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Showing posts from August, 2009

Our last-minute vacation in Yellowstone National Park

As I unexpectedly got a week off in the middle of the summer (due to changing jobs), my husband and I decided to take a quick vacation to a place we had wanted to visit for a long time: Yellowstone National Park. We started planning one week before our trip, in the middle of the summer vacation time, so we were concerned about the logistics. Fortunately, we were still able to find accommodation in the park itself, although this meant we had to change hotel every day. This turned out to be a good solution, as it allowed us to visit all parts of the park without having to backtrack to the same corner every night. Also, once we were there, we learned of the major roadworks between Grand Teton and Yellowstone. We were glad we didn't go with the solution of staying in Grand Teton for the whole time and "commuting" to Yellowstone, which we had considered at some point. (even without the roadworks, I wouldn't recommend) Booking flights and rental car turned out not to be

Yellowstone vacation, Day 4-5

Our final day in Yellowstone was focused on visiting the geysers between Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful. We woke up early to visit the Mammoth terraces before the crowds (but also before the sun came out, unfortunately). Still, we were impressed. They look so fragile, yet so powerful and steady (they have obviously been around for many years!). The combination of colors and forms, and the steam coming out give the terraces a surreal look. Very unique. Mammoth terraces After a late brunch, we headed back South. Our first stop was at the Sheepeater Cliff, a cliff with interesting rock formations. However, the main attraction for us (particularly Daniel) was the river closeby. He enjoyed playing in it, walking, throwing stones, etc... Daniel playing in the river at Sheapeater Cliff After at least 30 minutes, we somehow managed to get him back in the car with limited complaining, and drove to the Norris Geyser basin. It was great timing for Daniel's nap, and once again, our

Yellowstone vacation, Day 3

Our plans for Day 3 in Yellowstone included a lot of driving, with the aim to spend the night at Mammoth Hot Springs to the very north of the park. We left early, stopping quickly at the Visitor Center in Fishing Bridge and letting Daniel play in the lake for a few minutes (although he would have loved to stay there all day, I think). On the way North, we drove by a plain where over 100 bisons had gathered, including a lot of young ones. We decided to try to get closer to the herd, and we ended up hiking for 30 minutes and watching the bison activities along the way. A herd of bisons by Yellowstone Canyon It really felt like we were in the movie "Dance with wolfes". The plain really looked like in the movie, and we were almost on our own in the wilderness (we can really close to a bison in his way to reunite with the herd). As we came back to the car, it was Daniel's nap time and he fell asleep right away. We continued our way North. We first visited the North Rim of

Yellowstone vacation, Day 2

Our second day at Yellowstone started with a hearty breakfast at our hotel, the Old Faithful Inn (large, old, wooden building... beautiful), and an encounter with a bison. One of many during this trip. Old Faithful Inn We then proceeded with a 1.5-hour hike along the geysers in Old Faithful, a very interesting collection of various geological formations: big, small, active, dormant, predictable, irregular, etc... Hike around Old faithful geysers By the late morning, we started our drive to the Lake Area via Madison and the Canyon. Daniel fell asleep in the car per his regular nap schedule, and we were able to do some sightseeing from the car. Daniel was well refreshed when we arrived at the Canyon section (although I inadvertently woke him up a few miles before when I spotted a bison by the road). Bison by the road So we went to visit the South section of the Canyon. The sights from the Artists Point at the very end are fantastic: a big waterfall in the distance, yellow shade

Yellowstone vacation, Day 1

Our first travel day started early, with a flight at 7:30am. We (parents) had to wake up before our 18-month old baby, which we are not used to anymore. We left home somewhat late and had some frustrations when checking-in . But we made the flight. Our flight plan included a stop-over in Salt Lake City. Our first flight went very well. We were able to entertain Daniel with breakfast, watching take-off and landing, and reading the airline magazine (at his age, he now knows enough words to recognize a lot of pictures in travel magazines.. very convenient). In Salt Lake City, our 2nd flight was delayed and we ended up seeing more of the airport than we wanted. Fortunately, Daniel did great during this whole time, despite the fact that it spanned past his regular nap time: he enjoyed watching the planes come and go, and all the activity preparing for take-off. Then, he fell asleep before we even took off the second time, happy and excited. Upon arrival in Jackson, WY, we started our drive

Delta Airlines needs to rethink their check-in line strategy

For our trip to Yellowstone National Park , we flew with Delta Airlines from San Francisco to Jackson, WY via Salt Lake City, UT. This was the most convenient and a somewhat cheap flight, so we took it, even though we usually fly with United Airlines. We have flown with our now 18-month old baby on lap many times over the last year and a half, and we thought we had gotten the routine down: check in at the counter, ask for an extra ticket for the baby on lap, done... Easy enough. However, our experience with Delta Airlines this time was nothing short of easy or efficient. They should re-think their check-in strategy if they want to keep happy customers. The flight was early in the morning, and we were a little late arriving at the airport. My husband dropped Daniel and me in the check-in area, and went to park the car. In the meantime, I was going to get our tickets. Seeing that the line for the check-in counter was quite long, I thought I should be able to get our flight tickets (at