our last days in yellowstone and grand teton

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

This is the fourth and last post in which I’m sharing our itinerary for our recent trip out to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. The first three posts are here, here, and here – in case you missed them. 

Warning: Photo-heavy post ahead.

* * * * *

It’s been over a month since my last post about our summer trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and anxious this past week – which probably has something to do that tomorrow starts a 15 day stretch of work and 24/7 call. Today seemed like a good day to visit my photos from our trip and to share with you the last couple of days of that vacation. There were lots of powerful moments during those last two days, including spreading my father’s ashes at Lupine Meadows. I felt so connected to him in that place, and I can still feel the tug on my heart when I look back at these photos.

Days 7: Yellowstone National Park to Jackson, WY

We left our cabin and checked out of the Lake Lodge Hotel in Yellowstone on that Thursday morning. We had experienced such beautiful weather during the first days of the vacation, but these last two days would prove to be overcast and rainy.

After one more quick drive through the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – but no hikes due to the rain – we headed to the Mud Volcano area to explore the geothermal features there. The area was filled with gurgling mud pits and steaming ground. And the stench of rotten eggs.

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

The evidence of the fires in Yellowstone is obvious throughout the park, but it was most obvious on the drive south, from the West Thumb area down to the South Entrance. Naked, scorched trees stood in thick groves. Green grasses and flimsy, young trees pushed up from the earth among the dead pines that littered the ground, creating a beautiful contrast of the old and the new. The landscape was stark, and awed silence seemed to be the only appropriate response.

Until the bull elk was spotted, that is. Then the chaos of halting traffic and tourists climbing out of cars with smart phones, camcorders, and cameras began.

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

Can you see the bull elk hiding in the trees?

Our drive south to Jackson through the Grand Teton National Park was leisurely, and we revisited many places we’d stopped before. We regretted not spending more nights in the Grand Tetons. Neither Sam nor I were ready to return to civilization, with its traffic lights and street noise and Facebook.

Day 8: Jackson, WY, and Grand Teton National Park

On our last full day in Wyoming, we woke to grey skies and dreary, low hanging clouds. The striking vista of the Teton range was obscured by clouds, and if I hadn’t seen it earlier in the week, I almost wouldn’t have believed it existed.

Despite the weather, we donned our jackets (mostly rainproof) and our backpacks and headed out to hike to Inspiration Point, a trail off of Jenny Lake. This hike would turn out to be one of our favorite experiences of our trip.

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

A golden-mantled ground squirrel.

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet


grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

Later that day, after inhaling hotdogs at the Jenny Lake store – who knew hiking could create such ravenous hunger? – we drove over to Lupine Meadows again. From the first moment we saw this meadow, early on in our trip, I knew that Dad needed to be here. The rain cleared and the sun came out just long enough for us to spend some silent moments there. We were the only people in the meadow, and it was just as it needed to be.

Oliver picked a dandelion and laid it on the ground, near a clump of Lupine. “This is for Grandaddy,” he said.

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

Lupine in Lupine Meadows.

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

Lupine Meadows will always hold a spot in my heart.

As we drove out of the meadow, we passed a car stopped along the side of the road. Because we are smart tourists – quick to catch on to these type of cues – we knew that meant WILDLIFE HAS BEEN SPOTTED.

A gorgeous brown bear meandered through the meadow in our general direction, pausing to eat grasses and leaves along the way. We watched it for twenty minutes, at least, as it wandered aimlessly at first, and then with purpose as it climbed down into a stream, waded through the water, and then climbed out the other side. It disappeared into the tree line, without a look back.

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

When I think back on that last day in the Grand Tetons, I can’t help but get a bit emotional. It was the perfect end to our vacation. This was a vacation I will always remember, and I’m fairly certain my children will, too.

grand teton national park | the merry gourmet

 *   *   *   *   *

For more information on where we stayed and ate, during this final leg of the trip, here are some links:

