Kate’s Mountain Adventures 2021, Part I (Idaho and Wyoming)

CATEGORIES: General News, Travel

Kate’s Wyoming & Idaho Adventure

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that my kids and I recently went on an adventure to Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah for almost two weeks. Normally, we wouldn’t go that early (we left on May 25 and got back on June 5), but we have a busy summer full of non-negotiables, so we had to go when we could. I got a TON of requests for me to share what I did and where we went, either because some of you have plans to visit over the summer or because you want a little staycation, so I’m obliging! πŸ™‚

orange text on photograph

Vacation of Errors

I have to frame this entire run-down with the acknowledgment that it was one of the more stressful vacations I’ve been on. I don’t know if it was the Kate Chaos that seems to follow me on vacations, or coming straight off of an incredibly stressful year of school or because I haven’t traveled in awhile or just bad luck, but guys. I think traveling with me should come with a hazard warning.

family flying out of Alexandria, LA

In a nutshell…
  • I lost my ID somewhere between security in Louisiana and the car rental in Utah. Turns out car rental companies do not accept state-issued digital licenses, so we wound up having to take a shuttle from Salt Lake City 90 minutes to my parents’ house in Logan and then my sister-in-law renting a car and adding me as a driver for $150 extra. Pro tip: don’t lose your license.
  • When we landed in SLC, I legitimately thought for a few minutes that we had accidentally gotten on the wrong plane. While I don’t live in Utah, I have tons of friends and almost all of my family there. I subscribe to multiple Utah news sources. So how in the actual WORLD did I not know the old airport was gone and a space-age hellscape had replaced it? If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on this very important matter, please see my Instagram highlights entitled “SLC Airport.”

    family at slc airport
    Trapped in the airport eating a $60 picnic of beef jerky and water, because that’s all that was available
  • When we were still in Louisiana, I told my oldest son to be sure to pack extra contacts and his glasses because his eyes are BAD and if something happened to his contacts, we would be in a SITUATION. But he’s 16 and does that fun thing where if I suggest something, he will do the opposite, so he did not do that. Well, on Memorial Day, my sister and her family were also staying at my parents’ house. My sister put a pair of contacts in her eyes and they were not the right prescription, so she threw them away. Imagine everyone’s delight when my son couldn’t find his contacts or contact case. Because my sister had thrown them all away. I dug through the trash and found three contacts, soaked and sanitized them, then made him put them on. Only one of them worked (and it had been stuck to a Diet Coke can), but I figured seeing out of 1 eye was better than no eyes, so we fashioned him with an eyepatch until I could crowdsource some contacts from some VERY nice blog readers.

The Fun Stuff: Idaho/Wyoming

When we go to Utah, we typically break up our stay with my parents because my dad starts to hide after about 3 days. Given how our schedule was working out this time, we couldn’t really do that. We also veered from our typical Salt Lake/Logan/Boise circuit and spent the first few days in the Driggs, Idaho area.

Why Driggs?

Driggs is a small, unassuming town with lots of places to eat, things to do, nice places to stay that are more affordable than Jackson, and is central to a lot of things in the area (Jackson/Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone, Targhee, my sister in Rexburg, an abundance of huckleberry milkshakes.)

We stayed in this condo and it was absolutely perfect.

condo in Driggs, Idaho

It was super clean and just as cute in real life as it is in the pictures. Plus, Driggs is tiny, so we weren’t more than 5 minutes away from restaurants and grocery stores.

Where Did We Eat?

For me, food is always a huge part of every trip. I try not to get too attached to planning too much in advance because life inevitably happens and I get frustrated or someone is disappointed, so usually, we’re Googling where to eat on the road. Here’s a rundown of where we ate in Driggs:

The Royal Wolf

We ate here our first night and it was great. Unassuming, definitely a local tavern where everyone (but us) seemed to know each other. My kids said the Philly Cheesesteak was the best they’d ever had, Will loved the fish and chips, and we got fried cheese curds that were worth every calorie. I think this was Clark’s favorite restaurant of our trip.

Rise Coffee House

We stopped in for a quick breakfast the day we went to Targhee. Healthy eats like power bowls, avocado toast, nut butter/fruit toasts, healthy breakfast burritos, omelets, eggs, etc. The lady working reminded us of Twyla fromΒ Schitt’s Creek. It was so good that my son and I snuck in here the next day while everyone else was asleep.

