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3 weeks in 3 parks for 3 people with a teen and the teen...want it..again

3 weeks in 3 parks for 3 people with a teen and the teen...want it..again

Old Aug 20th, 2009, 08:30 AM
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3 weeks in 3 parks for 3 people with a teen and the teen...want it..again

I report a 3 weeks vacation in Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier, with a 2 days drive transition between Wyoming and Montana.
We were the 2 parents,Erik and Anny and our 15 years old daughter, you know this kind of teenager, lost without cellphone, internet or TV...
In fact,after 2 "hard days", as she said in the middle of nowhere, without internet, without ability to connect by cellphone and without TV(no TV in lodges), she began to discover nature, views, wildlife,...and her parents and at the end of the trip, she want to be back there next year...
I will discribe not day/day, but topics/topics(lodging, eating, hiking, visiting,...).

The flights : easy this year, due to Delta which has a direct flight from Paris to Salt Lake City and thereafter, arrival in Jackson Hole and departure from Missoula. No problem with multiconnections...and enough time to connect(2h30 in both directions). We have only to "complain" with the plane itself : an "old" 767, with a little room for the legs, no individual TV and so for 11 hours of flight, it's long...Perhaps a more recent plane would be a must...
Arriving in Jackson Hole, we take possession of our car, at Alamo, a large car because we have our luggage for the 3 weeks, and have to buy some coolers for the drinks and the foods as we projected to hike almost every day...

The lodging :
- at JH, we had a night at CowBoy Village resort, a cabin with 2 beds in the "bedroom" and a sofa bed in the "living room". in fact the rooms are not separate, but as it was the first night, and as we were tired by the flights, no problem to sleep...
At check-in, very kind clerck who inform us/supermarket to find our coolers, drinks,...and reserve us a table at a steakhouse for dinner...So a nice adress, but if we had to stay more, I think 2 cabins would be fine(we like our intimacy b'tween parents and daughter)

-at GTNP, we had a "retreat" on the lakefront t the Signal Moutain Lodge : a real 2 rooms cabin with kitchenet, bathroom and the rooms are really separate.It's quiet(even if we had a lower cabin, no problem to sleep..), clean, and what a view...The GT range reflecting in the lake every morning and evening is really a thing you can look for hours...There is WIFI in the lobby and 2 computers for the guests, but Salome didn't even use it very much...
We had 3 nights here.(Bathrooms : tub ).

-at Old Faithful, we had western cabins at Old Snow Lodge : 1 for parents and one for Salome. It's not the charmest hotel in that part, but where we were, far from parking lot, it was quiet...Perhaps the view is not the same/Old faithfull lodge, but as we like quietness I think we keep this adress for next year.2 nights have been there.(bathroom : tub).

-then we drive to Canyon Lodge for 3 nights, western cabins, in the middle of the wood(M2-2 and M 2-4). It's clean, quiet, enough large, with showers and lavabo.
Beware, sometimes some bisons take room on the meadow, lower/some cabins...But it's fun.Finally, we will take also this one next year.

-Between Wyoming and Glacier, we have 2 nights in Helena, at the Best western Great Northern. I reserve a suite, but in fact it was a oversized room without separation between the room and the living room and so we preferr to take a second room for our daughter...I 'd phone at the time of reservation in december 2008 to be sure the suite was a suite, but it was not...I make the remark to the clerck and tell her I think it was
not really justified to name an oversized room a suite but...
Rooms are elegant and very large, clean and the bathrooms are very large(tub).
WiFi in the hotel and 2 computers in the business room, with also a large swimming pool and an exercise room. Breakfast is include-continal they said but there are cereals, waffles, eggs,...and so it's more than continental...The clerks are very helpfull(restaurant, reservation,...).Coffee maker in the rooms and microwave, refrigerator.TV in the rooms : the only place Salome watch it, the first night(no hike that day, so not too tired..).

-then we take a night in Polson , in the Best Western, to allow us to visit the national bison range(Salome didn't stuff/bison..) : it's a resort with casino(it's in indian country...) : so nice for a night, but we don't imagine staying here for more : smokers and all that sadness/casino's players...out of the luxury casinos...But it's clean, not too noisy.
WiFi in the hotel, 2 smalls swimming pool, tub in the bathrooms,coffee maker.
TV in the rooms.

-in West Glacier, we were this year at the Apgar Village Inn, directly on the lakefront, a superior 2 rooms suite with bathroom(tub). It's quiet, clean with a great room on the balcony and a smaller in the back.The view here is superb on lake Mc Donald.

-in Many Glacier, we return at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, directly at the departure of the hikes(rooms 22 & 23) : they are large, clean, quiet. bathrooms are showers only.
You are welcome here by mule deers or other wildlife...We'll come back next year.

- to end our sejour, we come back at the Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast on the road between Missoula and Lolo...This is also an adress to recommand...Each room is different, large with cosy bathrooms(tub).The breakfast are to damn it(the berries scones are more than delicious and Brad knows how to make the coffee...).
WiFi in the rooms, no TV.We'll come back next year...

In all the lodges(Signal, Old Snow, Canyon, Apgar, Swiftcurrent) : no TV, no A/C, no phone...At the B&B, no TV, no phone.

In conclusion, no bad surprise with lodging...some very nice adress to recommand
-in WG, Apgar village inn is perfect...We were 2 years ago at the Belton Chalet and the inn is largely superior : largers spaces, and quietness+++let the Chalet at the railways lovers....
-in GTNP, Signal Mountain lodge is perfect for the view, directly on the lakeshore.
-in Missoula, don't miss the Blue Mountain bed and breakfast...

