Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts- Vacation Edition

I have never played the lottery, but I might need to start so that I can afford a summer home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Grand Tetons were hands down the prettiest place I've been to in the United States, and other than Banff, maybe ever (yup, more so than other very naturally attractive places I have been to, like Hawaii, Tahoe, the Caribbean, and Tuscany!). We've been home for a few days and I am wistfully going through pictures, so I'll use this post to relive some of the memories:

We flew from Southern California to Salt Lake City super early in the morning, since I wanted some time to start vacationing that day still. I conferred with one of Scott's cousins who lives up there and she gave me the prettiest route from Utah to Wyoming- the five hours flew by because I could not stop drooling over the landscape (Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming). Sawyer is a great little traveler, so despite leaving the house at 3:40 am he was in good spirits for the rest of the day. 

When we arrived we quickly dumped our stuff at the hotel, drove to the Tetons (about 20 minutes from our hotel in Jackson Hole) to scope out the next day's trailhead, went back to town to hit up the grocery store, and then walked around before dinner. We had a suite, but I generally make it a point to NOT cook on vacation. Since we were going to be hiking all day I had to get some provisions, though, and was thankful for the kitchen to keep everything. 

Oh, and we also had to rent bear spray, a first for me. The nice man at the wilderness supply store answered all of Sawyer's 8297429 questions- employee of the year. 

The next day we drove to Jenny Lake, which is just impossibly stunning. Ever five minutes either Sawyer and I would just say, "it's so pretty!" It was raining a little bit when we first arrived, so we waited for it to pass and then did a nine mile hike that took us all the way around the lake with a detour for a waterfall and a lookout. I can't get over the views of the Tetons and the lake- take me back! That night we walked into Jackson Hole for take out, which we ate at a park. We heard honks and yelling, which turned out to be a protest in the town square (the Roe ruling came out that day). We hung out there for awhile and then walked to an Elk preserve and saw zero elk (still super pretty). There was also excessive ice cream eating, as to be expected. 

The following day we did a ten mile hike in another part of the Tetons, near Jackson Lake. Also stunning, but a bit more buggy (poor Sawyer, they loved him). We then drove up to the Jackson Hole ski resort and took a tram up over 4,000 feet to Rendezvous Mountain (which tops out at 10,450 feet). I am not afraid of heights, but I was a tiny bit concerned about mechanical failure... luckily there was a waffle shack at the top that kept my eye on the prize. There was also a lot of snow, which was super cool for Sawyer. 

The next day we drove to Yellowstone! They are using an alternating license plate system to help curb the crowds after the flooding, so we didn't have to fight throngs of people to see Old Faithful or any of the geothermal pools (which were so awesome). We also had the total Yellowstone bison experience- we got stuck in a traffic jam with them and were able to park and be within a few yards. They smell horribly, but it was worth it. Sawyer and I were absolutely giddy. 

Then we drove back to Salt Lake City and came home!

All in all, it was one of my favorite trips, ever. There were two snafus, though, which I feel obligated to mention so that it doesn't seem like complete perfection. Right after I drove through the Tetons and was headed into Yellowstone Delta texted me that they had canceled my flight for the next morning and rescheduled it twenty-four hours later. That was not going to work, but I had basically no cell service. Eventually I had one bar, pulled over and managed to get a flight home for the right day and four hours earlier. While waiting for the change I managed to get another night at the hotel, but the car had to be taken back, since rentals are out of control. Nonetheless, it was taken care of in an hour or two and ended up fine. And considering the state of current air travel I was pretty sure something would happen! 

The second issue happened when we arrived at our hotel in Salt Lake, less than ten hours from when we had to leave for our new return flight. Sawyer was in horrible stomach pain- it almost ended up being like a weird bout of quick food poisoning... or something? Without details, I was a little stressed because there was not backup plan (I ALWAYS have at least one). I couldn't take a sick kid on an airplane (we had to leave the hotel at 5 am the next morning) and I couldn't drive home to California because of the rental situation. I slept very little and even at 1 AM he was still whimpering in his sleep. Miraculously, when I woke him at 4:45 he was 100% fine. 

So, a few hours of stress in one trip- not bad! I'll take it! Traveling requires flexibility and traveling alone with a kid even more so! 

One thing I've always known but spent quite a bit of time thinking about this trip was that I am not in love with where I live (I live in Socal, but inland, where it's hot, dry, crowded, and a little too conservative). Sure, I can drive to the mountains, beach, or desert in an hour or two, which is awesome, but there are just so many more natural places out there. I'm not moving, since I do love my life here (friends, house, job), but it just reinforces my determination to travel. 

Oh, and I did read Tom Perrotta's new one and most of David Sedaris' while in airports, especially. 

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