The Summary: 5 National Parks in 3 weeks…

THE FIRST ROAD TRIP:

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When we left Grand Teton National Park I didn’t want to admit that our road trip was over. We had such an incredible 3 weeks. I was really getting used to not showering every day, or every other day because I was camping in the back country. I wasn’t ready to give up my morning turkish coffee in the finjan (finn-jahn) over our little stove, or drinking a glass of wine or a cold beer by the camp fire each night, exhausted from a long day of hiking but so very happy.But the end was inevitable. The drive from the Tetons to Conifer is about 9 hours so I had  plenty of time to reflect on our trip and I began thinking about my top 5 experiences. This was a difficult list to construct but I feel that theses are the things that will stick firmly in my mind well into the future:

1. The Hermitage Point Hike in Grand Teton National Park

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2. Backcountry camping along Slough Creek in Yellowstone National Park

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3. Backcountry camping right on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 50 mph winds

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4. Hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park

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5. Just after sunrise in Bryce Canyon National Park when the air began to warm and the intense orange sandstone became alive with color

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As I was reflecting on our trip we were still scanning for wildlife. Although a lot of Wyoming is not mountainous, there is still wildlife to be seen. We saw a TON of antelope and a few hawks. One hawk caught prey in a sage brush field by the highway so we pulled over and got some great pictures. Then we saw a pair of hawks that had built a nest on top of a large sprinkler irrigation system feeding their little eyas.

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Along the drive I also began adding up our miles and other stats of the trip. I discovered that we Drove 4156 miles, saw 47 states’ license plates (We didn’t see West Virginia, Mississippi, or Hawaii. It was kind of given from the start that we wouldn’t see Hawaii, although I did see a Hawaii plate for sale in a shop in Venice Beach), we filled up with gas 17 times, went through 8 states, visited 5 National Parks, and then we got one speeding ticket. The speeding ticket was definitely a bummer, but its kind of a funny story. We were just outside of Rock Springs Wyoming with only 410 miles to home. Ronen was driving and I saw a sign that said “Wild Horse Viewing Area”. I told Ronen and he got so excited looking for wild horses that apparently he accelerated, and got a ticket for going 79 mph in a 65. Yikes. Oh well, at least the State Patrol gave us hints on where to find the horses, unfortunately, we didn’t see any.

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The last two and a half hours of the drive was pretty brutal. It was late and we were exhausted. We stopped for some coffee in order to push through and if it wasn’t for the caffeine and the new Colorado radio station Comedy 103.1 (http://www.comedy1031.com) I am not sure we would have made it. We were actually cracking up for the remainder of the drive and arrived home in one piece at 1:15 AM. We were attacked with kisses from our fur babies, Irie and Hoku, and then crashed asleep.

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Lastly, I want to say thank you to some of the wonderful people we met along the way:

-Dave and Katie in Zion, you guys are fabulous people and wonderful parents. I was so impressed with the drysuit for your little girl! All these kids were cold and ready to cry while hiking the narrows in a wetsuit but not yours, she was smiling and posing for one more picture.

-The bar tender at Piaci’s in Fort Bragg, CA. I cannot for the life of me remember your name and for that I am truly sorry, but I will never forget how much you made us laugh or your talent at wiggling your ears!

-Andre and friend (So sorry I forgot your name, I guess it was all the wine. That seems to be a trend with me…hmmm.) at the Blue Heron Lounge in Grand Teton National Park. You guys were awesome company and reassured me that Ronen wasn’t crazy for seeing the wolf! Thank you for the tips on great places to travel in the world. Because of your suggestions, we did make a few changes to our itinerary. We added a week in Slovenia and a few days in Iceland.

-And to all the National Park Rangers, especially the ones in the backcountry offices, thank you! Your guidance gave us amazing experiences that we would have never had without you pointing us in the right direction!

Travel in the Works:

USA:

  • Tons of hiking in Colorado
  • Minnesota via Omaha for the 4th of July (Yay Family Time!)
  • 3 day backpacking trip on a section of the Colorado Trail
  • Whitewater rafting the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The Big Trip:

  • Iceland (Diving the Tectonic Plates at midnight!)
  • Amsterdam
  • Greece and the Greek Islands
  • Croatia (Sailing, Diving and Snorkeling the Dalmatian Coast)
  • Slovenia (Hiking, Caving, Camping, and Castles)
  • Israel (Family time, Tel Aviv night life, the Old City of Jerusalem, Diving in Eilat, and Relaxing on the Mediterranean)
  • Africa…and onward east. Details to follow!