So a question , next year the plan is : Yellowstone(old snow and Canyon Lodge), then directly Glacier, skipping west part to stay in MG(swiftcurrent motor inn) and east glacier : and so where in East glacier : what is the best option to have the less railways noise as possible : The Glacier Lodge with rooms on the opposite/railways , the traveler rests...or earplugs for all the lodging options here...I expect a respons from the experts here...
Next topic will be on the restaurants...
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Old Aug 20th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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Thank you for reporting on your accommodations. I look forward to the rest of your report.
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Old Aug 20th, 2009, 11:57 AM
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How wonderful your daughter opened her eyes and ears and learned to appreciate nature and her parents. You've changed her forever whether you know it yet or not, she will never forget your trip.

My parents took us to all of the national parks out west as my mom was a great lover of nature. My eyes are slightly moist as you've brought back some wonderful memories for me, we just lost my mom 3 weeks ago.

Thank you for a beautiful report.
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Old Aug 20th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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So the meals...

-At Jackson Hole, the clerck at Cow Boy resort reserve us a table at the Gun Barrel steakhouse : nice salads, good bison steak for me, good trout for Anny, normal salmon for Salome.
The chocolate cake is good,and if I find my local beer very good, the white wine for Anny was just correct. So a good adress, but not wonderful.
Breakfast was made from some muffins and cookies at the resort : normal.

-At Grand Teton , we dine twice at the Peaks restaurant at the Signal Mountain Lodge : we have not to wait too long.
The 2 diners were for one very good, for the other good.
Porkshop, salmon/halibut, bison's steak were very fine, but the buffalo ribs were not so tender...Deserts were decent.Wines are good and with a correct choice by glasses.
Breakfast here were the nicest we have during our stay(exception/Missoula...) : good choice and some pies from
the diner's menu were available...Service is efficient and
neither slow or quick.The view is terrific.
We dine once at the Mural dining room at Jackson lodge : correct, but disappointing/room itself : the muralS are nice, but you dine far from them.View is on a wooden pathway where people walk to see wildlife, but as they were in a great zoo...Service is good, appetizers and entreeS were correct but of less quality/Peaks.Dessert were without imagination.
Wine's choice is nice.Nothing to complain, but nothing exceptional...

In Old faithfull, we dine twice at the Obsidien room at Old Snow Inn : very good, with a nice wine list. Service is efficient and sympathic. The bison ribs are so tender than you can eat them with a spoon.The salmon is not bad and
the pies are very good.There are some good choice/beers.
Unfortunately breakfast are off quality : buffet is expensive and didn't open your appetite : scrambled eggs are the one of a buffet...and the choice "a la carte" is too small : no pie from the diner menu, eggs just correct...So buy some cookies/muffins at the shop and a coffee there and it will be fine.

In Canyon Lodge, we dine at the restaurant the 3 nights :
correct for this kind of restaurant/cafetaria : the salad bar is decent, the bison is very good, the trout also.Wines by glass is good but choice is limited. But there is a good choice of local beers.Breakfast are disappointing : more smaller choice than in Old snow for the restaurant, just like in a school cafetaria at the deli and too much "lipid" at the diner.In both, service is very good...
As the weather was so so on one of our day is this part, we drive to Mammoth and had a lunch at the restaurant here : very good salad(perhaps the best caesar of our sejour), hot wings very spicy and "hot"...and a very good steak.The three small burgers in sample were very good(Salome's choice)
Chocolate cake were very good but the creme brulee was just decent. Very good wines.

In Helena we dine the first night at the Irish brew : sympathic with perfect BBQribs, nice salmon and very good chocolate desserts...Nice choice of wines and beers.Perfect service.
The second night we dine at the Silver Star steakhouse, just aside/Best Western.We had a good experience there 2 years ago, but were very disappointed this year. We were the first in line at the time of our reservation and we got the worst table, in the middle of the passage.Boxes were inoccupied but we were said there were reserved(by people who arrive after us and were after us on the list...).Forks and Knives were missing, but after having requested them 3 times we find easier to take it on an other table...
Bread and Wines arrive with our...entrees also after 3 requests...And as Anny take a salad to begin and then crabcakes(which are an appetizer...but we specify twice the order she wants them), they inverse the order, saying an appetizer is an appetizer..). By chance, the meal was decent(excellent steak, good mash potatoes,...).The dessert carte was pretentious and so we quite and walk to eat an ice cream in an other place...
Breakfast at the BW, include in the night were more than correct.

In Polson, we dine at the BW : seafood buffet for Anny, ceasar
salads for Erik and Salome, then correct steaks.Good chocolate cakes.
In the morning we had a breakfast with an exceptional berries pie in a family diner here...

In West Glacier, we dine the first night in the Highland restaurant, adjacent to the gas station before the tunnel : nice salad, good steak and nice berries pie(the black and hucklberry pie is a must).
The second evening we dine at Eddie's at Agpar : it's very good there : the trout is delicious and the pasta also.
The pies are wonderful...Good choice of beers and wines.
Breakfast were the more decent in the parks we had for the whole sejour(pie from the diner's menu are avalaible).

In Many Glacier,we dine three times at the Garden restaurant at the swiftcurrent motor inn : good pizza, decent buffalo burgers, very nice venaison sausages. Chocolate cake is good and the huckleberry ice cream when available is very good. Small but correct choice of white wine and good beers list.
Breakfats were less nice than 2 years ago. The price are not too expensive.
We dine once at the Ptarmigan dining room at Many Glacier hotel : nice view, strange atmosphere(a swiss chalet of the '50..), but service is sympathic, the meal excellent
from appetizers to desserts.

In Missoula, we dine the first night in the Blue Mountain B&B as they offer this option now : don't miss it as Brad's steak are exceptionnal(he cook them at perfection after having them marinated with all the spices you can expect...). The crumble was more than decent.
The breakfast here are just divin...Souffle omelette with cheese and green asparagus, berries scones, scramble eggs with chicken sausage and an austrian pancake with berry cobbler...by chance for our weight... we stay only 2 days.
Finally we had our last diner at the Pearl cafe in Missoula : just the correct adress to end the sejour : perfect smoked trout, good caesar, nice lamb for Salome, delicious crabcake for Anny and an exceptionnel elk for me.
The chocolat cake with nutella ice cream for Anny/Salome and my berries cobbler with huckleberry ice cream were perfect.
Good choice of wines and beers.

