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Monday, October 1, 2012

Another Trip of a Lifetime--2012

In June of 2011,  George and I took our first trip out west (to the Grand Canyon, etc.).  IF you missed those pictures,  click HERE (for those 29 different blog posts).  This year,  we made a great decision NOT to travel in the hot and crowded Summer months... SO--from September 12-27,  we took another trip out west,  this time to the Yellowstone and Tetons area.  What a fabulous decision!!!!  The Fall colors were sparkling,  the temperatures were perfect and not so hot,  and even though there were plenty of people around,  nothing was terribly crowded like it was during the summer of 2011...  We had almost perfect vacation!!!!

Our agenda:
-Sept. 12--Drove to Kansas City
-Sept. 13--Drove to Colorado Springs,  where we stayed 3 nights (2 full days)
-Sept. 16--Drove to Rocky Mountain National Park;  Spent 2 nights in Fort Collins
-Sept. 18--Drove to Yellowstone and the Tetons--where we spent 6 nights (5 full days) in West Yellowstone
-Sept 24--Drove to Grand Rapids, South Dakota, where we spent 2 nights  (1 day of sight-seeing)
-Sept. 26--Drove to Kansas City
-Sept. 27--Drove HOME

Today,  I'll share with you an overview from our trip --showing you some of my favorite things..  Then (since George and I together took almost 5000 photos)---I will share MUCH more throughout the upcoming months from specific areas from this trip.

On Sept. 14,  we drove up to PIKES PEAK (near Colorado Springs).  I guess that IF I had to choose a favorite thing on the entire trip,  this may have been IT...  BUT--that is hard since we loved so much about this vacation!  Guess what???   I got to see SNOW up on the top (14,110 feet up).  Note picture above taken on TOP.

Please remember to click on all pictures for enlargements!




Another highlight of that day was meeting blog friends,  SALLY and Jim Wessely.  Sally and I have been blog friends for quite awhile, but this was our first time to meet.  What wonderful people these two are!!!!!!  WOW--it was such a blessing to meet them.  We enjoyed lunch together that day and also a visit to GARDEN of the GODS.  The picture above is a great picture of Sally and Jim at the Garden of the Gods.




On September 16,   we headed north from Colorado Springs,  stopping in Boulder to see a gorgeous waterfall, and then driving on a scenic back road (Highway 72) north of Nederland ---where we saw the most gorgeous ASPENS in bloom (note my header).  Then it was on to visit the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK.  The highlight for me from that visit was on September 17 when we drove all the way up the OLD (unpaved) FALLS RIVER ROAD.   George and I LOVE unpaved mountain roads and this one was fabulous (even included a waterfall for us to enjoy).   Above is a picture showing the road up the mountain (we drove up to about 12,000 feet in elevation, when we entered the main road).




This is a picture of us taken along the OLD FALLS RIVER ROAD in the Rocky Mtn. National Park.  We loved seeing all of the beautiful pine trees and the blooming Aspens along our way --in addition to enjoying the mountain creeks, and of course Chasm Falls. 

NOTE:  All along our trip,  the mornings were quite chilly (hence our jackets).. BUT--the afternoons warmed up quite nicely.  It never was extremely cold (never did pull out our winter coats) --and we had no rain to speak of the entire trip.  Weather was PERFECT--as I said!




We spent four full days in Yellowstone (and could have stayed longer).  The three highlights which jump out in my mind are meeting more blog friends at OLD FAITHFUL,  visiting the canyon area --with all of the gorgeous waterfalls,  AND the thermal areas (geysers, paint pot areas, basins, etc.).... Unbelievable!!!!  We did manage to see 12 different geysers erupt (and some more than once) during our stay.   Above was one of my favorite geysers,  CASTLE GEYSER.   I loved its 'castle-like' base!




The other blog friends we met were LINDA and Doug.  They are from Indiana and were also traveling... Glad we could coordinate our trips so that we could meet.  We met at OLD FAITHFUL,  watched the eruption,  and then had a picnic lunch together.   Linda and I have been blog friends for a long time --but this was our first meeting.  We had a TERRIFIC time--and we have so much in common with them since they also love to travel.   This is a picture of the four of us taken after Old Faithful had erupted. 




Another highlight at Yellowstone was hiking in the Canyon area.  We did lots of hiking throughout the trip--but we probably did the most hiking on this day!  We hiked all of the way down to the RED ROCK OVERLOOK  (where our picture was taken above-- with Lower Falls in the distance).  But--we also hiked all the way down (and back up--pant, pant) those  328+ steps to the bottom of the canyon (on UNCLE TOM'S TRAIL).  Both Upper and Lower Falls were marvelous ---and we also enjoyed seeing 2 other waterfalls that day.




