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Grand Teton National Park

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Early Summer in Glacier National Park

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As I mentioned last week, I'm having a bit of trouble getting over the post-vacation blues. Visiting Montana is always incredible (this was our 5th trip!), but Glacier National Park now has a very special place in our hearts.  

It only took one hike for us to declare the park as our new favorite. Our favorite used to be Grand Teton National Park and while those stunning peaks are still high on the list, Glacier offered us an incredible glimpse at why the park is known as The Crown of the Continent.

When planning our trip, we knew that visiting in spring or early summer (before the 4th of July) might preclude us from some activities. Sometimes the Going-to-the-Sun Road doesn't open until mid-July (it's the only route through the park) and many of the high elevation hikes remain closed until mid-summer due to snow hazards. However, we decided to visit during the first full week of summer and we're so glad we did.

Quite a bit of snow (and wind -- cue the crazy hair) at Logan Pass! 

Quite a bit of snow (and wind -- cue the crazy hair) at Logan Pass! 

The Highline Trail was still closed for the season at the end of June. Not pictured is the "closed" sign. Keep in mind that trails like this one are closed for a reason. A man died the week we were there as he tried to navigate the snowy areas of this very trail. He slipped and fell about 100 feet on to the Going-to-the-Sun Road.   So sad  .

The Highline Trail was still closed for the season at the end of June. Not pictured is the "closed" sign. Keep in mind that trails like this one are closed for a reason. A man died the week we were there as he tried to navigate the snowy areas of this very trail. He slipped and fell about 100 feet on to the Going-to-the-Sun Road. So sad.

While we didn't get to hike the Highline Trail (it's a bucket list item for sure, but we had no intention of risking our lives), it rained the first three days of our trip and East Glacier's winds literally blew us away (seriously, I almost lost my hat twice and constantly fumbled with my camera trying to hold it steady), we arrived just two days after the Going-to-the-Sun Road opened for the season and were greeted with smaller crowds, abundant wildlife, and beautiful wildflowers. 

Cinnamon black bear grabbing a snack near the Many Glacier entrance to the park.

Cinnamon black bear grabbing a snack near the Many Glacier entrance to the park.

Wildflowers along the hike to Avalanche Lake.

Wildflowers along the hike to Avalanche Lake.

A curious deer near the small town of Polebridge, Montana.

A curious deer near the small town of Polebridge, Montana.

The hike to Red Rock Falls (in the Many Glacier area) is full of wildflowers in early summer!

The hike to Red Rock Falls (in the Many Glacier area) is full of wildflowers in early summer!

We found this pretty little thing while hiking around Bowman Lake (in the Polebridge area).

We found this pretty little thing while hiking around Bowman Lake (in the Polebridge area).

More beauty on the drive to Bowman Lake (warning: it's a very bumpy road, but it's so worth the drive).

More beauty on the drive to Bowman Lake (warning: it's a very bumpy road, but it's so worth the drive).

Can you spot the bighorn sheep on the mountain? 

Can you spot the bighorn sheep on the mountain? 

My handsome guy pausing to catch a glimpse of Avalanche Lake. 

My handsome guy pausing to catch a glimpse of Avalanche Lake. 

Talk about a rock and a hard place, huh? Plants in Glacier National Park seem to take what they can get! This fern was trying to find the sun along the hike to Red Rock Falls.

Talk about a rock and a hard place, huh? Plants in Glacier National Park seem to take what they can get! This fern was trying to find the sun along the hike to Red Rock Falls.

A couple of grizzly bears feasting near Lake Sherburne in the Many Glacier area.  

A couple of grizzly bears feasting near Lake Sherburne in the Many Glacier area.  

 ...they weren't too interested in the line of cars parked on the side of the road.

 ...they weren't too interested in the line of cars parked on the side of the road.

 ...filling their big bellies was the name of the game that afternoon.

 ...filling their big bellies was the name of the game that afternoon.

More beauties appearing out of the rock walls of Sunrift Gorge along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

More beauties appearing out of the rock walls of Sunrift Gorge along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

We had several other wildlife sightings, but were too engrossed to bother with the camera.

We even spotted a deer and her newborn fawn as they crossed the Going-to-the-Sun Road one morning. The poor fawn fell to the ground right in the eastbound lane and we weren't sure if it would get up. Traffic came to a halt and we all quickly joined team baby-deer-please-cross-the-road-safely, cheering and tearing up (okay, that was me) when the little one finally got to its four wobbly feet and caught up with mom on the other side of the road. Phew.

I'm telling you, my friends, Glacier National Park has got it all.  

If you're planning a trip to the park and you're looking for perfect weather, dry roads and open high elevation trails, don't go in early summer! Weather can be unpredictable and can cause road closures and delay trail openings. You will likely get wet (read: soaked) while hiking. On the other hand, if you're interested in exploring creek and lakeside trails without crowds of people and want to experience spring-like wildlife behavior, early summer might just be the best time for you to visit.

I've got much more Glacier National Park goodness to share in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!  

In the mean time, I want to know: Have you visited Glacier National Park? What was your favorite hike or scenic drive? Any crazy wildlife stories? I'd love to hear more about your experiences, so share away in the comment section! 

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Albert Einstein + Grand Teton National Park + Happy Links

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{"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."  //  Albert Einstein}

Happy Links:

  • Remember Lincoln Logs? I loved them as a youngster. Anthology Magazine posted a little tidbit from their latest issue and I'm thinking it might be time to splurge on an annual subscription.
  • Speaking of our younger years, I just happened to catch a tweet yesterday from Kelly Beall of Design Crush about Camp Grounded. It's like the summer camp I never attended as a child, but for adults. Yes, please!
  • Have you read this post over on Oh Joy? It's such a great note to all of the creative beings out there who are struggling to figure out just where they fit.

