Monday, November 2, 2009

Family Camping Trip to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks - Day 1

The is the first of a series of posts about our family's summer trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. Check back often as I'll try to relate a new day's events and photos every couple of days until I finish the tale of our 2 week trip.

Before I get to the actual trip, a few comments. As crazy as it sounds, a couple of weeks before we headed west, we actually did a pre-packing run through. Between my wife and two daughters and I, we had four checked bags, four carry-ons and four personal backpacks, purses, bags that we could put under the plane seat that we could use to get all out clothes, large car-camping tent, Coleman cook stove, air mattresses, sleeping bags, my backpacking gear, camera equipment, etc. I think this was a very worthwhile experiment as it convinced me we could make it work. Here's what that looked like...

OK, enough preamble. Here we go....

Day 1: August 18, 2009

Flew from Norfolk, VA to Atlanta, GA to Salt Lake City, UT to Jackson, Wy.

Saved significant $$ by renting with Dollar and by taking the short shuttle ride from the airport in Jackson to pick up our car. We rented a mid-size SUV (cheaper than a minivan) and ended up getting a Toyota Highlander. It has a nice ride, but smaller than I expected.

We drove the car to the Albertson's grocery store in Jackson where we purchased a cooler, ice, food, propane for the stove, and other things it didn't make sense to pack or ship and loaded it all into the car. We were cramped to say the least.

We turned back north past the airport and entered the Grand Tetons. WOW !!!!
There wasn't that much snow in the mountains, but the Tetons were very impressive.

We saw our first wildlife - a coyote that was casing a couple of pronghorn antelope.

We stopped at the Moose Visitor Center and at the south park gate to purchase our $50annual pass for entry into the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone and made our way to the Colter Bay Tent Village.

We unpacked, loaded up the bear box, and Kathi made a quick meal of hot dogs and Mac-n-Cheese and then we hurried back south to the Jackson Lake Lodge for our celebratory huckleberry margarita. MMMM MMMMM Good! We snapped some pictures as the sun faded and we watched small herds of elk appear and disappear in the meadow below us.

We were too tired to wait for the full sunset so we make a beeline back to the tent cabin and climb into our sleeping bags - thank you Team Nixon! I doze, fading in and out of sleep, but in the middle of the night, hear coyotes calling, howling, at one another. It was not a dream!

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