We had been looking forward to spending two days in the TETON area.  However,  we only were there for ONE day --since the wildfire smoke was HORRIBLE there.  I guess this was one of the biggest disappointments of the entire trip since we had been looking forward to getting GREAT photographs of those beautiful mountains.

We did spend one entire day there --and especially enjoyed our hike in the Schwabacher Road area.   We also had hoped to ride the boat across Jenny Lake (to see another waterfall)--but the boat was not running.  Another minor disappointment!!!!!   But--the Aspens (especially in the Oxbow Bend area) were fabulous!

We loved seeing Mormon Row (and the most photographed barn in America) and we especially loved seeing the little Episcopal Church (Chapel of the Transfiguration) --which is pictured above,  with the mountains in the background.  You can tell how smoky it was when looking at this picture.  We want to go back to the Tetons sometime when the skies are CLEAR.




After leaving Yellowstone on Sept 24,  we drove to Rapid City, South Dakota.  The 25th was our only day to 'tour' that area ---and now we know that we could have spent several more days there.  BEAUTIFUL area of the country!!!!!  

We fist visited Mt. Rushmore  (pictured above),  and then saw Crazy Horse (from the main road only).   We loved seeing MT. RUSHMORE  in person.  I had seen pictures of it all of my life--but seeing it in person really was awesome.




We then drove to CUSTER STATE PARK and thanks from some great advice from LINDA  and from LARRY (Big Dude)--who has also been traveling in that area,  we drove down the NEEDLE'S HIGHWAY --seeing some fabulous rock formations and tunnels along the way.  The photo above was along the Needle's Highway ---through one of the little tunnels.  YES---we did fit through it!!!! ha




Two other HUGE highlights of this trip were seeing all of the WATERFALLS (we saw THIRTY-SIX different waterfalls),  and seeing the WILDLIFE.  The picture above was taken in Yellowstone after a nice hike.  This is MYSTIC FALLS.




Finally,   it's hard to choose which 'critter' I wanted to highlight because we saw so many along the way.  I chose a PRONGHORN (which I call an ANTELOPE) --since they are such beautiful animals.  But---we saw many many more wild animals during this trip (including lots of ELK,  BUFFALO (BISON),  WHITE-TAILED DEER,  MULE DEER,  BIGHORN SHEEP, and BURROS).   I was hoping to see an eagle and a moose --but didn't get to see either this time.  We also did not see any bears...  But--we were happy since we did see so many different varieties of wildlife all along the way.  Another highlight was watching the BIGHORN SHEEP climb straight up a rock ledge...  How do they do that?????

Well--this is long,  so I will stop since I probably lost you about 6 pictures back!!!!! ha.... It is great to be home ---and get back to blogging.   Facebook is nice --but it's hard to say all that I want to say there!!!!!!! ha ha

Hope you have had a great September --and will have a wonderful October.

Be sure to check out George's blog (click HERE) for a great post which includes a map of our 5,455 mile trip!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

67 comments:

Sharon said...

Now I'm envious in TWO ways (you already know about the aspens). Both times we've been in RMNP have been in mid to late May which is perfect for no crowds and great hiking temps, but Fall River Road has never been open yet, so we can only gaze up the unpaved road and wonder what we are missing! Hope your pics will show me. We have however parked at the gate and hiked up to Chasm Falls, one of our favorites and incredible in the spring runoff. Looking forward to many, many more posts and pics about this fabulous trip.

Ms. A said...

Splendid photos and new header! Welcome home, I've missed you!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

What a wonderful trip Betsy and George !
As you know, I lived at the foot of Pikes Peak Mountain in Colorado, and enjoyed that view each day....how I miss it.
Garden of the God's was literally my backyard, I hope the wildfires didn't do too much destruction.
What awesome colors, up there in the mountains, cooler weather, less crowded, sounds like the perfect holiday :)

Happy you enjoyed your once in a lifetime adventure.
~Jo

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

So glad your trip was so wonderful! Love the photos. I have been to Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park, but not the other places.

Cheqna said...

Hi Betsy,

Glad to have you back, blogging and sharing your journey (no you didn't lose me after the 6th picture ;-) )

The places look beautiful, looking forward to reading the longer version of this summary.

and finally...5000 photos? I thought my 600+- photos during recent trip were a lot...haha

:-)

Jo said...

