National Parks: Mountain West Edition

After a stunning time in Olympic National Park–trail running on the magical Hoh and soaking up the sights at Ruby Beach–we began the long journey east.

Though Elizabeth has spent some time in the Mountain West during winter, this was Angela’s first time in this part of the country and we’ve loved the beauty of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Our first stop was Glacier National Park where we had about 72 hours of non-stop rain and freezing temps, but that didn’t stop us from catching the jaw dropping views when the rain stopped.

lake mcdonald

Lake McDonald the morning the rains stopped

We had sunny skies once we arrived on the east side of the park where the amazing views, bear-spray-laden hikes, alpine lakes, and snow-capped mountains never ceased to take our breath away.

glacier

GNP. Seriously.

Of course, we had to celebrate all this beauty by taking jumping photos. Riah is becoming quite the jumping expert.

glacier jumpsBetween Glacier and Yellowstone, we stopped to stock up on groceries in Bozeman, which had a fabulous dinosaur-themed playground for Riah. And Riah’s birthmom’s sister, brother-in-law, and nieces were passing through, so we all got to play together.

adoption family bozeman

Celebrating family in Bozeman

Yellowstone impressed us more than we thought it would. Between bison, wolves, deer, elk, bear, fumeroles, hot springs, mud pots, waterfalls, and canyons, we were constantly amazed.

 

After a day in Yellowstone, Angela’s dad and brother rode their motorcycles out from Atlanta. So, we got to enjoy some date nights and fun family hikes.

Ang even had the chance to do a big hike–8,500 feet–with her little brother. It was stunningly beautiful, which compensated for how painful it was…

bunsen peak

A steep climb through sage, rocks, and snow atop Bunsen Peak

From Yellowstone we made the short drive to Grand Teton National Park and the adorable town of Jackson, WY. The hike to Taggart Lake takes the cake in the Tetons.

But the homesteads were pretty spectacular, too.

homestead tetons

Riah scopes out the view from an old homestead

Hands down, the most spectacular view was in the Gros Ventre Forest just outside the Tetons…

tetons

Seriously. It didn’t even seem real.

We’d like to return to the Tetons when Riah is a little older so we can do hikes longer than 5 miles and enjoy the bicycle paths everywhere. Three days before the Jackson Hole Half Marathon, we almost registered to run it. Fortunately, we did not because, unfortunately, I got a stomach bug!

We continue to be overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounds us and we’re grateful for the family and friends who have joined us along the way. Next stop…Colorado!

 

 

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