So, some good adress : obsidien room at Old Snow, restaurant in Mammoth;
some confirmations : Ptramigan roomn Highland restaurant;
some very nice surprises : Peaks restaurant, Eddies;
some deceptions : Mural room(+/-) and Silver Star(great desillusion...);
and 2 exceptionnal adress : Blue Mountain and Pearl.
As you can see, no lunch, because we were...hiking...
it will be the next topic, but you have to wait, as it's time to sleep here in France...
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Old Aug 24th, 2009, 01:22 AM
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So the hikes :
- in Grand Teton :
Sunday, July the 19th . : weather was not so nice, but it didn't stop our enthusiasm(essentially the one/Erik and Anny...).
We began with PHELPS LAKE : 4 miles roundtrip, out and back...
It is quoted strenous, but it's not so difficult.It's in the woods, and the view from the overlook is nice.
Anny swimed in the lake and on the way back we were lucky to arrive at the overlook when the rain arrives...because there are some trees here and we were not ...wet...
rain was not too long and we can hike 15 mn after...We didn't see wildlife on the trail but there were some bisons and mule deer when we drive back to visitor center.
As weather was not announced as nice before the mid afternoon we decide to drive back to Jackson hole for some shopping!
Blue sky arrive at 3'30 and so direction our lodge(signal mountain) and on the way we stop to hike TAGGART/BRADLEY LAKES
with a lolypop loop, 5-5.2 miles roundtrip.The way up is not difficult, some small wildlife(marmott) and the lakes are nice.You see Bradley only when arriving at the ridge and so it can be confusing for somone...We find there two old men...with a map for one, saying : "where is the lake ??" We respond : directly here if you hike 10 more yards ...he seems happy , go to see the lake and returning, tell us that he was thinking " my friend is in trouble...". Effectively the other one didn't give the impression of good health, with a short breath...and very white head...I say them it will be better to go down and find a good room but they want to go camping...I hope they find the campsite...We give them the direction and as there is only one trail from here, we hope they find it...
Bradley is not known for swiming and on the way back, Taggart is very nice to see, more than on the way up.It is said that swimming is not allowed but people here do that, and it seems that this was not their first time, so I don't know...
For this first day, we have finished with the hike. Salome was not so happy at the end of the second one, thinking that the first one was perhaps enough...

Monday, July the 20th. : Direction Paintbrush canyon to HOLY LAKE.Weather was perfect. 12.4 miles roundtrip, out and back, with a 2600 feet elevation.It's quoted strenuous and it is strenuous...The beginning is easy as you follow the String lake shore and then traverse it at the head on a wood bridge.Views are terrific and take pictures on this way as the color, light is ideal and as on the way back you will be perhaps too tired to take pictures...
After the bridge, the trail goes up and there is an hour before havin some flat...Salome didn't find our rythm of walk
enough fast and so go ahead, despite also our advice to stay in group(it's bear country..). As they were some other people, we didn't be in hury...
Anny and I stop(why here???) in a open meadow to drink, but just before we take out our backpaks, we see at the same time 2 brown patches, one large and one small...A grizzly mom with one cub...We quite without running and passing this part, call salome to be back with us..She was disppointed to have not seen the bears, trying to decide us to go back to see them...But no way, we go up...(in fact, speaking with other hikers, they tell us there were 2 cubs...So it was even better to continue...).Salome began to be tired(too fast beginning...) and try to short the hike...but we resits adn after some "little crisis", we arrive at Holy Lake. It's a very nice spot with lot of flora and mountains all around.
We stop here for an hour, eating(carrots for all, tuna for Anny, white breats chicken for me, fruits for everybody-in cans and so no odor.We have zip bag to put the trash and so no odor as well.
The way nback is easy as it is all downhill...No bears on this way back, but it's long for the part just before the String lake, as it is in the woods with no view...
Anny swimms in String lake before we drive back to our lodge...Salome was so so in her thinkings : happy with the view and to have reached the lake, unhappy as it was long...

Tuesday, July the 21st : CASCADE CANYON and LAKE SOLITUDE.
14,4 miles, round trip, out and back 2950 denivelation, quoted strenuous,and it is, but less than Holy lake, upon our opinion.
We take the Shuttle boat at Jenny Lake.The trail to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point has heavy traffic and is abrupt this year due to work on the normal trail.Falls are nice and we take pictures in the morning, thinking we will be tired on the wy back(and we did well...).Inspiration point has really very nice views on the park...
After that, Cascade canyon till the fork is easy, with very nice spots on the river, but unfortunately, no wildlife has be seen...
At the fork, there is half an hour in woods and then you arrive in open meadows...with some very small patches of woods time to time.The scenery is magnific.There si a lot of small wildlife(marmotts, picas,...) and it's not so strenuous.The denivellation is gentle, regular...Salome did her crisis
1 mile before the lake...saying it's too long, too difficult,
to reach one more lake and soone...(and no cell phone to get SMS from friends, and no amusement at the lodge,...). We let her in a campsite after a quick "snack", as the traffic is good in hikers here and so no problem with eventual wildlife and we continue Anny and I to the lake and we didn't regret ...It is really one of the nicest spot we had ever seen...
There were some "icebergs" in the lake. The whole mouuntain circus is awesome...We stay here for 30 mn and the come down and you have the second jewel : the view on the Tetons all the way back...
We meet again with Salome and looking for our pictures she was unhappy from her crisis but too late...
Back to the boat, and always no wildlife in the Canyon(some years, it seems there are mooses and Elks, but nothing for us...).It's all downhill and so not too difficult and as we have looked for wildlife all the way, the time pass rapidly...