Welcome back, Betsy. I peeked at your travels while I was out in SA but loved this post. No, you didn't lose me at all. I read all the way to the bottom and drank in the beautiful scenery. I love the geysers and glad you showed the Castle Geyser erupting. I'm also glad you met up with blogger friends! Big (((hugs))) Jo

Neal said...

What a great summary of your vacation!! That was really enjoyable. BTW, we saw one moose from a distance and only for a minute or two.

DeniseinVA said...

Another fabulous trip Betsy. I loved all your photos as they brought back a lot of happy memories. We hope to go out that way again one day. I remember that little church in the Grand Tetons so clearly, and many of your photos show the places we visited. How neat to meet up with your blogging friends.

diane b said...

I am happy that you had such a lovely trip except for the smoky Tetons. I bet you found it hard to choose the photos for this blog out of 5000. Looking forward to seeing more about your trip.

Jeevan said...

Marvelous post and pictures, Betsy! Unpaved roads are my favorite too and it gives a feel of nature’s path.

There photos speaks a lot than the words... and highlighted your excitement and happiness of meeting our fellow bloggers. It seems nature accommodates your throughout the trip... and the little church with mountains behind is so photogenic! Looking forward for more detailed posts and pictures on the trip.

Hope u both had grand trip to the west... Have a great October ahead :)

W. Latane Barton said...

You two are amazing!! And, you just enchant us with all your wonderful pictures and stories. I am so thankful that you had a perfect vacation and are back home safe and sound.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I just knew you would have a wonderful time! Love the pronghorn as well....and I hope to see Mt. Rushmore in person one day too!
XO

Sandra said...

welcome home, beautiful pics, all of them and my fav is the church... have not seen a log cabin church and i love it.

Linda said...

What a great summary of your trip, Betsy. Hope you're all rested up from those long days of travel. I don't know how you and George had the energy to do all that you did, especially all that hiking in Yellowstone. It was great to meet you, and I'm looking forward to seeing the photos of the rest of your trip.

linda m said...

What an incredible vacation. The pictures you took say it all.

Donna said...

Welcome back! What a fabulous trip! I can easily understand 5000 photos, LOL. You got to see beautiful areas of this grand country, see wildlife, and meet blogging friends!

We're beginning to plan our trip out to Yellowstone and Tetons for May next year. We have a free airline ticket, so we'll be flying out and renting a car. Any tips on hidden little gems (off the beaten path) out there would be appreciated!

Donna said...

Oh, and where did you stay in West Yellowstone, if you don't mind me asking? Any recommendations on where to stay or not stay?

The Incredible Woody said...

You have me dreaming of hitting the road!!!

MTWaggin said...

Glad you are home safe and will enjoy all the photos as you post them. You two still are TOO CUTE!!!

Marcia said...

Welcome back home! It sounds like it was the trip to remember. And how nice to meet up with not just one, but two blogging friends. I look forward to seeing more of the sights through your eyes.

LV said...

Glad your home safe. You two are experiencing things that are rare in anyone's lifetime. I think it is absolutely wonderful you still share so much fun and love for each other. Welcome back to the blog world.

Pam said...

Betsy, I have so enjoyed following your travels on Facebook!

Chatty Crone said...

Dang I am so glad you are back - all safe and sound, but dang you didn't take me. LOL Another place I have always wanted to go, but have not. I have been out west - but we fly to LA and miss what is in between.

So again - this is the good thing - I will get to see all the wonderful sites - through your and George's photos.

Loved them today.

Sylvia K said...

What a fantastic trip, Betsy!! These are some of my favorite places, but it's been a while since I've been there, but I've been able to re-visit through yours and Georges photos! I love them all! Your new header is breathtaking! I do love all the fall colors! Great choice of timing!!! Good to see you back!! Have a great week!!

TexWisGirl said...

such awesome scenes! such a beautiful trip!

i am jealous you got to meet linda! i adore her. :)

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Hi Betsy! So glad to hear you are back safe and sound! I'm looking forward to seeing all your beautiful photos. I'll check out George's blog when I have a bit more time.
Have a wonderful first day of October!

Retired English Teacher said...

What a great re-cap of your trip. I am amazed at all you were able to do in the time you had to travel. I would say that is a result of great planning on your part! It was so great to spend the day with you in Garden of the Gods. What an awesome day that was! We love you guys. We hated to see you go.

Nellie said...

