We were considering a trip to Alaska during 2006. We did a lot of research on small boat cruises and spending time in Denali. The cost was frightening. If we had a sudden wind-fall, maybe. No sudden, unexpected income and no lottery hit so we had to re-consider. I stumbled onto a web site and saw pictures of Glacier National Park.
That prompted a lot more research. This looked like a worthy destination. Phenomenal scenery and wildlife. We dropped all talk of Alaska and started making plans. As it turned out, the trip kept growing. Our 8 or 9 day trip expanded to a full 2 weeks. There's so many things to see and we don't know when we'll get to go again.
I was fairly ignorant about the Western states, so I started with maps. We were going to fly into Jackson Hole, WY just for the scenery. The first thing I discovered was that I had to drive through Yellowstone to get to Glacier. If couldn't figure out a way to do that without staying a while so we made plans to spend 3 nights in the park. If it sounds like we really didn't know what we were getting into, that's about right.
In October, 2005, I made reservations for 3 nights at the Old Faithful Inn. It's a little more up-scale I wanted (we prefer cabins and tents) but it was kind of central in the park. I initially wanted to explore the Northern part on one day and the Southern part the next. I later figured out that was a good way to see nothing. I got some guidance from the folks on the Yellowstone Chat forum. Many experts there. The nice folks in the Yellowstone Discussion Forum are also very helpful. I'm a little concerned that we may have over-committed ourselves but we'll see. If you don't have a plan, you might not get anything done. You don't have to follow it. I also finally made reservations at the Old Faithful Inn for dinner. Its our 30th anniversary so we needed to do it right.
Its almost embarrassing to admit but I didn't know we had to drive through Grand Teton National Park to get to Yellowstone. Since we get to Jackson Hole at 11:30AM, we plan to spend the afternoon looking around Grand Teton. No real time to hike though.
When you think about it, there's something wrong when you blunder into a place as magnificent as Yellowstone National Park.