Yellowstone and Grand Teton Adventure: Part Two or Raspberries, Flower Fields and Verdant Meadows
Day 3 (Days 1 & 2 can be found here)
Invigorated after the good night's sleep, we woke up, packed our bags and hit the road! Our next stop was in Alpine, Wyoming, and we didn't have much planned for the day except to enjoy the beautiful drive and gawk at the stunning imagery behind the window. However, as we were zooming down the curvy highway, our 7-year-old son Max suddenly yelled out in excitement. Apparently, Max noticed a cave on the side of a mountain, and he wanted to "sneak inside and explore it". To my surprise, Chris turned around and pulled over, playing along and saying that "yeah, sure, we can do some cave-diving, Max!".
Naturally, no cave-descending took place on that sunny July afternoon, but, as we were peering into the dark waters of the cave and checking out the area, we did run into a local guy who recommended that we make a stop at Garden City, Utah, and try their world-famous raspberry shakes. When a lady at the welcome center AND a family who took our picture with bright-blue Bear Lake shimmering in the background mentioned the raspberry shakes as well, we were undoubtedly intrigued. We bought our enormous shakes at the Chevron gas station, and they were indeed the best milkshakes we have ever tried in our lives! As we drove further into town, we realized that pretty much every eatery there had a huge sign advertising "the famous raspberry shakes", and something tells me that they are delicious no matter which store you buy them at. If I piqued your interest and you don't happen to be anywhere near Garden City, Utah, I have found a copycat recipe here, and I can vouch that the shakes made according to this recipe were indeed delicious.
Feeling happy and refreshed, we then headed over to Garden City public beach where the boys rented some kayaks. The water in Bear Lake was so baby-blue, it almost looked tropical, so Chloe and I hung out on the beach, enjoying the scenery and taking in all the beauty of the area. The only thing we forgot was the sunblock, and we did end up with a sunburn that day. So... if you're ever there, don't make the same mistake!
The water and beach activities were followed by a very nice barbecue lunch, after which we jumped in the car and headed over to Alpine, Wyoming.
On the way there we passed through Paris, Idaho, and took some pictures in front of their rather impressive tabernacle. All of the above was especially ironic considering that we were supposed to be in France at that time if not for the Virus That Shall Not Be Named. But then again, the older I get, the more convinced I become that Mother Universe has a heck of a sense of humor - which makes life rather exciting, to say the least :).
After passing through Paris, Montpelier and Geneva :), we finally made it to our destination for the night, Bull Moose Lodge and Saloon in Alpine, Wyoming. The motel definitely had a character of its own and was so very laid back in comparison to Salt Lake City that saying we truly enjoyed our time there would be an understatement.
First, we relaxed in our room, had some snacks and nurtured our sunburns, and around 7 o'clock we decided it was time to go grab some dinner at the saloon. The moment we walked into the saloon, I felt like I'd been transported into a western movie with real cowboys, who could start a crazy bar fight any second. Obviously, they didn't, but I have already told you that I have an overactive imagination, haven't I?
The evening got even more interesting when we realized that an open mike night was taking place at the saloon, and the organizers were encouraging everyone to participate. It only took us thirty minutes of whining to convince Chris - who is an amazing musician, by the way - take the stage and perform. Chris did it on his own terms though - as he tends to do most things in life. :) He first talked to the other musicians asking them to join him on stage, and then he convinced our son Max to come up and sing with him. And I'll tell you what - it was definitely a night to remember! Our 11-year-old son Liam filmed Chris and Max, and after that, Max got to sign his name on the wall of fame, which had also been signed by Great White and the Allman Brothers. Well, and Chloe just had to jump behind the piano because she can't stand not being the center of attention :).
Obviously, after such an action-packed night out, we fell fast asleep the moment our heads touched the pillows!
I woke up bright and early and decided that the first thing I wanted to do that morning was to go out and get a fresh cup of Joe. Max and Chloe figured they'd go with me, and imagine our surprise when we swung the door open and were met with crystal clear air, unforgettable view of the green mountains and... the 35-degree weather! It is funny how no matter how many times we go to the mountains, I persistently keep forgetting to do two things that matter the most - apply sunblock and pack warm clothes for early mornings (and late nights; but we are a family with 3 kids, so we don't do late nights :). Not anymore anyway).
After we did manage to get some coffee and brekki items at the nearby grocery store despite the "Arctic" cold, we threw our suitcases in the car and headed to Jackson Hole.
Jackson Hole was extremely busy (even though it was the crazy summer of 2020), and we didn't feel like stopping there for too long. We did manage to take a few awesome pictures, including this one with the mysterious rainbow eye levitating over us. It was pretty cool. Freakishly cool.
Having no plans whatsoever for that day but to get to our next stop at the Teton Teepee Lodge in Alta, Wyoming, we stopped at a few very random and very cool places we spotted as we were zooming down the inexplicably picturesque road - like this sunshine-kissed and vibrant field of yellow flowers somewhere close to the Idaho-Wyoming border and a quaint playground overlooking the majestic Grand Tetons.
When at the playground, we struck up a conversation with a mom who was hanging out there with her two kids. She told us that they had also been staying at the Teton Teepee Lodge (and that it was amazing), and she recommended to us a cool hike, the starting point for which was located just 5 minutes down the road. You have probably already noticed, my darling readers, that wherever we go - and on the road of life in general - we tend to follow signs that magically appear by themselves, following the bizarre yet innately familiar law of universal synchronicity. So - we took the advice and followed the directions given to us by our new acquaintance.
To say that the hike was incredible would truly be an understatement. The brightness of the green vegetation, the crisp mountain air, vivid multicolored wild flowers popping up here and there, and, of course, a delicious picnic on the verdant meadow - all of that was truly unforgettable. Plus, I did the hike while drinking rose wine straight from the bottle. (Yeah, I don't really hike - and that's the only way I would ever agree to do it ;).
Pleasantly exhausted after our hike, we headed over to the Teton Teepee Lodge, which was by far the best hotel we stayed at on that trip. As a matter of fact, looking back on it, had we known how much we'd like it, we would have stayed there longer. I would personally definitely recommend skipping Jackson Hole all together and using the Teton Teepee Lodge as the base for exploring the Grand Teton area. It is a longer drive to Grand Teton National Park as opposed to that from Jackson Hole (about an hour from the hotel to the park entrance), but it's so worth it! The owners were extremely hospitable, and you could tell that the place was built and run straight from the heart. Plus, we met some amazing fellow travelers there! All of the 18 rooms are facing the circular lobby with a beautiful fireplace as its centerpiece, and everyone who stays there tends to come out into the lobby to socialize, sip on some wine and play board games. The hotel also has an arcade/game room that our kids loved and a really cool wine-drinking spot on the upper floor with an amazing view of the Tetons. Can you tell I liked this hotel? :)
We ended our day in style, roasting marshmallows by the river and watching the sun sink behind the magnificent Teton range. Then, absolutely exhausted - but in a good sort of way - we drifted off to sleep dreaming, yet again, about the road that awaited us the next day.
To be continued...
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