After surviving our night in the windy forest, we both felt ready to pack up and move on. But before we could say our goodbyes to Yellowstone, we decided to squeeze in one last visit to Lamar Valley.
And the second time around? It was as magical and as amazing as the first. Much like our first visit, we saw bears, antelope, coyotes, and tons and tons of buffalo.
I seriously can’t get enough of these guys, they are just so cute. They are slow and a little odd, but hilariously cute. Eating, roaming, sitting, laying, sleeping, walking…they could pretty much be doing anything and I would love them.
It was truly the perfect last adventure to have in Yellowstone. We both were beaming as we arrived back at our campground, ready to pack up, get on the road and start the final part of our trip.
While the hubs got our camp packed up, I prepared a campfire breakfast. We didn’t realize until we were here that it is legal to have fires at any time of day, so we hadn’t packed perishable breakfast foods. Luckily, the Canyon facilities had a food store, so we stocked up on a few items to whip up a nice breakfast.
A hot breakfast in our stomachs, the after-glow of buffalo watching, and we were ready to hit the road. We drove South heading out of Yellowstone, and within a few short hours, we reached our next and final destination on our trip, Grand Teton National Park.
When you arrive, the views are immediately breathtaking.
After checking into our campground, we drove over to the ranger station to get help with our itinerary. Having come from such a large park, spending most of our days just driving in between spots, we were in the mindset that things would take an equally long amount of time here. Cue our slightly awkward and dry conversation with the ranger.
Me: “So, we wanted to drive around Jenny Lake, how many hours do you think we should allot for that?”
Ranger Dan: “Probably about 10 minutes.”
Me: “10 minutes!?!”
Ranger Dan: “Ummm yeah, its about 2 miles around.”
Me: “Oh okay, and so we heard about this place in town called Cowboy…”
Ranger Dan: “It’s a bar.”
Me: “Right, so is it worth a stop?”
Ranger Dan: “It’s a bar.”
So, after our enlightening conversation, we both came to the realization that in general, Grand Teton National Park is significantly smaller than Yellowstone.
Luckily as we were leaving the ranger station, we overheard a family talking about swimming in Jackson Lake. We hadn’t even considered it, as we assumed it would be way too cold. But, we decided to drive over and give it a look (the drive took approximately 3 minutes).
Upon seeing that tons of people were braving the shockingly cold waters, we decided to give it a go too. Well, it was freezing, I’m not going to lie, but after about 10-20 minutes your body adjusts (that or you are just so numb you don’t notice that you are freezing anymore.)
After our quick dip, which by the way is amazingly scenic, we got dried off and started our drive to do the main loop around the park. Originally we were thinking that this loop would take hours to complete, and days with all of the stops added in, but luckily Ranger Dan helped clear that all up for us.
Grand Teton is a very easy and straightforward park to visit. Since we were basically there to enjoy the views of the Tetons, our plan was to just drive the main loop and pull off at the various scenic view points.
So, drive and stop we did. And as you can see, we couldn’t help but stop for some more buffalo too!
We spent the better part of the afternoon just driving around and enjoying the views, it was very relaxing and very beautiful.
When we finished the loop, we headed back to our campground to set up for the night. While the Mr. got our tent all fixed and ready, I worked on dinner. Tonight’s menu? A steak fit for a cowboy and all the fixings too – potatoes roasted on the coals, asparagus and cornbread muffins.
Everything was cooking along and lining up just right. We were both just chomping at the bit, ready to dig in. Then something happened. The hubs had gone over to the car to grab a few things, and I went to the fire to flip the steak. Just as I had grabbed the steak, the fire flamed up and smoke got in my eyes. I flailed a little bit and “oh #*$%” exploded out of my mouth. “What happened, did you drop the steak into the ashes?” My husband asked, slightly panicked. “Ummmmmm…kind of.”
Yup, our almost perfectly cooked steak dropped directly into the ashes. Now, if there was another steak, no big deal. But, we had only bought one large steak to share. (Insert sad faces here.) But, when you are camping, you’ve got to get creative and make the most of it. So, we quickly grabbed some bottled water and “washed” the steak. We popped it back on the grill to cook off any other bits and voila! A no-longer charred, but hopefully still delicious steak.
We loaded up our plates and dug in – the asparagus was on point, the cornbread muffins? Best I had ever cooked them. The steak? Not too bad all things considered. And the potatoes? Huh, oddly crunchy. I had cooked them a good hour, but they seemed barely ready. So, we threw them back on the fire in a bid to get them properly cooked.
thank God for smores!
Well, eventually we got tired of waiting for them, so we just tucked into our new creation, potatoes al dente. Wine in hand, we enjoyed our dinner and shared some good chuckles about all that had happened. It’s like they say out here on the range, when life throws you an ash-covered steak, you make steak.