Our Vacation out West – Part Four

We had made it to Grand Teton National Park from the Moran Entrance, which was located around the Jackson Lake and Colter Bay areas. It was vastly different from Yellowstone and that mountain view instantly stole our hearts!

The views driving into the park was stunning! We took the Outer Loop of the 42 mile scenic loop around the park! We saved the Inner Loop for the second day of our trip.

If you’ve been following along, you knew this was coming… Hahaha

We stopped by the Colter Bay Visitor Center and perused the aisles, used the restrooms, took in the beautiful view and then headed on our way!

Jane took this picture of us… and I love it so much!

Then one of the big kids took one of us with Jane…

Then Jane showed off her photography skills a second time with a picture of us with Henry and Eliza. So good!

Love her!

We found Oxbow Bend and it immediately had my heart!

I never thought I’d feel the way I did at this spot! Everything was so pure and clean and magical!

At first I was just going to be the only one to jump out of the car and take a look. This location is just feet from the road, but after a few moments of breathing in the beauty alone, I went to the car and told everyone they needed to see this, too!

We kept driving and everywhere we looked was picturesque!

We stopped by the Cunningham Cabin. This consisted of a very easy walk and it was worth imagining what life was like for these lucky individuals who were able to take in these views on the daily!

Next, we headed over to the Snake River Overlook. The photographer, Ansel Adams, photographed this beautiful landscape and in fact, it was sent into space on the Voyager to depict what it is to live on earth.

We continued our journey on the loop and headed to Mormon Row! This barn took thirty years to build. This entire area is a dream.

After an incredibly productive day of exploration, we checked into our hotel at the Wyoming Inn in Jackson, Wyoming.

We were the only ones using the hot tub both nights we were there and the kids had a blast!

Robes for us girls! Eliza was eating this up!

The next morning we headed out SUPER early in order to get to Jenny Lake! This was THE only time we didn’t see traffic in downtown Jackson!

As for Jenny Lake, it was about a 40ish minute ride up to the Inner Loop and to Jenny Lake, itself. The parking lots fill early and fast, as does the line for the boat over to the mountains. Jon was stressing as we drove. We were really hoping our early morning efforts would be worth it.

We arrived nice and early and were able to choose a parking spot! WOOHOO! Jon was thrilled! We may have high-fived!

We made sure to use the restrooms, especially since on the other side of the lake, there are no bathrooms. The boat basically takes you over and drops you off in the mountains…no bathrooms, no trash cans… just people hiking trails.

This view! Perfection!

We basically just walked up, paid and got on a boat – arriving early was totally worth it!

Here we go!

We were told that if we were to come across a bear, to just let them walk by. Yikes! They explained that the bear are usually cinnamon colored in these part of the mountains… I made sure to know where my bear spray was!

We were dropped off and welp, we started to hike!

…no big deal, just a huge random tree along the trail!

The weather was gorgeous and the views were surreal!

People were around, but there were moments it was just us, especially since we had left on an early boat. I made sure to snap any pictures I could of those quiet moments.

Jane hiked this entire trail. I had run into some nice people at a hotel days before and they mentioned that this could be challenging for Jane, so I was prepared to stop, carry her, take our time, stop for snacks…anything really. But she pushed forward and never complained and her claim to fame is that she did it in velcro shoes!

This area was rocky and steep.

We had made it to Inspiration Point and the view was worth it! The kids did a fantastic job! Some hikers continued on into the mountains! How cool!

Henry told me to take this picture of him for his graduation party someday! LOL!

Look how far up we hiked! That’s a boat that brings everyone over! I’m happy the boat was coming in for scale.

Back down we went.

We were happy that we had arrived so early because there were a lot more people heading up as we were heading down.

A quick picture at the prettiest of waterfalls, appropriately named, Hidden Falls.

The kids touching the run-off water from Hidden Falls.

We continued our journey back to the boat. It was a lovely walk and a different loop from the way we hiked up, so there was more to see!

Jon and the kids walked ahead of Jane and myself…we were close enough to the boat launch so I wasn’t completely scared of wild life. This little four year old sure did have a great time being silly.

Upon our boat ride back to the other side of Jenny Lake, there was already a long line at the boat launch AND there were lines of cars out on the main loop due to lack of parking in the main parking lot! This place was no joke when then said to arrive early…and it was already this busy by around 10:30 a.m.!!!

We headed out as there was still so much we wanted to see…

We found and drove over to the popular Church of Transfiguration. It was absolutely stunning and it took my breath away upon walking inside.

I can’t explain the feeling I had walking in here…the simple structure, the woman praying, the view…

We left the breath-taking church and headed to look for some shirts/souvenirs…

Henry brought money and bought himself socks (we had already bought him a Yellowstone sweatshirt), the girls got some stuffies and Jon and I bought hats!

We also ate lunch at some picnic tables. We watched as jets flew overhead to land at the Jackson Airport.

We headed into the downtown of Jackson to finally go check it out!

The place was hopping! We headed into Cowboy Coffee Co. for some much needed caffeine!

