Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 20: And the greatest of these is...

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Lots of notable moments in the last few days (along with the usual multitude of ones I'd rather forget!). Crossed 4000 miles on this crazy journey of ours. Ticked off our 48th continental state today (Idaho) - all but Louisiana we've done together and with Abby. Saw our 51st license plate (New Mexico). Visited Yellowstone National Park. Three more days until we cross into California and call it a summer!

So yes, back to Yellowstone and our hobby of visiting national parks. We've wanted to do Yellowstone for years and have ended up missing it because it is in a lonely corner of Wyoming. Well, this was the year.

First, we actually stopped at a rest area inside of the little known Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Amazing views of the Badlands just off the interstate, hands down the best rest area EVER. We followed the Yellowstone River about 500 miles from there through Montana and into Yellowstone National Park, intrigued by the fact that Lewis and Clark took the same route a couple hundred years ago. (And we think it's hard to get here!) We only had a couple of days, but Yellowstone wasn't quite all we hoped. Cool thermal features, great scenery, but more built up and touristy than anything we've ever experienced, and chasing twins on boardwalks over scalding springs while dodging tourists sitting on the boardwalks to have their pictures taken kind of sucked. Not clamoring to go back any time too soon.

But then, the greatest of our mini national park tour was Grand Teton National Park today. It was just a morning drive and brief hike around a lake at the foot of Grand Teton itself, but somehow it was much more to our liking. No bustling villages and mammoth tour buses, just friendly rangers and hikers and a simply amazing backdrop.

It's surprising what you find on the journey sometimes, eh?

What's your favorite national or state park? (Not that we have another road trip planned anytime soon, but you know, sometimes it's good to keep a running list of ideas ;-).)