How can you miss your national parks if they never go away?

My sons Aren and Iden Elliott jump for joy on Friday, the second day we visited Grand Teton National Park.

Maybe we should thank the United States Congress for shutting down our government, which closed America’s national parks for 16 unbearably long days.

I am.

For most of last week, my family and I entertained ourselves in our vacation rental at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, waiting, hoping, praying that Grand Teton National Park would reopen.

Really it was no hardship. Our vacation home, the Colter Ridge Lodge, had plenty going on. We had moose trekking past the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the vast natural landscape and a memorable early morning bear sighting from the bubbling security of our indoor hot tub.

Inside was just as cozy and nice. We enjoyed hot chocolate around the breakfast nook and made s’mores by the fireplace while checking the news to see if the parks would finally open their gates.

We were glad we’d decided to stay in a home because we had plenty of room and things to do. Imagine being confined to a hotel room with the whole family. Our place was a spacious four bedroom house with really comfy beds, comfortable living rooms were spread across two floors. The structure was built right into the rugged mountainside and made you feel like you were a part of nature. But one of the best parts of staying in the managed vacation rental was that the staff, especially the folks at Jackson Hole Resort Lodging, were able to point us in the direction of adventures we might not have thought to try while waiting for the weather or in our case the government ruling to change.

And when Grand Teton National Park finally opened last Thursday, we immediately drove our rental car to the closest entrance.

“Welcome back,” I said to a smiling park ranger.

“Glad to be back,” he replied. And he sounded like he meant it.

I handed him my credit card and my National Parks annual pass, and asked him for a renewal. Ours had expired during the closure, fittingly.
Continue reading “How can you miss your national parks if they never go away?”

Wild about Jackson Hole

Crisp and cold!

Even though we usually have a great time wherever we go, I wasn’t sure about this trip. The government shutdown meant we wouldn’t be able to visit the national parks a key part of any trip to Wyoming and Montana. Still I kept my hopes up. I took this photo of Jackson Hole ski resort as we drove toward the mountain on our way to our vacation rental. I edited this by going into photoshop and changing the colors to feel a little warmer and them brighter. Continue reading “Wild about Jackson Hole”