Day 9-10: Back to Teton & what we ate

day 9: we headed back to Teton after late breakfast and check out. Sofia was entertained as usual with her snacks and singing.

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we arrived Teton around 1pm so we found a picnic area for lunch, at jenny lake. It was a beautiful lake with many individual beaches, and people doing all kinds of water activities.

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we check-in at the lodge and went to the swimming pool. It was exhilarating for Sofia!!!

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she couldn’t stop laughing

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day 10: we went back to Colter Bay harbor.

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Sofia and my mom did a cruise tour, Tony and I did canoa

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really nice view and great workout

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after lunch we went back to the lodge, Sofia had another swimming session with Tony

then we went to the lodge bar for dinner with the sunset view

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What we ate during our trip.  VERY POORLY would be the best way to describe it. Within the park, there are only dinning places in the lodges. Where we stayed has a dinning room, a cafeteria and a deli. The first time we tried to get into the dinning room but after 30 min wait, we decided not worth it. Fortunately we came prepared, we’ve packed instant noodles, assorted snacks that lasted the whole trip, a rice cooker that did not work, a cooler and a water heater. So glad we did that.

For breakfast we have bread, sandwich for lunch, and dinner was oatmeal with chinese pickles for me, honey for Tony, and instant noodles.

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we cooked egg in the water heater! we all had two eggs per day to supplement protein. By the 10th day, I couldn’t see boiled eggs anymore, and I think I won’t have boiled eggs for a long time. The smell of it makes me want to vomit.

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we also had baby spinach mixed with noodles and oatmeal for a couple of days, and when I got tired of that, i simply bought a packet of frozen veggies, rinsed it and topped it with S+P and salsa (from my parents’ quesadilla)

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the only real meal we had in yellowstone was this rice bowl topped with veggies, shrimp and chicken with teriyaki sauce.

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the only sit down meal at a dinning place was as our last night at jackson lake lodge. We ordered chips to start

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my dad has corn chowder

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Tony had burger with gouda cheese

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my mom ordered burger with cheddar

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and I ordered chicken salad

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During the trip, Sofia didn’t eat 3 meals as usual, she’d have a light breakfast (cereal with milk), and snacked all day long. Most of the days she’d have 1/4-1/3 of my mom’s sandwich. She ate way too many chips, ice creams that I would like, but I was relaxed about it. As long as she ate and happy, it was fine with me.  I care about what I eat more than many people, but I don’t stress out about it during trips. My dad was asking where I’d eat, Tony asked too, and I told them clearly that this was not a culinary trip so we’d eat whenever whatever it was convenient. Fortunately the amazing view and experience of yellowstone made everyone happy enough to forget about food dissatisfaction. And we all lost some weight. 🙂

It was an amazing experience traveling with the whole family at such a different place than our normal environment. We were often lost our thoughts while admiring the nature. It was our first family experience with Tony and a great one. I didn’t have any doubt that we’d have great time because he’s a natural helper and carer, he made sure everyone was safe and happy by doing most of the work himself. Oh… he was the planner of the itinerary too. 2 weeks before our departure, he studied the map, the guide book and it was such a relief for me to not have to think about where and what to do everyday, and I didn’t even have to drive much!!! Love this man!!! 🙂

I don’t know when we would have another trip like this with my parents, hopefully in 4 years. Our initial plan is to go to the north of Argentina. It would be really nice to show Argentina to Sofia and Tony.

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Day 6-8: Yellowstone

day 6: it was a rainy day so we decided to do a road trip toward Old Faithful. The rain was pretty heavy until we arrived Old Faithful. We found a good stop in the cafeteria and watched the eruption twice. It was quite impressive, in particular, how predictable it is, every 90 min, +/- 10 min, that is why it is old Old Faithful, the most famous gayser.
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we were back to Canyon area in the afternoon, the rain has stopped, so Tony and I did some hiking

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a surprising arco iris

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day 7: toward Old Faithful and stopping at each sight points.

first: Artist painpots

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then passed by Gibbons fall

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then we stopped for a little water play on firehole canyon drive

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next was Ojo Caliente by the fountain flat drive

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next was the famous Grand Primastic Spring

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the view was not complete so Tony and I decided to explore more. We found an off-trail by Fairy Falls Trailhead that could give us a better view, so we left Sofia and my parents in the car and we went

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after climbing up for 20 min, we  saw this!!! Spectacular!!!

