8. Five National Parks…Montana, Canada, Wyoming & Colorado 8.2011

Thursday 8.11

There were a few raindrops as we made coffee, ate breakfast & broke down the tent & packed up the car

  We were hoping to do one more hike before leaving...we knew this was a popular trail, so we’d be back in the swarms of people...but it didn’t matter...our time outside-away from our jobs & in the beauty of the west was coming to an end....we just wanted a little bit more!

The trail started at Jenny Lake...crystal clear water & forested trail that skirts the lake, leads to two “attractions”...Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point (Danny & I continually wonder how many “inspiration points” there are throughout the country...it seems there is at least one in every national park...Danny calls these “Group Inspiration Moments”

The hike, with all the people, took longer than we anticipated, so we popped out the money & took the ferry back across the lake to our car.  Here’s a few more pics of the Tetons...you can never really get enough!

I really DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE THIS PARK, but I was trying to be “adult-like”, so we starting driving south, out of the park...when we spied a brand new visitors center (since the last time I’d been here)...it’s really gorgeous!  So, we took a few minutes & went to see it  (We loved the bronze moose sculpture...so far...this was the first moose we’d seen in the park)

But, we’d just left the park, & just below the bridge....we found the REAL THING….

There were actually two, but the other one you could really only see the antlers...we were grateful we’d gotten to see this one

So, we headed to Jackson...a pretty neat town...with at least one brewery we needed to explore

Jackson’s famous Cowboy Bar & Antler Archway, both downtown

So, we had lunch at the brewery & tried some samples & a pint....& bought some to take home...yummy!

Soooo, here’s another part of our trip, I’m not sure I’ve mentioned...all along our travels, we’ve been trying a variety of Montana, Wyoming & Colorado beers...& trying to see & visit as many brewpubs as possible....it’s been a fun sideline to our trip....

& we’ve brought a bunch of beer home...beer we can’t buy here....it’s our little hobby I guess

Friday 8.12

We left Jackson headed to one more National Park...Rocky Mountain in my fav state of Colorado!

We knew we wouldn’t have time to hike, but thought it was worth the trip just to see the mountains & the views from Trail Ridge Road.  If you’ve never done this drive....it’s spectacular!  The last pic is a look at part of the road...the highest paved road in North America

We walked up to see the “Alluvial Fan” -- a site caused by flooding in 1982...so much water that it flooded all the streets in Estes Park

The lower pics are of Longs Peak....so amazing

We’ve done a lot of hiking in RMNP...sad not to get to do any today, but glad we got to see the Colorado Rockies

Estes has a public swim pool where we’ve bought showers before...so for the third time since we left home, we took nice, long hot showers & got all cleaned up & sweet smelling!

Then, it was onto (or back to) Fort Collins...where we started two weeks ago!

Our first stop was the tasting room at O’Dell’s.....sad to say, we only liked one of the 7 beers we sampled...then we went onto Equinox---a tiny little brewery with really yummy beer...we tried 3 samples there & would have brought some home, but they only sell it in growlers...then onto CooperSmiths....YUMEEE!  I had the Sigda’s Green Chili beer....which was wonderful (I think I’m a chili beer expert) & Danny had a glass of the cask Punjabi Pale Ale...we would have like to take some of both home, but they don’t bottle their beers either...but it was a tasty beer night!

It was time to eat some dinner & our bartender at Equinox recommended a vegan restaurant a couple of blocks off from downtown...”Tasty Harmony” & it was awesome food

We shared the nachos....made with black beans, guac, tomatoes....surrounded by chips...but the new foods we tried were “cashew cheese” & “Jackfruit”...all put together it was a delish dinner....we both would def eat there again

It was time to head back to Kansas (BOO!)...I’m NEVER ready to come back to the hum-drum of regular  life....I could stay out on the road....well, for a really, really, really long time....hundreds of places to see, thousands of things to do, you know what I mean?