And it's all for Grand Teton...There are numerous other hikes there, but we have to keep them for other sejours...
I will come back with Yellowstone!
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 05:14 AM
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I'm really enjoying your report and looking forward to more. The Yellowstone/Grand Teton area is one of my favorite vacation spots. How fortunate to spot a grizzly, although I'm not sure I would want to see one while hiking!
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 05:52 AM
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Very nice report, thanks for sharing with us. We too just love Yellowstone, one of the grandest of all National Parks!
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 05:55 AM
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Also, I am curious about Helena, MT and your two nights there. Was that for the "2 day transition" you first mentioned in your report? Did you do any site seeing while there?
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 11:26 AM
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Thanks for the comments.We'll arrive in Helena but before there is Yellowstone...
Wednesday, July the 22nd : we have to quite, with regrets ,
Grand Teton, with the certitude to come back in the next years...
The first hike of the day has been BEULA Lake,6 miles roundtrip, out and back, not too strenous, some hills... decribed sometimes in the GTNP, sometimes in Yellowstone.I think it's nearest from GT but the hike itself pass through Yellowstone.
It's off the beaten pass, but we like sometimes driving to
isolated hike, far from nowhere.You have to drive on a gravel road for 10 miles from Flagg ranch to the beginning of Grassy reservoir.The hike is a mixt of meaadows and small woods.We saw some deers and anyone in the party had eared
sort of grr...gr...three times, but we didn't go in the bush to explore xhich animal was there.I don't think it was a bear.
The lake is nice, but the scenery is less grandiose than GT.Otherwise it was a nice occasion to walk...
Then arriving in Yellowstone, we take the direction of our lodge and as we had time, we decide to hike RIDDLE lake,
4,6 miles roundtrip, out and back, very easy as it's flat...
It more meadows than wood, reputed for wildlife...but as it was too early in the afternoon(3-3'30) the onlyone we saw was...mosquitos!!!By chance we has our repellant and so it was not too hard...On the way back we give some to 2 poors young women who have forgotten their one and were litteraly
red by mosquitos...
The lake itself is basic, but the scenery with the mountainrange is nice.Just after quiting the lake, we
have to share the trail with 2 babies bird(don't know which specy as we are not specialist, but I will request to friends as I take some pictures...). Salome take the lead and
didn't authorize us to overpass the 2 babies, affraid she was we can put a foot on them...And as sometimes they go on the grass nearby the trail we have also no authorisation to
make a detour and so...20 mn to hike 30 yards!!!
Finally the mother take its responsability and force the 2
to go up on a wood's trunk...
The meadows here I am sure are a good habitat for wildlife, but early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Finally on that day, after having take possession of our rooms we go to the UPPER GEYSER BASIN,and according to the geyser's schedule we hike a 4 miles loop, around Old faithfull, then all the boardwalk to Daisy...We were fortunate to see eruptions from Beehive and Daisy and were in times to see Old Faithfull...
After dinner, not tired from all the scenery we hike a smaller loop to see finally Old faithfull by crepuscule...

Thursday, July the 23rd., we decide to hike to FAIRY FALLS and IMPERIAL Geyser, 7 miles round trip, out and back,
the major part flat.After crossing the river on a wood bridge, you have to hike along the Prismatic springs ad the effect people on the bordwalk there , the steam, the color...is stupendous.After the fork to Fairy Falls, there is a part in woods, not difficult, but it was very hot on that day...The falls are nice, high but not very large...I think they could be more spectacular early in season.
After, the hike take direction to Spary and then Imperial geysers.You know there are here because you see the smoke...
We hike directly to Imperial because on the way we did'nt see the spur to Spray...Imperial is an awesome site : the geyser
erupts almost continually, sometimes at 25/30 feets and is on the middle of a blue hotspring with nice hills on the background..
We take a 45 mn rest here to eat and appreciate
the scenery. On the way back,we find the way to Spray and it's nice to see the continuous but small activity.
Finally, as the day was not at its end, we drive to LONE STAR trailhead 4,6 miles roundtrip, out and back, almost always flat...(the first idea was Mystic falls, but as
it was too hot, we choose a hike in the woods...).
The hike follows the Upper Firehole River and so it was a nice idea...We take some feet bath on the way in. You have to cross the river twice on bridges and 2 meadows, known to be pass for bisons, but not this year...
The Lone Star is impressive and we have to wait only 45 mn to see the eruption also impressive(we were lucky as we have not looked to the schedule...).We admire the Kepler cascades at the trailhead.
On evening we didn't resist to a new boardwalk promenade on the Upper bassin, after diner...But don't forget the repellant(they are sulfur resistant here the mosquitos...).
This was the end of our hikes in this part of the park.
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 12:31 PM
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Really enjoying reading your report!
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Old Aug 26th, 2009, 12:02 AM
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Friday, July the 24th.
Bye Bye Old faithful site, with clouds and so we have to renounce to Mystic Falls...
We do the polychromatic bassin, and so we'll be on the pictures of the one who hike Fairy falls...
Polychromatic is not a hike, but the time here seems to short...Colors, smoke, odor...
We decide to drive "north", and drive the Fire Lake detour,
Finally as the weather seems bad in Canyon, we decide to drive to Mammoth and that's was the good idea !
Weather had just been blue sky and sun in this part...
Evidently we "hike" MAMMOTH HOT SPRING, 1.5-2 miles, sort of loop, to see the highlights here(canary spring, minerva terrace,...). It's easy on a boardwalk, but colors, strange formations, water make a impressive "ensemble". Not too tired by our morning we do the other highlights by feet(Prospect Terrace, New Highland Terrace, Angel terrace,...).It's not too difficult and we find just across the road from Orange Spring mound a small hike in meadows/wood which was nice==>2 miles more of hike(that's was better than the road where drivers were not so happy to find us....(one arguing that there was a road and "why are you walking???"...") Finally after this well busy morning despite a so so weather, we have a lunch at the restaurant in Mammoth.
On the drive to Canyon village we stop at ICE LAKE WITH LOOP TO LITTLE GIBBON FALLS, 4,5 miles, loop, quoted easy and it's easy.The beginning is in the wood and at 0.5 miles you find the lake, and the trail is along the shore.There are camp sites and it's possible to swimm-Anny was happy to do that with a duck's family following her...
After a short rest we continue and there is a mix of meadows/wood, some creek crossing on "primitive" wood's bridges,in fact small pinelodges...
Finally you arrive to the Falls overlook and this is nice...
The way back to the road is more meadows than woods and the last 1/2 mile is on the road...We saw here a female wapiti
just before arriving at our car...and it was time to arrive at Canyon Village.No other hikes, even small because it was
time for some...laundry!!