Welcome back, Betsy! It is very evident that you and George have had another marvelous trip!

xo Nellie

Happyone said...

Welcome back. : )
Wow what a wonderful vacation the two of you had. Packed a lot into one time!!!

Always nice meeting blogging friends too.

Great photos as always.

NCmountainwoman said...

I should have known you would start with the snow! Glad you had such a great trip.

nanny said...

Trip of a lifetime!!! I am so happy for you two! You saw so really spectacular sights!!

I may get to go to Colorado in a couple of weeks.....I hope the aspen are still pretty!

Big Dude said...

I know you had a great trip and look forward to reading all about it.

Rohrerbot said...

Welcome back you two:) I was wondering when you'd get back on this thing. Gorgeous shots. Sounds like an amazing time....the pics certainly are out of this world. I so want to go and visit. It really has a fall affect.

The blogger part is also very cool. I'm glad you got to meet the people behind the other blogs. That had to have been fun. Love the Garden of the Gods. We are heading back up that way again by the end of this year......can't wait to go back. Such a beautiful area, no?:) Settle in, get yourself a nice drink and relax again. It's also good to sleep in your own bed after a long trip like that:)

RoeH said...

Didn't lose me. But I did have a pang of homesickness when I saw the Teton Peaks. We found fires in Oregon and Washington, too. They are everywhere - sadly. Those states need a little rain and it just doesn't come. It makes me mad. I don't remember the weather being so obstinate in many years past. Strange what is happening.

eileeninmd said...

Betsy, what a great post. I loved all the photos, especially the Aspens. It is really cool you were able to meet up with your blogging friends. Sorry about the smoke at the Tetons, it was one of my favorite places along with Yellowstone. I have been following and commenting on facebook, but it is still nice to see your blog post. THanks for sharing your trip and photos.

Susie Swanson said...

I'm in awe of your photos.. I've always wanted to visit Colorado among others. I've been keeping up with your photos on fb.. Thank you for sharing and welcome home.

Ann said...

Welcome back Betsy. So glad you had such a wonderful time. The photos are all fabulous. You sure saw some wonderful sights.

Nava said...

Betsy--thanks for sharing great photos and taking us along with you :)--

Lynda said...

PHENOMENAL trip!!! The pics - - absolutely AMAZING! Your header is stunningly gorgeous! I am so thankful we get to travel with you through your blog.

Daisy said...

What fabulous photos, Betsy, from what sounds like a really wonderful trip! I love those yellow aspens in your header. I'm so glad to hear you had such a great time.

carolina nana said...

How wonderful your trip sounds and looks in the photos. Glad you had nice weather and safe travel. Looking forward to seeing more pics of the trip.
Blessings
marilyn

Shug said...

So happy that the two of you enjoyed this wonderful trip. The pictures and the scenery are just out of this world. I love the mountains and these pictures make me want to go there so bad...(maybe this summer)
I've been keeping up with you guys on FB...enjoying every picture.
Glad you're home..
Shug

Jeanne said...

So happy that you had such a great trip! We've seen the aspens once at their peak and it is just unbelievable isn't it! Your pictures are great but those leaves blowing in the wind like gold glitter is just hard to capture. I'm ready to go back!
Can't wait to hear about Pikes Peak!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Trip of a Lifetime,is exactly the right title. Wow,you covered a lot of territory and saw some amazing sights.If these few pictures are any indication,we are in for some super posts coming up.Glad to have you back in the blogging world.

ladyfi said...

Wow - your photos are lovely. The scenery is stunning and I can see why you had such a lovely time!

joy said...

What a wonderful , awesome and beautiful trip. Thanks for sharing the magnificent pictures. Looking forward for more:)

Rose ~ from Oz said...

Welcome home Betsy and George! I so appreciate the tremendous effort you've put into bringing us this fabulous post to enjoy of your travels. Topping on the cake meeting your lovely blogger-friends too! The header photo took my breath away. You and George will be ages coming down from the high of this amazing trip of which you organised so brilliantly. I have looked back through this post three times now as there's so much to pause and really look at!
R. x

Out on the prairie said...

I enjoyed these so, I have been to these areas so enjoy seeing and hearing of your travels. An amazing trip indeed.

bookbabie.com said...

What a great trip, I love the western parks too, so beautiful and majestic! And I love you got to meet up with some blogging buddies:)

Diane AZ said...

Hi Betsy, welcome back! I love your header image with the golden Aspens...all of today's photos are breathtaking! I'm glad you had a great trip with comfortable weather and you met some blog friends.

