Teton and into Yellowstone. Our lack of long hike this morning left us with unexpected time this afternoon. We took advantage of it and checked Old Faithful off the list. I was last here in 1994 and remember being in awe of the geysers. I remember seeing Old Faithful and the boardwalk path around the area. I even remember being a grumpy teenager, annoyed with the heat and being with my family. But, I also remember thinking the geysers were really cool, but I was just too cool to admit it. Well, that memory was EXACTLY Ellie today!! At half the age I was when I was last here with my folks. I even pulled her aside and told her all about my flashback. I told her that I don’t care if she doesn’t want to admit she thinks sights are cool, but I want her to remember it for as long as she can. She pouted, stomped away, but I sure caught her staring in awe at more than one geyser.

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Lots of things were amazing about The Old Faithful area, but the part that was most interesting to me was the vast amounts of bear poop in the area. You can see some at the bottom the picture above. There was poop so darn close to the geysers. And it doesn’t make any sense to me. That is boiling water in most cases. Why would bears get so close? I’ll have to talk to a ranger about that one.

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We talked to another great ranger and planned the next three days here at Yellowstone. We have some amazing hikes, both long and short, planned. After checking into our hotel in West Yellowstone, we found a great place for dinner that had an amazing selection of local IPAs on tap. We treated the girls to promised ice cream and are all tucked in now.

I was thinking during the afternoon drive that I want the moments of today to be the ones I think back on during the stresses of the start of the school year, the chaos of the holiday season, and the dreariness of the long winter. The girls were a bit too tired. We were all a bit sore. But we laughed and laughed and laughed. Almost all day long. (Ask Zak to sing you his made up song about half naked hikers that thoroughly embarrassed us all when he performed in front of another group of hikers. His intention, in addition to humility, was to scare the bears.)

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