Saturday, July the 25th.
day of the SOUTH RIM of the GRAND CANYON of the YELLOWSTONE,
with RIBBON and CLEAR LAKES, # 9-10 miles, loop.
This a great hike combo, and it's moderate.
On the drive to the trailhead, we saw some deers and just before the Chittenden Bridge 2 large and magnificent bisons...There were so impressive and large that at the first look Salome said : "oh , look, they are some bisons statue here !" and 10 seconds later" they are not statues, they are reals, I saw mooving ther tails...".
That's was funny and also impressive as they were really very large!
We park at the Clear Lk trailhead and we began the hike , along the south rim.You dominate the river all along to Artist Point and it's beautiful, quiet(exception of the overlooks joignable by car and bus...) and impressive. The 2 falls are awesome and the colors in the morning were just
"irreel"..It's like in a moovie, in best.
So the hike take time to be done, because you stop a lot to
appreciate "the show".
After Artist point we continue to point Sublime and it was a little disappointing(perhaps too lot expectations from the name??).
We go back and take the trail to Ribbon lake.It's in wood,
flat, and the lake is nice, but we have to quite quickly, due to mosquitos...(as I had only a primitive hike book this day, we miss..the silvercord cascad overlook....and so we have to go back next year!!!).
On the way to Clear lake, you have to cross a section of mud pots, strange white section with muddy marmits.The odors here are particulary important...(sort of old hardboiled eggs, old shrimp...you remember it a lot...).
Clear lake is in a nice open site and despite some reminiscent of odor, Anny swimms...We take a small snack here.
The way back is easy, a lot on open meadows.We saw only some deers.On the trailhead's informating pannel, there was a "wolf warning advice"(the day before it seems they have been seen, but not for us..).
On the road back to lodge we saw 2 bisons in a meadow and stay here for 1/2 hour and on the meadow aside some canyon lodge cabins, anotherone, so you have to be cautious here.
We end the day by ...shopping in the different stores here
and all three find something!!

Sunday, July the 26th. day of mix trails...
The idea was to hike HAYDEN VALLEY(what they call Mary Moutain east).It's out and back if you do a day hike, and you stop where you want. In fact it's in the middle of
natural habitat of...bisons...And after 1,5-2 miles, Anny was too affraid and we have to hike back.I don't know if she was affraid for herself or for salome who was so excited to be in the middle of those animals...The hike itself is not so
difficyult, as it is flat, but very muddy and as you have to do some detours to let the bisons on their pathway, it is sometimes very muddy...We have some impressive pictures of the bisons...
So, we have to change our plan...I examine the guyide(during this time, Anny and salome watch for bisons who cross the river, swimming...) and our destination will be the CASCADE LAKE, 5 miles, out
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Old Aug 26th, 2009, 12:25 AM
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and back(sorry, the finger rips...), easy.It's, except the beginning, in meadows and it was a festival of flora.
In one of the meadows we were accompanied by a "elk's family" which was running for a 1/2 mile, before vanishing in a small wood.We take a snack on the lake...It was juged not "swimmable" by Anny.So we drive back and go back to ICE LAKE(just the lake so 2 miles out and back) for the swimm.
Afterthat, we do the BRINK of the LOWER FALLS, 1,2 miles round trip, out and back, easy to go, more difficult to come back...(600 feet denivelation to go down and so the same on the way back...). If you take your time it's not so difficult you think...And it worth the effort(you know to have to do it after the look..).It's very impressive.
Anny has to shop more and so Salome and I decide to go back to Alum creek, with bisons...We have to renounce, due to a heavy rain shower and finally were fortunate to see a grizzly bear in a meadow, across the river, but far(by chance I have the binoculars...).
So a day of small hikes, but finally a lot of flora, fauna
and exercise...
That's the end of the Yellowstone(for this year) exploration and we prepare ourself for the "transition's" day between Yellowstone and Helena.
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Old Aug 26th, 2009, 04:35 AM
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So the "3 days transition" between Wyoming and Glacier.
In fact, there are several reasons :
- we like take our times;
- we didn't like too long drives;
- we think parks are only a part of the US and the real country worth also the effort to stop...