Wrap it Up:

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I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Pescadero + Bernoulli + Happy Links

After a week of dreaming of, reminiscing about and plotting our next trip to the U.S. Northern Rockies, I thought I'd better throw in a nice sunset-over-the-Pacific photo for today's post.It's Friday (yippee!), so enjoy this little weekly wrap-up and have a great weekend!

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{"Nature always tends to act in the simplest way." // Bernoulli}

Happy Links:

  • Sacramento chef Adam Pechal is making the grade on ABC's The Taste. Any of my Sacramento friends watching? We all know reality TV isn't really real, but it's sure fun watching him do what he does best on a national show.
  • When Apartment Therapy featured this adaptable house in Washington I did a double take. Can you imagine living in a place like that? Talk about options!
  • Have you checked out these photos of the Flower Carpet Festival in Brussels? AMAZING. Anyone seen it in person?

Wrap it Up:

If you missed any posts from this week, just follow the links!

  • We made it official: Glacier National Park is on the books for this year. Plus, our favorite Grand Teton cabin rentals (from our 2009 road trip) finally got the recognition they deserve.
  • I found some old footage from the aforementioned trip and made a little video. I keep watching it and smiling. Memories are amazing little treasures, aren't they?

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Happy Friday, all!

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Video: Yellowstone + Grand Teton National Park

I found some lost footage ya'll!

Okay, so the footage wasn't really lost, but I had forgotten about it. After Monday's post about our upcoming trip to Glacier National Park and the fantastic cabins we stayed in near Grand Teton National Park, I couldn't wait to dig through my old files to see what I might find. The video quality isn't great, but it brought back so many fond memories of that trip.

That last bit of footage of the sun setting behind the Teton Range is one of my favorite memories. Making our way back to the cabins after our final day of exploring, I captured that short video and promptly asked if we could stop at the next turnout.

We got out of the car and BAM!

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See what I mean? The place is stunning, folks. If you ever have the opportunity to go, seize it. You'll be glad you did.

Making plans, yourself? If you're heading to the U.S. Northern Rockies any time soon, be sure to check out a handy collection of my favorite spots here.

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Trip Planning: In the Works + A Look Back

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Trip Planning: In the Works + A Look Back

Friends, it has been nine months and three weeks (and about two hours, if we're really keeping track) since I last stepped foot in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S.I know I may sound a bit dramatic, but a huge part of me really misses it. I'm blaming Andrew Evans of National Geographic for basically live-tweeting his latest trip to the area and making it impossible for me to resist the lure of the mountains, the iconic parks, the people, the history... sigh...

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{Photo courtesy of Glacier NPS on Flickr

Anyway, we've had a trip to Glacier National Park in Northern Montana on our travel list for a long time and this is the year we'll be making it happen. We've been looking into cabin rentals, researching hikes and sightseeing opportunities and trying to find flight deals.

I'll, of course, keep you all posted on the fun details. Meanwhile, I wanted to take an opportunity to share my favorite find during a road trip we took to Montana and Wyoming back in 2009. It was my first trip to Wyoming and second visit to Montana and I have to say, the experience really solidified my love for the area. I've never blogged about the trip and since it was in my pre-blogging days, it has been passed over for more current adventures. Let's rectify that, shall we?

First up: our lodging near Grand Teton National Park!

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When we started planning, we knew that our lodging would be a mash-up of different things depending on the various stops we needed to make and what would be available in each town. There are so many options available in the area around Grand Teton National Park, so narrowing things down was a bit of a challenge.

We had heard great things about the town of Jackson, Wyoming (they're all true, by the way), but we wanted to stay somewhere that felt more connected to the beautiful landscape and scenery. Staying in either Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Park was cost-prohibitive at the time, so we started looking at vacation rentals and lodging just outside of the parks.

I can't quite remember how I landed on the Moulton Ranch Cabins website after hours of reading reviews and following links, but I'm so glad I did. You know the sound you hear when someone hits the jackpot on a slot machine? Yeah... it was like that.

The small collection of cabins is located just south of the entrance to Grand Teton National Park and about 40 miles south of Yellowstone. It's also a short drive from Jackson, which has great shops, restaurants and more. Just look how cute the cabins are!

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While we stayed in the least expensive cabin and didn't have views of the Teton Range, many of the cabins have stunning, unobstructed views:

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The cabins are located on Mormon Row, which has an incredible history.

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We even woke up to bison in the "back yard" almost every morning!

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A quick walk down the road will take you to what is thought to be the most photographed barn in America. You can see why:

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I couldn't help taking a picture of photographers taking a picture of the most photographed barn in America. :) So meta!

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Needless to say, the area in and around Grand Teton National Park captured a little piece of my heart. I haven't stopped thinking about going back since 2009 and our stay at the Moulton Ranch Cabins is a huge part of that continuous pull. I'm not sure I'd be able to stay anywhere else!

A few things to note about the cabins:

  • They are only open seasonally, May through September.
  • While the prices have increased since our 2009 stay, the Cottage is still a very affordable option in the area.
  • They book up quickly, so be prepared to snag a reservation early (they allow reservations no more than a year in advance).

The cabins are nearly booked up for this summer season, but there are a few pockets of time still available. If we were heading back this year, I know I'd snap up a few days! If you're looking for tips on the Northern Rocky Mountain region, I've collected all of my favorite spots (including the Moulton Ranch Cabins, Mormon Row, The Moulton Barn and more) in a handy app. You can download it from the App Store here!

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Anyone out there have a favorite Rocky Mountain getaway spot they'd like to share? I'm always looking to live vicariously though the travels of others, so feel free to link up in the comment section. Here's hoping we can find a place just as cozy for our trip to Glacier National Park. Wish us luck!

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