The Trip That Keeps On Giving

July 11, 2023

Where do I even start?!? We arrived in Wyoming and it has far surpassed anything I even imagined! The kids have all voted that it is their favorite state so far. Greg and I are on the fence between Utah and Wyoming but we both agreed that we would come back to both.

We rolled into Jackson Hole around dinner time and it was bustling. The town is so cool, it looks like an old western town with horse drawn carriages, cowboy boots, hats, and every one had belt buckles on. The town square of Jackson is surrounded by real elk antler arches! We had dinner at a great brewery and then got ice cream at the infamous drug store in town. I had to get the cowboy coffee ice cream and it was a hit!

We then entered the wonderful Great Teton Park at golden hour and had our eyes peeled for any wildlife. We pulled into the most amazing overlook to watch the sunset over the Tetons and fell in love immediately with the state of Wyoming. We continued on to find the Jackson Lake Lodge where we would be staying in a cabin for the next three nights.

We got to our cabin and sadly were greeted with a suspicious pile of sawdust in the rafters and some that had fallen on the bed and floor. I was not ok with this and Greg thought at first it was just the insulation from the attic buuuut we then listened a little louder and could hear ants scratching in the walls. Maggie was beside herself at this point and was clutching her worry dolls, her stuffed animals and begging to go back to the RV. We called the office and they were able to switch our rooms so at 11pm we finally settled in and got everyone to bed which was a fiasco considering someone had to sleep on the uncomfortable roll away bed and no one was willing. Many tears and fights later we all decided we would rotate a kid every night.

We woke up that morning and went to a wonderful buffet breakfast on the lodge for the problem with the room the night before. It might have been the first breakfast buffet for our kids and it was delicious. Hot cocoa, Belgian waffles, and danishes aplenty all with the most amazing view of the Tetons.

The kids decided that they needed to get their gills wet before the day started and heard there was a “heated” pool. They changed and rushed off only to find that “heated” for Wyoming is not quite warm enough for Maggie and Eric. I couldn’t stand being stuck at a pool in the amazing wilderness of Wyoming so I made everyone get dressed again and head down to Colter Bay Beach and see if we wanted to hike and/or paddle board. Colter Bay was beautiful but every hike we started had signs posted saying lots of bear activity of Moms and cubs so please be aware and carry bear spray. Not wanting to risk anything we just went back to the beach and dipped our toes in the freezing water and skipped rocks.

We had saved a big adventure for the afternoon of that day and boy was it an adventure!! I had advance purchased tickets for the tram down in Teton Village. The tram took us 4000 feet up in elevation in 12 minutes. It was so neat! The temperature at the bottom was 70 and at the top it was 54 and very breezy!!! We were above the snow at 10,000+feet and quickly donned sweatshirts. There was a really neat cafe at the Summit that served unique waffles and we figured when at the Summit you must indulge. Eric and I had the traditional butter and syrup, Greg and Maggie the peanut butter and bacon and Addy the Nutella. It was such a fun treat. Greg and Eric insisted on touching snow so they hiked down the summit a little, made a snowball, and tried very hard to run it back to us. The air was so thin and the incline so steep it was really hard to watch them struggle but they were successful and we all got to touch snow in July!

We then wandered around the very cool Teton Village and hopped on another gondola above a ski run. We had such a great time with just the 5 of us chatting as we ascended the mountain that I forgot to look down and freak out about how high we were. In the summer the resort turns into a mountain biking town and the runs are incredible. Eric and Greg were dying watching them. I loved the ride up the mountain and Addy said she would ride a gondola anywhere anytime. There was a great restaurant at the top of that mountain so Greg and I grabbed a drink, gave Maggie our phone, let Eric wander, and had the coolest chat with Addy. Its moments like that that really make being a parent so sweet.

We didn’t think anything could top the fun we had at Teton Village but a very special boat ride did. We got tickets for a Cowboy boat cruise and breakfast on Elk Island the next morning. The kids were great about getting up at 645 for it and pulling on several layers of clothes since it was roughly 45 degrees that morning. We headed down to Colter Bay to go out on Jackson Lake and view the Tetons up close. We didn’t realize how lucky we were that there was so much snow this past Winter. The great amount of snow melt provided enough water to fill up the marina. The lodge has not been able to offer the breakfast cruise for two years now because it has been bone dry. The boat took us around the lake with amazing views and to Elk Island where Cowboy coffee was waiting along with the delicious hot cocoa that the kids love. All of this around a fire pit and log benches with wildflowers surrounding us. We grabbed plates and heaped them full of fresh trout, pancakes, sausage, bacon, yogurt, danishes, fruit, and all the good stuff. We ate at picnic tables next to the lake and when I tell you the views were to die for it was. We all said we had never had breakfast like that before.

With every good breakfast should come a hike. Our hosts on the island took us up a steep incline to a field of wildflowers and the most epic views of the lake and the Tetons. We certainly got our family Christmas card photo while we were up there.

Later that day, Maggie went for a pony ride with Greg and she was hooked. She said we should turn our backyard into a little spot for her pony. Eric, Addy, and I had a one hour horseback ride booked later so she had a blast telling us what to expect and how excited we would be. Well, she wasn’t wrong. I told the kids how nervous and excited I was and they said “Mom, it’s no big deal” but let me tell you when Eric got on his horse, Crimson, it was the first time he had ever said he was scared and you could see it in his eyes but after the hour ride he was barely holding on and smiling from ear to ear.

The horseback ride was out of this world! I can’t even begin to describe the views. The wildflowers were gorgeous and watching my kids experience something completely out of their comfort zone right in front of me and excel at it was probably the coolest thing ever. Eric was in the lead of the pack and doing great. He had the oldest horse so he was taught to constantly give her some good kicks and whip her neck with the reins. He loved that. Addy was next in line with a very grumpy horse that also didn’t feel like going very fast. She was pretty reluctant to tell him what to do and my horse was behind who tended to follow a little too closely and got us kicked twice. Scared the crap out of me but tried so hard not to show it. We went on some narrow cliffs and overlooks but I just kept saying my Hail Marys and smiling at all the goodness that God had provided for us to see and all was well. We got to experience the real weather of Wyoming and had a good cold rain storm on us while we rode. Greg and Maggie met us at the corral when we got back and I think the smiles on our faces showed them how incredible it was.

We left Wyoming the next morning at sunrise after we piled sleeping kids back into the RV and boy was that a sunrise. Wyoming you were beautiful!!!! Thanks for showing off your colors.

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