This post is basically my holiday photos but we had such a lovely time in Utah, Idaho, a snippet of Montana and Wyoming last week that I really wanted to share some pics with you. Please feel free to come back later in the week if that’s not your thing!!!
So we’ve spent the last 8 days driving about 1200 miles around four states, visiting four national parks. It was a lot of driving and I wondered at one point if we should have cut out a few national parks and spent longer in each. I think we SHOULD have spent longer in each, but I don’t know which we would cut out and I’m really glad we saw them all.
We flew into Salt Lake City and spent the night there. It is the weirdest city. Loads of space, super-wide roads, no people. Empty. It may have been that it was July 4th and they were all partying it up at home, but SLC was empty. We popped into Temple Square to see the impressive Mormon Temple and got out of town!
Having stopped to play mini-golf, laser-tag and ride the bumper-boats (aka, Dude things) we drove up into Idaho for hours. Idaho is green, beautiful and also empty but in a good way. We spent the night in a motel made up of cabins for fishermen before popping to Henry Lake the next morning. I’d read that you could kayak there, which was our plan, but there are no tourist facilities there, you have to bring your own kayak, so we drove on.
The most spectacular rainbow we’ve ever seen. This does have a filter but you get the point…
Sunset in the vast emptiness of Idaho
We popped in and out of Montana and into Wyoming where we spent a night and two half-days in Yellowstone National Park. We’ve always wanted to go here and it didn’t disappoint. Bison, elk, grizzly bear cubs, thermal pools and Old Faithful. Spectacular.
Old Faithful faithfully doing its thing
Heading south, we drove through Grand Teton National Park. This was my favourite park even though we really just drove through and didn’t do anything there. I love mountains and this place reminded me of the Swiss Alps and made me very happy.
We headed further south through the vast emptiness that is Wyoming. The scale of America never fails to astonish me. We drove for HOURS and saw nothing but the odd small town. We (I) drove through the most terrifying thunder-storm I’ve ever seen in my life and was very relieved to rock up in Park City, back near SLC.
The Green River under a black sky
Park City is pretty amazing. We stayed with friends who own the most incredible house I’ve ever seen. They took us to Deer Valley, where there was a live band that night so we sat on the field, had a picnic, listened to music, drank wine and watched the Dude do hill-repeats up the slope. He didn’t feel the altitude. We both loved Park City, we could live there.
Free music in Deer Valley
When I am grown up, I too will have a house like this
Five hours of driving south and we were at Bryce Canyon National Park. We stayed just outside in the tiny town of Tropic but the next morning we hiked at Mossy Cave and then drove into the park. It gets up to 9,000 ft which is HIGH. We hiked a little trail at the very top but the Dude was feeling the altitude now so we had to cancel our planned afternoon hike down into the park. Bryce is a really nice size, very manageable, and the hoodoos, stretching out into the distance, are really unlike nothing I’ve ever seen before. Pretty magical.
Little cabin, big storm
Impossible for one picture to capture the craziness of this place
Our final park was Zion. Zion is basically a canyon with incredible, giant red walls that take your breath away. Driving in was spectacular and the next day, we did a lovely 3 mile hike up to Emerald Pools. The Dude was in his element, hiking super-fast and jumping off rocks just like Kilian in Unbreakable. He loved this hike – we all did. Zion’s really beautiful.
The little hole is a ‘window’ in a mile-long tunnel cut through the cliff
From Zion, we drove up to suburban Provo and then flew home.
Things that struck me about this trip.
- Utah is beautiful but the people aren’t particularly friendly. Polite, courteous but not warm exactly.
- Mormon girls are REALLY pretty and always look really nice.
- Altitude is tough. I ran once, in Teton Village (at about 6,300) and every inch of those 3 miles was brutal.
- Park City. Please can I live there.
- Yellowstone was the closest I’ve ever been to being on safari and it was incredible.
- It would be nice to come back and do this again when the Dude is bigger. We had to pass up a number of amazing-looking hikes which were just to precarious for our favourite little man.
- When travelling with kids, youth hostels rock. After a long drive, the Dude loved the night we spent in a hostel with table-football, snooker (snooper, as he calls it) and other games. I’m going to try that strategy on other trips.
- Taxidermy is BIG there. I saw so many stuffed elk, deer, bears and three mountain-lions! One taxidermied mountain lion was like a rug with a head, stuck on a wall. It looked like a flying fox. I was really sad for it – this fearsome nightmare of trail runners reduced to a flying fox.
- We saw NO cats on this trip. Usually, we find cats to stroke pretty much everywhere but we saw no cats! Hmmm.
All in all, it was brilliant. I’m not sure what it’s done to my fitness levels but it was brilliant and I’m so glad we went!