We decided that since the kids were getting older, we would start to branch out and not just go to the cabin every summer. We decided that every other summer we would do something different. This year, we planned a three week National Park vacation that included Canada. We had purchased a van that year so we had plenty of room for camping gear.
We started our vacation at a family reunion in Reno, Nevada. After a long weekend with family, we headed toward Grand Teton National Park. It was beautiful. We camped in a nice campground, explored Jackson, Wyoming and swam in Lake Jackson.
After we left the Teton's we headed to Yellowstone National Park. We spent several days there exploring. We saw the Old Faithful Geyser. Which is amazing if you think about it. Approximately every 90 minutes Old Faithful erupts. Very few things in nature are as exact as Old Faithful.
We would get up early every morning and go for a drive because that was the best time to see the wildlife. The buffalo would stand in the middle of the road. They were so dirty and dusty that every time they moved their tails they created a dust ball.
The elk were beautiful. They would lay right alongside the road and let you take their picture.
From Yellowstone, we headed toward Glacier National Park in Montana. At some point we crossed the Continental Divide.
Glacier National Park was beautiful. We camped right among the trees and saw some beautiful scenery.
It was about this point in the trip that we began to think our children were possessed. They were just awful. Fighting with each other, arguing with us and just not being very nice in general. Then, suddenly, it hit me. They were exhausted. In Montana the sun stays up until between 10 and 11 pm. We were getting up in the morning with the sun, around 5 am, so that we could drive and see the animals. Then we were eating dinner around 9 pm because it was still light. They were staying up until after 10 pm. The poor things were operating on zero sleep. So, from that point on, we discontinued the daily animal searches and put them to bed at night with the sun still up. We had much happier campers after that.
From Glacier, we headed to Canada via the 'Going to the Sun Highway.' The Highway is 13 miles long and is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever been on. It literally took us 4 plus hours to drive because every quarter mile there is a turn out. The scenery is so gorgeous that you have to turn off at each one to take pictures. I had the video camera on the entire time. At one turn out we climbed a small glacier and we have hilarious video of my son and I taking one step forward just to slide backwards 5. I would love to take this drive again.
In the first picture you can see the type of road we were driving on. The next two are examples of the gorgeous scenery compete with waterfalls, glaciers and rivers.
We drove to Banff National Park in Canada that day. Arriving in the late evening on a Saturday. Most of the campgrounds were full and we ended up staying at a campground called Mosquito Creek. It was appropriately named. We had a huge tent with a dining fly and lots of room for four people. We had also taken a small dome tent for such a time as this. The mosquito's were so thick that we simply put that tent up and all four of us crammed in. No one left that tent until the next morning. We ate a quick bowl of cereal, broke up camp and headed to a nicer campground later that day when the weekenders checked out. We stayed in this campground for 5 days. The elk would wander right into your campsite. We explored the town of Banff and took a side trip to the Athabaska Glaciers near Jasper National Park. It was a beautiful drive. We saw many moose and elk and even saw a bald eagle. It was really cold. In fact, our tour guide told us that that part of Canada has 3 seasons: Winter, July and August.
Here are some pictures taken in and around Banff:
Here are pictures from our trip out on the Glacier. Notice how big the bus was, my kids were barely taller than the tire:
When my kids got back on the bus their ears were really cold so they were goofing off and putting their mittens on their ears.
After we left Banff, we drove all the way across Canada and into Washington to Seattle. It was a very long 13 hour drive. We spent 2 days in Seattle visiting the tower and an amusement park. I was born in Seattle and moved away when I was 4 month old. This was my first trip back to my birthplace and I enjoyed it a lot.
When we left Seattle we went to Crater Lake in Oregon. This was the last part of our trip spent camping. We watched some people in another campsite try to put their tent up. They had obviously never set up a tent before. They took it out of the box and argued about how to put it up. We think that parts of the tent might have been missing too, because they ended up never figuring it out and they simply tied it between two trees.....upside down. Even my 7 year old thought it was hysterical. In fact, there are very few things about that trip that he actually remembers, but he remembers that.
After Crater Lake we visited with my Aunt and Uncle for a weekend and then headed home to Southern California. It was a wonderful trip. One that I would like to take again sometime.
This trip was 21 days long. All total we spent $1300.00. Next trip is January 1992 to Brianhead.