Saying that, Monday, July the 27th. : We quite Canyon and take direction to Norris/Madison/Swan valley to West Yellowstone.
The road is nice, but there are works between Norris/Madison and so a little to wait.We locate some hikes for next year,
appreciate the gentleness of Swan valley and if we didn't see birds, there were some bisons and also a Wapiti herd.
In West Yellowstone, Anny take the wheel and I do the guide(I had the Falcon guide on Scenic drives in Montana).
The weather was not so nice, but for a long drive it was perfect.The EARTHQUAKE Lake is surprising(Salome found it impressive with all those trees).
Finally we arrive in Ennis, "world's capital of the trout"..;and innocently we though we'll find some restaurants with speciality of trouts...(In France when a town called itself world capital of..." you find more than necessary shops/restaurants-of all grade- with the speciality...And here, nothing...(perhaps it was in the resorts ??).
So we eat at the Roadrunner grille, basic and good salad/steak/buffalowings, very nice service and the booths are some of old 50' cars and it was funny(Salome like it very much...).
After the lunch, direction VIRGINIA CITY which was the goal of this first day : we like Ghost towns(2 years ago we do Garnett and Elkhorn). Virginia City is more an "openair museum" than a ghost town, but it's really interesting and some of the batiments here have a story(the "hanging" museum is surprising, the old shops, barns,...)and are well maintened.
We do some shopping, Salome and Anny make them pictured in Old fashion western clothes,...we have a very good ice cream.
It was a good divertising afternoon.And the hasard of life,three facts :
- first, in one of the photographer, a woman enters with his daughter and tell us :" but you are french ? yes"...and both to ask "how did you come to Virginia??"(far from the parks in middle Montana, not on the international guide...): I explain than between GT/Yellowstone and Glacier we want some other activity than only hiking...And she explain to us that she was in vacation in her parent's home in...Bozeman!And she live in France in Lannion,...45 miles from Vannes, our own town!!!
-second, in an antiquary shop, I found a old calendar with a western scene, from january 1958, my birthday...and in the same shop, Anny found an old Barbie doll's valet with Ken/Barbie paperdolls and a lot of paper clothes from 1962 her year...
-and third, in another shop a woman look to the Barbie's valet and seems nostalgic, telling to Anny "I've played years with the same toy"... For all that, the day was a full day.
We make the short drive to Nevada City but as it was raining we didn' stop.
Direction Helena where we arrive at 7, check in at the BW and dine at Irish brew.Then a small walk to Last Gulch.

Tuesday, July the 28th. : To not forget how to hike, the first part of the day was to CROW CREEK FALLS, 6 miles roundtrip, out and back, quoted easy and we found it moderately strenous.You have to drop to the river, longe it and after there are 2 "hills"-the second one average strenous...and after, you drop to the falls.The trail is a mix meadows/wood, ridge. The falls are very nice and we take a long rest(1 hour to snack and remember our first week and thinking to the next...).We do the way back
relatively quickly as the thunderstorm arrives. We change us and walk to last Gulch, but it was desert from interesting shops...and the heavy rain arrives in Helena (we have not had this impression 2 years ago...the shops, not the rain...).
So we try to find a mall but the only one was disappointing(Dillars : nothing, other shops ininteresting!).
So we come back to hotel : a swim for Anny(at the falls it was too cold: only feet bath), then an "horrible" diner at the Silver steak house and a moovie(Age of Ice 3-funny).

Wednesday July the 29th.
We began our last transition day by visiting the STATE CAPITOL : very interesting and nice wall paintings, statues, glass windows and then the MUSEUM(I like the Russel paintings...). Anny and Salome were more captived by the "natural and historic" parts and Salome definitevely found Medecine Bison the Highlight of the museum...
We drive after to Missoula(we take a pizza there) and north to the Flathead valley via the NATIONAL BISON RANGE REFUGE :
we do the longer loop and the 2 authorized hikes here(combined no more than 2 miles...) : we saw during the hikes 4 bighorn sheeps and after driving, the bison herd, an antelope in the middle of the bisons, some mule deers and in the river a "bull wapiti" , grandiose...It's like a safari here, but you are almost sure to see wildlife and it is always a mess...
We arrive late at Polson to sleep and dine at the BW, the last night before Glacier and our "heavy" hike's programm...
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Old Aug 28th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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Thursday, July the 30th.
We wake up early, teke our breakfast in a family diner in Polson(very good berries pie..) and drive north to Glacier.
We do the SNYDER LAKE trail, 8.8 miles roundtrip, out and back,2150 feet denivelation, quoted moderatly strenous and it is.
The trailhead is just across the street/Lake Mc Donald Lodge parking, at the right from the horse barn(it's the Sperry trail).
The beginning is in wood and there are pannels at the intersections with other trails(Mt Brown, Fish lk, Sperry chalet).After the wood section(there is a nice overlook over
Lk Mc Donald), you enter a succession of small meadows, small woods, not to hard-the slope is gentle(exception of the beginning after the barn, but as we encounter here a female deer for 10 mn , it was not too hard...).
Just before the lake, there is an avalanche slop to go through and as 2 years ago, there was a squirrel here who "plays" with Anny/Salome, hidden behind some rocks, reappears 10 yards after,...It was funny and Salome likes it very much.The lake is nice and we were alone...
Anny swimms and we take a nice rest here, in the quietness,
with the cascads around, the Matterhorn,...
Just a good hike to begin our Glacier's sejour.And for the first time of our holidays, Anny finds some berries to eat(it seems to us that the berries season was late this year...).
On the way down, another (or the same) squirrel, for anothers 10 mn of fun( but without fooding it...).
When we come back, we go visiting Lk Mc Donald Lodge and buy some souvenirs at the shop.
Then, direction Apgar Village Inn and Anny swimms in the Lake on the beach here.
There was after dinner an heavy thunderstorm that night and Anny tell us it has rained a large part of the night.