But, this had been a wonderful trip...

we drove 4,300 miles, did some fantastic hiking, saw some incredible views, took some amazing photos, went to new places we’ve wanted to see for a long time...& did it together....that was special

It’s been such a great summer because I’ve spent most of it gone...on the road, in my tent, & mostly in the mountains

I’ve no upcoming travel plans....as of this minute...but who know what tomorrow will bring?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

r  A n D o M      t H o U g H t S 

I tried to talk Danny into a little side trip from Waterton Canada to Banff...about 600 miles RT....he said “no”....shoot! (Banff is on list of places to go also)

I tried to talk Danny into a little side trip from Jacskson WY to Victor, ID...about 20 miles... to visit the Grand Teton Brewing Company....he said “no”...(we can buy their beer here after all!)

As we passed by the Wind River Range in Wyoming, I really wanted to just chuck our jobs & stay & go backpacking....(probably a good thing one of us has common sense)

We had no cell service or internet for most of the first 9 days we were gone...not necessarily a bad thing

I don’t think our animals liked us being gone so long...they were all a little “indifferent” to us on our return

I have ZERO tolerance for horse flies & mosquitoes....Danny has lots for both

I want to spend my next birthday (in January) also hiking & camping in the mountains....I def think since it’s during the winter here, I should get to celebrate in South America...since it’s summer there (Danny, let me know if you need any help planning this for me!)

I “got to” meet a Wyoming State Trooper early one morning as he clocked me doing 84 in a 75....I just got a warning, a big smile & told to enjoy my trip...not having to pay for speeding ticket made me already start enjoying my trip!

It’s amazing the difference to hike in the wilderness areas vs. a national park...the hikers are sooo different as well as the camping.  I’m sure MOST of my future hiking will continue to be done in wilderness areas, or national forests or...way in the backcountry areas of the national parks

We were lucky...on our last day in Glacier, a 50 year old man was hiking on a trail we’d passed by & was attacked by a Grizzly Bear with cubs...he was ok....but I’m thankful it wasn’t my 50+ man (or me)

I saw a horrible wreck while driving through Montana at the crack of dawn one morning...I don’t see how anyone could have survived.  It really shook me up....& I thought about how quickly our lives can change...sometimes we think it might happen when you’re on the road traveling so much...but it can also happen just when you’re driving in your own town....it doesn’t matter how or when, it’s just so important to live every day packed with the best you can take from life...because a life can be gone so quickly or changed so cruelly

a B o U t   B e E r

Here’s a list of the other beers we tried and/or bought on our trip (or at least all we can remember):

Ft. Collins Brewery (Colorado): 

Incredible Hop, Imperial Black IPA, Imperial India Style Wheat Ale, Wheat Wine Ale, Maibock, Hefeweizen

Big Hole Brewery (Montana):

Mythical White

Flathead Lake (Montana)

Imperial India Pale Ale

Great Northern Brewing Company (Montana):

Wild Huckleberry Wheat, Wheatfish, Going to the Sun IPA

Red Lodge (Montana):

Bent Nail IPA

Madison River Brewing Company (Montana):

Salmon Fly Honey Rye, Hopper Pale Ale

Snake River Brewing, (Wyoming)

Pako’s, Zonker Stout

Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Colorado)

Union Jack IPA

Twisted Pine (Colorado)

Hoppy Boy

Grand Teton Brewing Company (Idaho)

Howling Wolf

CooperSmiths Brewing, (Colorado)

Sigda’s Green Chili beer, Cask Punjabi Pale Ale

Equinox Brewing (Colorado)

Smorter, Antipodal Dark IPA, Darth Vernal Dunkelweizen

O’Dell’s Brewing (Colorado)

Mycernary Double IPA, Rhu Brew, St Lupilin EPA, Hopfen, Noble IPA, Stone Barn Amber, Double Pilsner

note:  This may look like we did more drinking than hiking...but we were able to buy a lot of single bottles that we’d share, then move on to try another kind....plus we wanted to buy craft beer that’s not sold in Kansas or Missouri

and it’s not beer, but I was soooo glad to find .....

Outrageous Ginger Ale...

I am also a ginger ale expert (about the only soda I drink) & this is my all time fav brew & its made in Chico, California....I’m not able to buy it here in Kansas, so I was happy to find it & bring it back

a B o U t   LiFe

continue to enjoy it...



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