Small Kucing said...

You had me green with envy, Betsy.

what a wonderful trip. just looking at the itinerary, I feel giddy with anticipation. looking forward to more post about the trip

Linda Gross said...

What a wonderful trip the two of you had! I am looking forward to reading detailed posts of all the places you visited. The photograph of Garden of the Gods brought back memories of my visit to the area years ago. I visited Garden of the Gods as well. I drove part way up Pike's Peak. I went as far as a zoo. Did you see a zoo on your way up Pike's Peak? I remember Seven Falls too. I saw it in the winter time, when the falls were frozen.

GreatGranny said...

I'll have to go back and click some. I remember seeing the Pronghorns. Our trip wasn't near as wonderful as this, due to lack of time. We did go up MT Evans, that's about 14,000 ft. as I recall. I do recall how thin the air was on top.
Thanks for sharing your trip.

Small City Scenes said...

Isn't the west great!!! In love the Aspens too but then again I love all the things that you posted and talked about. I'll say again 'our whole country is just beautiful' so many things to see everywhere.

I bet even though you had a wonderful time it was great to get home.

We have been doing some minor hiking and yes my knee is getting better. It is bending much better.

Glad you all are home safe and sound and have some great memories to share. MB

Brenda said...

WOW! HOW AWESOME ARE YOUR TRIPS!!?!! Photos are fantastic, the story is exciting, and meeting up with blog friends is priceless! I've missed you Betsy. I haven't posted in a while, but I did post today. It has been busy and crazy around here.
But back to your trip....LOVE the photo of the church and the mountains. WOW! What a wonderful time you must have had. Thanks for sharing it.
HUGS,
Brenda

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Welcome home...

My husband was born in the Springs and I grew up in Colorado, so I know just how awe inspiring the colorful mountains are this time of year. And Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons...my father would go there each summer with us kids. Oh and the Mt. Rushmore is just something you've seen once and will never forget.

Miss Debbie said...

Yes, most definitely a trip of a lifetime! So glad you had a fun and safe trip. What a treat to get to spend time with blogger friends. That made it even more special.

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

What a great trip. Your preview photos are great. Can't wait to hear more. I knew you'd love the Yellowstone waterfalls.

Rose said...

Betsy, your photo in your header sure is something...I absolutely love it. and I enjoyed your photos on Facebook also...sounds like you had a wonderful time. I am glad you had a safe and happy trip.

amy @ Life in Pink Hi-Tops said...

WOW! What a great trip you guys had. So many memories made. I'm glad you guys had a wonderful time.

Crystal Mary said...

Oh your photos are so beautiful, they almost made me cry as I have been to many of this places with Ray. Fancy meeting up with Blogger friends..how great is that!!!
I don't look forward to that long trip back to TN, but if I do go back I will let everyone know and hopefully we can meet up.xxxxxx

Carletta said...

Welcome Back Betsy!
Your header is gorgeous!
First post and so many sights. I can hardly imagine all the beauty you've seen. Looking forward to reliving the trip with you.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Welcome back home, Betsy! Thank you for your congratulations on my good news!

I loved seeing your tripore on facebook along the way and now seeing more photos here on your blog. Your trip was very much like one I took with my husbnad a few yeas ago, and each and every place was somewhere we'd love to see again so I really enjoyed your photos. I'm sad the Tetons were hazy during your visit but even so your photos are beautiful! The West is so beautiful!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What gorgeous pictures and what a fabulous trip, Betsy! And the news that you and Sally got together warmed my heart -- two of my favorite blogging friends spending time together! That's wonderful!

Janie said...

Great antelope pic, and I love the little chapel with the Tetons in the background. We've had a lot of smoky skies here, too, although fortunately we haven't had any fires close to us since early June. Oh, well, good excuse to go back and see the Tetons again with clear skies.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I doubt hat in my life I will get the chence to see those places. I know my dad did in 1952 on a special tour to promote a new lanuage teaching concept. Your photos are so lovely. Some day i shall share my pics of my trip into the Himalayas in April of 2001 before the horror of 911..

Leah TravelQuest said...

Im so envious :) these are the trip that we want to do like driving across west but unfortunately due to our job we cant do that much long trip. I miss you Betsy thanks for sharing this great photos. I show it to my husband and he ask me if you do have RV :) since he wants an RV once he retired then we can start our trip of our life time :) My new post: <a href="http://www.travelquest-ny.com/2012/10/the-washington-dc-monuments.html”> The Washington DC Monuments</a>