Friday, July the 31st.
Breakfast at Eddie's in Apgar : nice eggs for me, and Apple pies for Anny/Salome.
Day's hike is AKOKALA Lake, on the north fork...
It's 11,6 miles roundtrip, out and back, with a 800 feet denivelation.
We were a little anxious on the way up to Bowman lake as the "clouds/fog" were very low on the slopes...By chance, arriving at the trailhead, blue skie...
The trail is not difficult, quoted moderate and it is.
Two difficulties :
-one from the trail itself : there are parts up and parts down and it is more difficult than a way always up...(and more if you are thinking that on the way back you'll have some slopes up to hike!!!);
-the second, due to the rain...The first 2,5 miles are in "heavy woods" with brush+++ on the trails and as the night has been wet...we have been wet..."Ploc ploc ploc was our noise's feet after 1 mile...", even not necessary to speak to avoid a
"bear encounter"...our feets were enough...But finally it was more loughable than to complain!
When you cross the creek on the wood bridge, 2 facts :
- go to the shore as there are some rasperries here, very good;
- and the "right" fork indicated on the map is not just after the bridge as announced, but 500-600 feet after...We were lucky to find here some other couple with GPS system and so we find the trail.
After that, the slope is gentle to the lake, most part on open meadows.The lake itself is in a very impressive mountain circus, but not "swimmeable" (dixit Anny...).
The guides say it is not known for fishing but we saw some
fish flying out water to take some insects we think and more
interesting a bald eagle, planning over the lake...Time to recognize it, to appreciate it, no way for a picture...
We take a nice rest , feet out of shoes that we try to dry...
And back to the trailhead...
On the way down, we appreciate more the flora as it was no more wet...Salome saw a ptarmigan's mother with 3 babies, the mother not so happy of our presence and giving proof of babies defense...(Salome was interested by this reaction...), she saw also a toad.
But she was not at the end of her surprise...
As we take our time to go back, the other couple arrives before us at the campground, where they have the tent...
When they saw us, they make sign to invite us to join them(Salome saw them and as she says to us after, she was in hesitation : old people, what do they want, another deer or squirrel,...).
In fact, there was a bear in the campground!!!
The first very next of us for Salome and she was excited!!!
We stay here 15 mn to look for the bear, trying to stay calm,
as he seems not nervous.Finally he quits the campground , by chance in the opposite direction/our car...
The ranger was in "her garden" and as we pass along it we signal the bald eagle and the bear...
End of a very nice day...
But Anny could not swimm in Bowman Lake(she was affraid/bear).
So, back to Apgar and the swimm was there and after, shopping in Apgar(nice shops here) and a good diner at Eddies.
This is the end of the hikes in this west part.
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 07:58 AM
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Saturday,August the 1st.
We transit from west part to east part.
4,2 miles roundtrip, out and back(a small lillypop on the way back hiking the cedars..).It's quoted easy and it is easy...
The only problem here could be the traffic...
The lake is nice, the scenery worth the easy walk.It seemed to Anny that water was colder than 2 years ago and she didn't swimm this year.We saw deers on the way on and back.I think next year or in 2 years we try to hike it in the afternoon , because the light for pictures should be nicer.
We think that doing Trail of the Cedars to come back is a nice option.
After driving Going to the sun road, always very scenic, we find very quickly to park at Logan Pass(less than 2 mn wait
at noon...) and so we hike HIDDEN LAKE OVERLOOK, 4 miles roundtrip, out and back, quoted easy and it's easy.In fact it's 3 miles round trip, but to be more quiet, we hike a little farer than the overlook.Problem is also the traffic, heavier than in Avalanche...But, flora is nice, and there is a lot of wildlife : deers(3), bighorn sheeps(2 x 4), moutain goats(15-20 with babies) and marmotts+++. The view worth the traffic and go 1/4-1/2 mile after the overlook to have a more nice panorama...We take a snack here before going back to the car.
We drive to Many Glacier and we didn't stop before APIKUNI
FALLS hike , 2 miles roundtrip, quoted moderatly strenous and it is...(700 feet denivelation in 1 mile..).But you have to do it.There is no traffic and the falls are really nice.There is a first "overlook" 5 mn before the falls and you have view on the falls higher and the valley down...panorama is fantastic and we stop , falls + "terrace" before for 3/4 h...
So, there are a lot of options when you drive from one part of the park to the other.Those 3 hikes were our option(2 years ago we do Avalanche/Tocedars/garden wall), but there are also other falls on the way and so a lot of options. Just take the trail's map to choose what you want.

Sunday, August the 2nd : CRACKER LAKE,12.2 miles roundtrip, out and back, quoted strenous and it is but not only for the physical effort, which is not so difficult...Problem comes from the first 1,5 miles which are in common with horse trails and so it's muddy,with odors...After that, the switchbacks between the 2 creeks are not so strenous and then the creek to the lake is in gentle slope.The site itself is beautiful, but not the nicest we have done.Color of water is strange, the "terrace" which dominates the lake is a nice spot,the mining activity's reminiscent is interesting but...how could we say, we were a little dispappointed.
The way back was very nice and we saw flora than we didn't
appreciate in the morning, but the last 1,5 miles before the trailhead are terrible also in the afternoon.

Monday, August the 3rd : ICEBERG LAKE + PTARMIGAN LAKE, this combo results in a 13 miles, roundtrip, out and back, and you can quote it(moderatly) strenous.
We hike from Iceberg trailhead near Swiftcurrent motor inn and so the first half mile is not in a gentle slope, but
after, the hike to Iceberg is easy.The Falls are just normal.We saw a moose 1/2 mile after the falls and then the trail in open meadows to Iceberg is really fantastic. Yes there is traffic but you forget it before such scenery : mountains, waterfalls, flora all is at the right place.The lake itself is awesome(the small lake before worth also some look..).The shore is enough large to allow some "quietness". We take a long rest here, due to the beauty of the site , even if there was a lot of people(some swimm...people, but not Anny).On the way back, we saw a young moose and we decide to hike to Ptarmigan lake.The first 0.7 miles after the fork are strenous, but the site also worth the effort : terrace waterfalls, nice lake, and we'll examine the hike to tunnel for next year..We take another break here and it was difficult
to come back to civilisation after such a day...
Those 2 days ,Anny swimms in Swiftcurrent lake, near Many Glacier Hotel, but she didnt' stay a long time the 2nd day as some bears were near the site...