Valley del Sol

We ate here after returning from Targhee. The food was good, but I felt nickel and dimed (never in my life have I had to pay for chips and salsa when I’m buying a meal, let alone several dollars for chips and salsa.) I felt like it had half the atmosphere and cost twice as much as almost anywhere else we ate.

Jackson Drug

This is kind of a tourist trap in Jackson. I had a burger and it was awesome (the fries, too), but I wouldn’t venture too far away from the burger train; everyone who got something else was disappointed. That said, I kind of felt like I was dining at Disney Wold on the Jackson Hole pavilion or something. Everyone was nice, but I felt “managed” and we had to wait forevvvvvvvver for everything. Next time, I’d veer off the beaten track a little more for lunch and then stop by Jackson Drug for ice cream.

Big Hole Bagels & Bistro

We stopped in here after we floated the Teton River. Sandwiches were good. We were there too late for bagels, so if bagels are important to you, get there early.

Victor Emporium

We met up with a friend at the Victor Emporium on our way out of town (Victor and Driggs are next-door neighbors) and got some huckleberry milkshakes before we left Huckleberry country. It’s a super fun little gift shop with cheaper national parks t-shirts than the national parks (that is not hard 😳) and amazing ice cream treats.

getting Huckleberry shakes in Victor, Idaho

What Did We Do?

My sister-in-law and her kids and I shared the condo in Driggs and then we played with them in the mountains for a few days.

Grand Targhee Resort

Everything was closed when we went there (one of the downsides of going so early), but we were still able to hike, just at our own risk. I got to pet a very cute dog. My sister-in-law and her little boy made it about 2/3 of the way to the top of the mountain, Meredith and I made it 3/4 of the way, and Clark and Will (my sons) got all the way to the top. There was a lot of snow, which was a welcome relief after the heat of Louisiana. It was a fun day in the fresh air that didn’t cost any money where we didn’t see anyone (well, almost anyone…there was that dog and his person.)

Kids sitting on a log on a hike at Grand Targhee Resort Kids in front of the Grand Teton Mountain Range

Jackson Hole

We headed to Jackson Hole early in the morning. On this journey, I remembered that I have a deep childhood fear of steep roads. We walked around and did some sightseeing, shopping in the little boutiques, enjoying the very nice community center (Leslie Knope would have been very impressed), and eating at Jackson Drug. A few hours was enough for us; Jackson is definitely busier than I was prepared for! πŸ˜…

kids in front of the antler arch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park

After my sister-in-law had some car trouble and then toddler trouble, we made plans to meet up at Jenny Lake just inside the park. However, we couldn’t find a place to park (it be crazy, y’all) and we didn’t have phone service, so we kind of wandered off and did our own thing. Once we got off the beaten trail and away from the crowds a little, we did some exploring. We saw moose, beavers, and some deer, but nothing too crazy.

a moose in Grand Teton National Park

Funny side story: We had been trying for days to meet up with one of Clark’s oldest and best Louisiana friends, but she was going to Yellowstone this day and then going back to Louisiana the next, so we wrote it off. Well, we were looking for a momma bear and her cubs in the area around Jackson Dam when we stumbled into her and her grandma! We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with them and hanging out with a half wolf, half husky.

girl taking a selfie with a dog kids in front of Jackson Dam with a dog

We had plans to go to Yellowstone, but we heard the crowds were insane. We really want to go back and do both parks when the crowds are down a little bit.

Floated the Teton River

On our last day in Driggs, we floated the Teton River. We used Teton River Supply because they provided the equipment and shuttled us around and the rates were very reasonable. We loved every employee we came in contact with and had a peaceful little trip down the river with enough current to be fun but not too much to be scary (especially with kids). We saw moose, deer, lots of birds, and hardly any people. The weather was cool and beautiful and it was a nice way to spend our last day there.

floating the Teton River in Driggs, Idaho

After that, we headed to Rexburg to see my sister and her family, then back to Logan to see my parents.

family in Rexburg, Idaho

(I’ll post the rest of our trip, including all the places we ate and things we did in Logan, tomorrow!)

More Low-Key Travel Adventures…

Kate’s Trip to Utah (2018), Part I

Kate’s Trip to Utah (2018), Part II

That One (and Probably Only) Time Kate Drove to Utah

 

 

4 comments

  1. it is fun to travel vicariously and you all look happy! nice to hear your ‘voice’ and always enjoy your writing.

  2. Thank you, Kate! I love to read about your travel adventures! So many good tips. By the way, five years ago I totally took your advice and snorkeled where you did on the big island of Hawaii. πŸ™‚

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