  • Lake Hotel Dining Room – We had lunch here before heading south to Jackson. Reservations weren’t necessary, probably because most people are out exploring the park.
  • Wyoming Inn – This hotel was pure luxury after our national park hotel experiences. There wasn’t a pool, but the kids were satisfied with the free wifi access.  There’s not a true restaurant here (though they do serve a pricey breakfast in a dining room on the first floor), but it’s close enough to plenty of other restaurants.
  • Local – A reservation would have been helpful at this downtown Jackson steak and seafood restaurant, but our craving for good food was satisfied after only a 30 minute wait for dinner.
  • Bubba’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant – I hate to eat anywhere named Bubba’s (just a quirk of mine), but Bubba’s serves a darned good breakfast. Their giant breakfasts – and breakfast sausages – made this Oliver’s favorite restaurant of the trip.
  • Sidewinders American Grill – If you’re soaked and muddy from spending all day out in the rain, the wait staff won’t look twice. But they will seat you toward the back of the restaurant on a Friday night. The food was fine, nothing special, but the service was friendly. I do admit, though, that the evidence of the April landslide that affected the building that Sidwinders is in freaked me out a bit.
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21 Responses to “a new york city weekend”

  1. Winnie — March 20, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    So sorry you lost your camera, but this post and the pictures you do have made me smile…they are so beautiful! Was SO wonderful to meet you and I am so glad you enjoyed your trip 🙂

  2. What lovely photos! It looks as though you had a great trip. I myself am just itching to get back to NYC as I haven’t been since February of 2007! I definitely need to get back there and get tasting some great seafood and sipping on some lovely martinis!

  3. sweetsugarbelle — March 20, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

    This looks like heaven. To me NYC is magical. I dream of a visit. It seems like the most wonderful place on earth.

  4. Liren — March 20, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

    Sigh, your photos are making me nostalgic and reminding me that its time for me to plan a visit home. So glad you had fun, but so sad you lost your camera!

  5. Ethan — March 20, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

    It was a foregone conclusion you’d have a great time! NYC + all the twitter people = amazing!
    Thanks for the pictures (and sorry you lost your camera)

  6. Denise @ Creative Kitchen — March 21, 2011 @ 2:05 am

    So happy for you that you had such a great time in NYC with hubby! Couple getaways are SO important & wow…NYC, I can only imagine!! 😉 Your photographs are beautiful…I feel like I’m there. Great to see springtime, since I live in South Florida. The camera for me would be a huge bummer….but good for you, trying to roll with it.

    Can’t wait to meet you at FBF Orlando in a few weeks. Yes…Twitter is “magic.”

    Denise @ Creative Kitchen

  7. Macaroni Mama — March 21, 2011 @ 7:11 am

    Great photos!

  8. Brian @ A Thought For Food — March 21, 2011 @ 7:43 am

    I am so jealous that everyone got to meet you… looks like you had a wonderful trip filled with good weather and lots of food. Next time, come to Boston 😉

  9. Gail — March 21, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    I’m so glad I got to spend a little time with you during this glorious NY weekend!
    We’re all so lucky to have found each other through twitter. I know my life is my better for it.

  10. Lynda — March 21, 2011 @ 11:08 am

    New York never looked so beautiful – I wish it were closer to San Francisco! What a wonderful opportunity for you and a well deserved vacation.

  11. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — March 21, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    I guess I need to give NYC another chance. I spent one day there with my daughter and sister a few years ago after a wonderful vacation in Boston. We were tired, it was hot and those two girls decided a trip on the subway to see the Statue of Liberty was on their ‘have to’ list. Next time I’ll follow the beat to my own drummer and check out the city and food places I would love to visit.

    Love the pictures…even if fewer than you would have liked!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — March 23rd, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

      You definitely need to give it another try, Barb.

  12. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — March 21, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    So sorry that you lost your camera… But, glad that you had a good trip otherwise! It was so wonderful to see you again!

    Love all of your pictures… They are absolutely beautiful. 🙂

  13. Amy | She Wears Many Hats — March 21, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

    What a fun filled weekend! A tasty one too.

  14. Ken⏐hungry rabbit — March 21, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

    A pleasure to meet you and your hubby over cocktails at Pegu and a delightful dinner with the gang. Promise all of us you will come back soon, real soon.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — March 23rd, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

      I’m going to try my darndest!

  15. tom — March 22, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    wow what a sweet montage, the pics are some of the clearest I have seen, well done, tom

  16. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — March 23, 2011 @ 9:13 am

    I’ve pored over these pictures and soaked them in. Living vicariously, you know. We should plan this again soon. When I can actually be there! xox

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