Tuesday, August the 3rd : The project was Granite Park, but finally we'll have to stop at SWIFTCURRENT PASS, 13.2 miles, roundtrip, out and back, quoted strenous and it's strenous.
The first 4 miles are easy : you hike along Fisher cap lake, the redrock and bull head lakes: it's quasi flat, exception of the passage of redrockfalls.We didn't see wildlife here(2 years ago we were lucky to see 3 mooses here..).
After , the hike begins to go up to the pass. The switchbacks are well done, but it remains strenous.We saw a lot of big marmotts and were in time at the pass(it was 11'45) but the bad weather arrives with a lot of fog and so I decide to stop at the pass, to eat something and drink before going down...
I didn't want to be in the fog or rain in the slope and in the fog along the lakes(it's bear country here...).
We were lucky to arrive in the valley before the fog-we didn't see the falls from the valley when arriving at the wood bridge.The pass was in the clouds.We decide to go back gently and it was a good option as we make our second bear encounter...In fact, we saw a yellow pannel's advertising (Bear...) and Salome says("we have to complain, there is no bear here"...joking!) and then("there are people before us and so no way to see a bear"..).
5 mn afterthat, the group before us was going back and say "beware, bear on the trail...".And so we talk , wait and after 10 mn we decide to try to hike, and this group says "Go first...". And so we do...
But after 100 yards, bear was always here, on the trail , eating...And we go back, speaking and waiting 20 mn, before another try and...always here...
Finally a group arrives with a "natural" guide and he says we act right...It was a "cinammon" black bear.
It takes finally 20 mn more to have the trail free of it(we didn't know if there was only 1 or..2 bears...) : on the pictures I think 2...
After this episod, the way down has been done with caution and we saw only another big bear on the slope, far from us, but as we can see it without binocular, we preferr to see it from far because it seems very big...Salome was very happy of this day, as you can imagine!!We arrive at the inn, with the rain and so perfect timing...

That was our final hike as the bad weather was here for our 2 last days(the project was Rockwell falls on the two medecine part for the 4th of August and Milk creek near hamilton for the 5th...) and finally we drive highway 2(after repering some place for next year), a stop in Kallispel(lunch, shops,...), a
swimm in Flathead lake, a stop to the people center in Pablo and then diner at Blue Montain Bed and Brakfast for the 4th. of August.
On the 5th, we visit Missoula(Smokejumper center, art museum, historic building tour, shopping, a moovie -the ugly truth and it was as bad as the title... and a nice diner at the Pearl cafe).

Those 3 weeks were perfect :
- nice hotels, lodges, inns, ...
- some nice restaurants;
- a lot of wildlife;
- some so nice hikes...with a lot of impressive sites...
- a teen who discovers that life is not only cell phone, internet and TV, but more interesting are hiking, nature,
quietness, effort and family...
And so we will be back next year because as Salome says "there are some trails we didn't hike and some bears we didn't see...."
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 02:57 PM
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Thank you for the wonderful report. We are considering Yellowstone next year with two teenagers, so it's good to know that your daughter loved it enough to go want to go back.

We are from the UK but we will hopefully be emigrating to Canada next year, before our trip.

I will be printing out your report to take advantage of your hotel and dining recommendations.
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Old Oct 8th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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I was reading through all of your trip reports and finding them very interesting. What other national parks in the US have you been to?
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Old Oct 8th, 2012, 03:29 PM
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Erik's latest trip was this past August to Glacier.

I think there was also a report for last year as well.
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Old Oct 8th, 2012, 08:18 PM
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Great trip report. I have two teens and I love how you and Anny carry on as normal when there is a small incident or breakdown.

You do a great job summarizing your hikes. I am amazed how many lakes Anny swam in during your trip.
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Old Oct 9th, 2012, 03:43 AM
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We visited numerous national parks and monuments and some state parks.
While in a "region" we try to minimise car's drive and so often we have 3-4 years and more...and will have some projects for future...

In California : Yosemite, Sequoia & King's canyon, Death valley, Anza Borrego,

In Florida, The Everglades

In a large "four corners area",not limited at the small part but at the whole states we visited :

- New Mexico : White Sand, Carlsbad, El Morro and El Malpais NM, Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelley, Shiprock, Salmon ruins, Aztec NM, Fort Sumner, Fort Union, Gila Cleef Dwelling NM, Puye Cliff dwelling NM, bandelier NM, Bitsi wilderness, Petroglyph, Sandia peak, Acoma, Jemez NM.

- Colorado : Mesa Verde, Ute mountain tribal park.

- Arizona : Montezuma Castle, Saguaro NP, Casa Grande NM, Sunset crater, meteo crater, Painted Desert ansd Petrified forest, Wupatki and Walnut, Goosenecks sp, Navajo national monument(Keet sell hike), Sabino canyon recreation area,

- Texas : Guadalupe mountains national park, Palo Duro canyon.

- Utah : Arches, canyonlands(needles and island in the sky), Dead Horse, Grand Gulch primitive area(with guide), Monument valley and Mistery valley, Valley of the Gods, Natural Bridges NM, Great salt lake,.
- South Dakota : Custer state park, Mount Rushmore, Wind cave, Crazy Horse memorial, Mammoth site, Badlands, Bear butte, Spearfish canyon,

- Wyoming : Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Devil's tower

- Montana : Glacier NP, Jewel bassin recreational area, Numerous ghost towns(Virginia City, Elkhorn, Garnett,...), some hikes in the bitterroot valley...

I begin to write trip reports on Fodors only from South Dakota 2006 and so all our four corners trip with hikes, and all the New Mexico trips have not been described.
California was our first USA trip, honeymoon, part of a 3 weeks sejour(1 week in NY, 1 week in Louisiana-plantations-and 1 week in California).
2013 will be a return in Glacier and then 2014 certainly back to Yellowstone/Grans Teton and Bitterrot valley.
If we think we'll be OK with this part the project will be Rocky Mountain Nat'l park and Denver's area or Seattle to san Franciso via Portaland, but in 2 or 3 years to visit with enough times all the park there(Crater Lake, redwwod, lassen volcanic, North cascades, Olympic, Mount Rainier,...).
A "come back" to the four corners area is also in project and the south Utah's parks not yet visited(Zion, Bryce, lake Powell, Escalante, Cathedral, Grand Canyon,...).
I think we have 20 more years needed to visit all of those...
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