When both parents work and kids are in school as well as participating in extracurricular activities, time tends to fly by between family trips. Last year we opted not to take a family summer or winter trip due to just buying our new house and needing to fix it up a bit. So this summer we decided to Go Big! Our trip this summer is encompassing 28 days. I am fortunate to work for undoubtedly one of the best bosses in the world, enabling me to take all this time off from work. Laura works remotely now and is able to do a little work every night before bed.
Flights, Utah, and Idaho
One of these years I will learn my lesson and spend the extra money to travel a month later in the summer out west. However, we could not have asked for a better travel day thanks to Southwest and TSA. We had 0 delays, 0 lost bags, 0 crazy people, and 2 kids who behaved themselves unbelievably well for flying a total of 9 hours in a day, renting a car, driving 30 more minutes to a hotel for the night and finally getting to sleep around 2am eastern time.
We didn’t spend much time in Utah, but we drove through the Northern portion on the way to Idaho and it really is a beautiful area. It was off and on rainy the whole drive, but we were fortunate there was enough sun to enjoy the best parts of this quick jaunt.
For Idaho, we came back to an area we fell in love with on our trip out here 3 summers ago; the Teton Valley, specifically Driggs and Victor, Idaho. These two towns are separated by about 10 miles, but are closer than you’d imagine. We stayed in a great AirBnB this trip in Victor, Idaho. The place is a converted barn, but is really a great place, the owners live on the property and they are very friendly. We were sure hoping for some of the sunsets they usually get from this place, but unfortunately all we saw was rain and snow….on June 8th. However, that didn’t stop us from exploring.
We began our hiking adventure by hiking the Darby Canyon Wind Cave trail (clicking on the link takes you to my review and a few photos and details of our hike). In all it was close to a 7 mile hike with an almost 2,000 foot elevation climb. Both of our kids, Evan (8) and Olivia (5) did the entire hike like champs. The temps were in the low 50s, it was cloudy, and rainy and the entire last half mile or so of the trail was entirely covered in snow! If I ever plan better, my kids will be absolutely champs on trails with no mud or snow at all. Shots of some pics are below, but they don’t nearly do the views any justice, click each one to enlarge. We were constantly surrounded by clouds so getting glimpses of the rest of the Tetons as the trail usually promises were not very successful. However, we did manage to have fun and enjoy our time as well.
Today we spent a lot of time in the car as it snowed just about the entire day and we were all pretty wore out still from our hike. We started off with breakfast at Big Hole Bagels in Driggs. The food was fantastic and the prices were great. We definitely over ordered having no clue how big everything would be. The pancake was bigger than my daughters head…she also ordered eggs and bacon and actually finished that, but the pancake is a different story. Fantastic service and great food, we highly recommend this place.
Our second stop today was in Rexburg at the Yellowstone Bear World. It was far less than I expected. We saw a lot of bears which was neat having never seen any on any of our hikes…Thank God. However, you drive through the park, which takes probably 10 minutes tops to look at a few deer, bison, and a lot of bears, but you pay per person to drive your own car. Adults cost $17 and kids are $10. That does give you access to their walk through petting area with chickens, deer, pigs, and ducks as well as the small amusement type rides. However, I think we were there maybe an hour at the most. If I had to look back on it I probably would not do it again, even though both kids enjoyed seeing the bear cubs.
We did another very short hike to Upper Mesa Falls. If you can, try and go when it is going to be sunny. The falls are truly amazing regardless, but in the sun you can catch a rainbow in the mist floating up to the sky from the bottom of the falls. There’s a forest service building at the entrance to the trail full of information, stamps, gift shop, and you can get your National Park Pass stamped which is a plus for us!
Lastly we made our way back into town and FINALLY got view of the Tetons for the first time this trip. They had previously been blocked by clouds and we truly enjoyed being able to see them for all their splendor. If you’ve never seen them before they truly are beautiful, especially when covered with snow. We stopped and ate dinner at TJ’s Grill & Pizzeria in Driggs. What a great little place. The pizza was delicious, our server Jake was truly excellent, they are small, but quick and excellent service with great food.
That’s it for our first 4 days of our trip….onward to Bozeman, Montana to spend some time with our friends the Passmore’s! The kids have not stopped talking about seeing their friends again and time always go by so long before we realize we haven’t seen each other!