The barista was a vibe.

There was just so much to take in and I quickly realized that I seriously needed to work on my cowgirl aesthetic! Haha!

We headed to get ice cream and there were three boys working, they must’ve all been 16 and under – it was so fun to see!

Henry getting some wet kisses from the littlest of sisters!

I loved these red chairs! I’m guessing they’re from Serena and Lily – normally I see blues and blacks, so red was a fun change!

We headed back to the hotel for a bit and just relaxed, I think we went for a quick swim, too! We then headed out to find food, but the lines were so long everywhere, so we decided to just eat at the rodeo and it was the best decision! Also, Jon had bought us tickets a couple of months before and good thing he did, because the rodeo was sold out!

This place was awesome! It was definitely run by a family and there were two little boys taking our orders – they were probably 10ish and 8ish years old. They were soooo smart and kind and their little accents were the best! They even yelled over to their Mom a few times and we just watched her prepare the food and smile. It was obvious she was super proud of those boys! Dad is seen here in the picture giving us our food! We loved EVERYTHING about it! Sometimes that change in plans, like not being able to eat at the restaurant we thought we wanted, turns into a new and better experience! We were soaking it all in!

We had quite a while to wait and eat…like over an hour, before the rodeo began, but it was nice because we had ample space to spread out and eat. After we were done eating, Jon took the kids one-by-one to pick out cowboy hats!

We also opted to sit up high and in the very back for back support. Haha! I’m all about back support!

My beautiful Eliza…

Watching the kids walk up the steps with their hats was so fun! They were so proud!

The rodeo was beginning and they took it very seriously! The crowd was fantastic, the announcer was a load of fun to listen to and we had the very best time!

At one point, all the kids 10 and under were asked to come out and participate in a sheep scramble. Jane was excited to join at first, but then she decided it was a little overwhelming for her and she came back to our seats. We were proud she at least tried though!

Reason number one she wasn’t into the sheep scramble! I mean, the girl had hiked a mountain earlier that day! LOL! It takes a lot for this girl to sleep like this, so she must’ve been utterly exhausted.

Jane woke up as the rodeo ended. We snapped a quick family photo and headed back to our room, which was only a mile or two away.

The next morning we headed out nice and early. We were heading back to Michigan. We originally were only going to drive 5 hours, but had decided the night before to get out of Wyoming and drive closer to 9 hours. There were some hiccups as we began our travels.

First, I thought I had lost an old phone that we had taken for Jane to use here and there for all the hours of driving – I had filled it with educational games. Anyhoo, we ended up stopping, driving back to the hotel, I took apart the entire room, filled a report and let’s just say…we were all a bit frustrated. Henry then came up to the room, because he had car sickness and ended up throwing up. Oy. After stopping for a few moments and thinking….and taking lots of deep breaths, I looked one more time in the car and the first place I looked, I found the phone. FACE. PALM.

He headed back on our journey and then Henry and Eliza both became sick……….again. Henry ended up throwing up while we were driving. We stopped at the most random store and the man running the store gave Jon sugar sticks and told him that they take care of the kids! It was so nice! We gave the kids more Dramamine, gave them their sugar sticks, made them drink pop and let them walk around outside for a bit. We also supplied them with garbage bags.

Never. A. Dull. Moment.

Jon and I eventually ended up talking to each other again somewhere in Nebraska. LOL!!

I took a picture to laugh about this someday…

This was when Henry was feeling MUCH better!

As we drove, we said goodbye to the hills and mountains, which stayed in view for quite a long time…

Somewhere in the middle of the country, we found a gas station and ate lunch. We were close to the Oregon Trail. Everything in this area had an ode to the Oregon Trail in it’s name. It was really cool to see the landscape and to be eating lunch with nothing around! This is funny, but this little stop and lunch in the middle of nowhere was a little highlight to me. I loved it!

We also drove through some pretty crazy storms. I had some moments of being scared while Jon drove and I was certain we were going to be swept up and away in a tornado!

We arrived at our hotel in Nebraska, we ate at Qdoba and this place was next to where we were parked! I wish we could’ve checked it out!

Jane’s outfit screamed, “I went on a trip out west…and it’s raining!” Bahahahaha!

The next morning we drove and drove and drove and made it to Illinois and ate, where else but, Cracker Barrel! The kids wore their hats inside and it was everything!

We made it home, to Michigan, around midnight! Phew! That was quite a ride home, but somehow Jon was a rockstar and drove the entire time – like all the way there and all the way back! The kids continued to wear their cowboys hats everywhere we went for the rest of the summer!!!

We had THE very best time on this fantastic adventure and I’m so incredibly grateful that we took this trip!

Thanks so much for stopping by and if you’ve followed along on this trip of ours, thanks so much!!!

Marie 🙂

I’m linking up with Hello Monday.

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  1. Oh wow; those mountain views are incredible! We find that the key to navigating the national parks is to arrive early– then we’re usually wrapping up our hike around lunch when everyone else is really starting to pile in. Other than the car sickness it sounds like a really wonderful trip.

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