Many thanks to all who helped make this an unforgettable vacation. If interested, I also posted reviews of every place we stayed. Just hit my handle. Here's the link to all the photos and videos:
My wife and I had a fabulous time in the Grand Tetons, Glacier, Waterton and Yellowstone. Although we enjoyed everything, it was Glacier that left the biggest impression on us. That is one place we want to return. I think next time we’ll do Glacier with Banff and Jasper. I tried to be somewhat brief. I'm sure I forgot something.
Day 1: Fly into Jackson Hole at 12:30, check into Buckrail Lodge an hour later. Drive back to the Tetons and surveyed the park for a few hours. Went to Albertson’s and K-Mart for food and supplies, hit the sack from exhaustion.
Day 2: Boat ride across Jenny Lake, hiked to Inspiration Point and a half-mile or so into the canyon. Drove to Signal Mountain Summit for some great views. Heading back we stopped and did the Taggart Lake Hike, completing the loop trail back to the car. Took Moose-Wilson Road back to Jackson and stopped by Teton Village to see our lodging (Alpenhof Lodge) for the last night of the trip. Explored Jackson in the evening, having dinner at the Cadillac Grille. Sat at the bar and watched the all-star game.
Day 3: On the way to Big Sky. Saw northern end of Tetons (Colter Bay for half an hour), then headed to Old Faithful. We covered all the geyser basins heading toward West Yellowstone. This took most of the day. We finally rolled into the Lodge at Big Sky at 8:30. Ordered a pizza and ate in.
Day 4: Half-Day Raft Trip on the Gallatin River with Montana Whitewater. Great fun! Lots of class III rapids and one class IV. Drove to Missoula taking the Anaconda-Pintler Scenic Highway on the way. A good alternative to saying on I-90 the whole time. The road does move along. Georgetown Lake is a good spot to rest. Checked into the Hawthorne Suites, checked out Missoula, U of Montana, and ate at Outback because I had a $50 gift card.
Day 5: National Bison Range, Flathead Lake, lunch at Finley Point State Park, Bigfork, checked into Historic Tamarack Lodge, explored Lake McDonald area, stopped at the LM lodge for a bite to eat at the bar.
Day 6: Hiked to Avalanche Lake with a packed lunch. Saw more of Lake McDonald, then got cleaned up and checked out Whitefish and Kalispell. Stopped at Safeway and Target for more stuff before 4 nights in the park.
Day 8: Nasty storms in the morning so we got a late start. We hiked to St Mary and Virginia Falls. Drove to Many Glacier Hotel, checked in, and basically spent the late afternoon enjoying the views with a few beverages on the balcony. Had dinner downstairs in the tavern, which was busy.
Day 9: Drove to Waterton Lakes for the day. This was the only day we didn’t see the sun, although it didn’t rain, just cloudy. We had an OK time, maybe I was expecting more. Maybe the gloomy day played a factor. Drove to Cameron Lake, walked to Akamina Lake, came back to the town, then took the shuttle out to Red Rock Canyon and did a couple short hikes. Checked out the town, lots of mule deer everywhere, saw our first bear of the trip in Waterton. We were going to hang out for dinner, but didn’t want to get caught in the dark leaving. Hardly any traffic crossing the border. Had dinner at the Swiftcurrent Restaurant after checking in.
Day 10: Ranger led Grinnel Glacier Hike. One of the highlights of our trip. Had dinner again at Swiftcurrent Restaurant, we like the place.
Day 11: Drove down to Two Medicine and East Glacier Park on the way to Bozeman. Stopped in the Glacier Park Lodge. It’s a nice looking old lodge. Too bad it’s nowhere near the main sections of the park. Checked into the Residence Inn in Bozeman. Headed into town for “Music on Main Street”. Every Thursday Main Street is blocked off for live music, food and drink. Lots of fun, a block party in Bozeman.
Day 12: Drove Beartooth Highway and Chief Joseph Highway to Cody. Actually drove as far as Cooke City and turned around. Great scenic road! Checked into the Best Western, hit the shootout at the Irma, then took the shuttle bus to the rodeo. A long day to say the least.
Day 13: Buffalo Bill Historic Center for a couple hours, hit Wal-Mart leaving Cody, checked out the Buffalo Bill Dam and it was on the way to Yellowstone. Checked into the western cabin at Canyon Section and explored the Grand Canyon ‘til dark. Had a bite to eat in the lounge.
Day 14: Mount Washburn hike, a lot of fun with plenty of scenery. Took a ride up to Lamar Valley. Then came back and did some of the canyon hikes (Uncle Toms, Brink of Lower Falls). Ate at the Canyon dining room and it was the worst meal we’ve had in a long time. Oh well, can’t be good every night.
Day 15: Did the upper loop, hitting the rest of the geysers and springs. The Mammoth Springs area was very nice. Took a ride to Gardiner, and then took a dip in the boiling river. That was definitely worth it. Grabbed an early dinner at the café in Mammoth. Took another ride through Lamar Valley in the early evening before heading back to canyon.
Day 16: Drove the west side of Yellowstone Lake heading toward Teton Village and explored West Thumb Geyser Basin. A good end to our time in Yellowstone. Hung out at Teton Village for the evening as our flight was at 8am.
Day 17. Who knew that our connecting flight in Chicago would get cancelled and we would be spending the night at O’Hare. At least United put us up at the Crowne Plaza. Ended up getting home 24 hours later than planned.Edited: 06 August 2010, 04:32