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Trip Report YNP, GT and Driggs 10 day trip 8/13-8/22 - great time was had by all!

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Thanks to all of you for your advice and trip itineraries. I started planning this trip and year ago and can't believe it is over! We ( dh and kids, 10 and 12) stayed in Signal Mountain Lodge for 2 nights, then on to Canyon Western Cabin for 2 nights then to Snow Lodge Western Cabins for 2 nights, and then to a lovely home in Driggs Idaho for the final 3 nights. A lot of folks questioned the Driggs part but I have to say it was a peaceful and relaxing way to end this wonderful vacation, and we loved meeting the locals. Also, after sharing a hotel room for 6 nights, having the extra space and ability to do laundry was lovely. The delicious restaurants, hot tub and perfect Teton views weren't bad either!

We had heard that August was very crowded in the parks. I was dreading the crowds but we did not find either park to be very crowded. The weather in the parks was lovely-70s with hardly any rain, no humidity and no mosquitos. Wildflowers were all over. A woman in YNP told us the crowds dropped off on the 13th-the day of our arrival! We also saw a lot of animals. Friends of ours went in early June and had cold weather, snow, etc. Am much happier we went in August.

Last month I tore my meniscus and have surgery scheduled for Sept. I was a bit worried about my ability to hike but a cortisone shot and knee brace really helped. We did not hike as much as I wanted but did more than I expected with this injury.

We flew into Idaho Falls and stocked up on breakfast and picnic lunch items at Walmart and one of many bad hamburgers on this trip at McDonalds. The 2 hour drive to Signal Mountain Lodge started out with scenic views of the dark green pastures and the golden wheat and hay. This quickly changed to dark dark skies and rain and thunder. Scary ride over the Teton Pass.

Weather cleared when we arrived at LSR at 3:30 to do the Phelps Lake hike. We fist toured the visitors center and then started the hike. We were almost to the lake when some folks told us they saw 2 black bears farther up. We did not have bear spray.

Conceptually, I love the idea of hiking in such a natural habitat but the actual thought was quite scary! We started singing and chatting to make our presence known. Kids got too scared so we turned back. We then met some other hikers and continued on with them. We always felt more secure in numbers. We did see the bear but it was about 50 yards away. We arrived at the lake-its was lovely. We saw a bald eagle right above us. Creaped out by the brown squirrels (we don't have these on the East Coast) that make awful sounds. Chipmunks adorable. On the way back (my husband and I were now very alert for bears) my husband stopped and alerted us to a black bear that was no more than 20 feet away! He saw us but continued playing in the meadow. Phew! 2 bears and we just arrived.

We left LSR and checked in Signal Mountain Lodge. We reserved a rustic cabin with 2 br and 3 double beds. It was fine but dark and rustic. Beds comfy. I originally had cabin 101 but kept calling to see if we could get one on the lake with a view and we got room 144 due to a cancellation-on the lake with a view. Kids went down to lake and played a bit. We saw kids with floats and tubes-great idea for next time. We then ate outdoors and had the mound of nachos for dinner with a beer and a great view. Unpacked and went to bed early to be on the early boat for Jenny Lake. Lovely to go to sleep hearing the waves lap on the shore.

Awoke early (6 am) to find it was raining. We knew the next day was supposed to be sunny so we decided to do the Jenny Lake hike tomorrow and do the Taggert Lake hike today. By 9 the sun had come out and we were on our way. This was a favorite hike. It was more open than Phelps and views were spectacular. Green clear lake and glacier views. Folks told us a mama moose and her baby were swimming in lake but they were gone when we arrived. A lot of folks were swimming and wading in the lake. Wish we brought kid's swim suits. We met a nice woman from Jackson who taught us how to find huckleberries-mmm! Really enjoyed hiking along the river. The sound was so soothing. A bit nervous about another bear sighting but we did not see any animals on this hike.

We at lunch at SML-another awful hamburger. After lunch, we did the String Lake hike. Lovely lake, great views, folks paddle boarding and swimming-seemed like a very popular place. Kids went in to their thighs and want to return with swim suits another day to swim.

We drove to Church and toured Mormon row. To see a basic small house and the majestic Tetons in the back was a favorite moment and photo. We saw a moose on the banks of the Snake River. Cool!

Leeks pizza for dinner-funky place with good music and beer and decent pizza. Huge ice cream cones made my kids happy. Another very good day. Amazing stars and constellations tonight-clear skies. Super dark here.

Initial thoughts-am really appreciating the absolute openness of the land, the glaciers, the majesty of the Tetons, the sense of peace, the weather systems that make it look different moment by moment. Kids enjoying hiking more than I thought, especially 12 year old daughter. Suncreen absolutely needed and keep drinking water. It does help.

Tomorrow is son's 11th birthday and we will do Jenny Lake hike.

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