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we also stopped by Biscuit basin and black sand basin before arriving at Old Faithful, almost 6pm. We witnessed again the eruption, had dinner and called it a productive day

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day 8: it was our 6th day in the park, we’ve seen and done almost everything, so we looked at the map and circled those sights that we missed and there we went.
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we did 2 hrs hiking to see Lone Star geyser.

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it also has a predictable eruption time, every 3 hours. We didn’t plan for that but it started to erupt few minutes after we arrived. So lucky!

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on our way back to the lodge, we stopped by lake hotel general store for its ice cream again. soooo delicious!!!

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Day 3-5: yellowstone

Day 3: We check out early and departed toward South entrance of Yellowstone. First stop was West Thumb Geyser Basin

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the first of many hot springs we’d see during the trip

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the bluer and deeper the color, the hotter is the water

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As we drove toward Canyon area… we passed by many valleys.

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suddenly the cars stopped moving. And for two hours we barely moved. Nobody knew what was going on, we had no choice but wait.

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and you know what happened? They were bisons, a lot of them, on the road!! So either cars had to stop to let them walk around, or people stopped to take pics of them.

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he was walking just in front of our car 😯

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After we check-in at our lodge (Canyon lodge), we went to Canyon South Rim Dr

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we did Uncle Tom’s trail to see the lower fall. It was over 300 steps… a great workout for a great view.

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Sofia hiked most of the time, and took breaks while Tony carried her.

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I’m so proud of my parents to have done it with us.

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and the most helpful man for the family 🙂

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as we went back to the park lot, it was invaded by bisons. 😯 Sofia was amused seeing them altogether eating and shaking against the trees.

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day 4: Mammoth

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another beautiful day to be on the road

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Mammoth Hot Spring was located at the north of the park, fairly close to Canyon.

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we walked through Lower and Upper Terraces. They are the product of dissolved subterranean limestone which is continuously deposited as the spring waters cool on contact with air. Quite a phenomena nature beauty.

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Sofia saw my mind tying scarf on the waist and she insisted  she’s big enough to do the same 🙂

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after 2 hours of walking, we went back to the parking lot, deers were taking a nap

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then we went to the park’s worst kept secret place: boiling river. It is a place where an underground hot spring surfaces from below a limestone overhang.

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Tony took Sofia to the water and she really liked it.

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then we drove all the way to the north entrance of the park.

Back to Canyon area, we went to Brink of the Lower Falls for a close-up views of the falls.

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day 3: Tower Roosevelt

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first stop: a nice small trail to a river
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and a fall at the end of the trail back up

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Sofia was waiting for us with her snack and water

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next stop: petrified tree

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then Undine Falls

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then we drove a blacktail plateau. It was unpaved… really rough and lots of turns. Just when I was cursing why we took this route, we saw a black bear mama with two small bears. What an adorable scene!!!

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in the afternoon we drove all the way to the north-east entrance and saw many animals on the way

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as we went out all day long, Sofia took her naps in the car, usually 1-2 hrs. It made the trip so much easier this way!!!

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we stopped by the lake side hotel on our way back to the lodge and had local ice cream.

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it was really really good! we all loved it!!! And the view was spectacular too.

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Sofia was super happy because I rarely give her ice cream. 🙂

Family vacation 2015: the journey begins. Gran Teton day 1 & 2

The most expected trip finally happened!!! Since Yellowstone is a popular destination, I booked everything in March this year so the expectation has been building up since then.

We had a long trip to get there but we were all very excited. Packed everything for 5 people in 2 large suitcases and 2 carry-ons. Most of the space was occupied by the Pack n’ Play, the cooler, rice cooker (that didn’t work) and water heater. WE were so glad we packed all these for this trip!!!

It has been over a year since Sofia’s last trip and she was super excited to go to the airport and see the planes closely.

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we arrived 1.5 hrs and recorded this moment. Our first family trip!

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I remember last time traveling with Sofia to China, it was exhausting!!! But this time it was much easier. She was easily entertained by snacks and some simple toys that I brought (play dough, stickers, a pad and color pens). We had two 3 hours flight and 2 hrs of layover. She behaved really well.

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we landed around 6:30pm local time. Got our car (KIA Santa Fe), paid the entrance fee to both national parks ($50) and drove to our first lodge (Jackson Lake Lodge) which was 45 min away from the airport.

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as we began our journey, I could feel my mind started to relax, immerse to the nature and just enjoy this special moment.

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Sofia didn’t nap during the flight so she passed out

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once in the hotel, we quickly set up her bed and called it a night.

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Day 2 (Gran Teton). We started early (as suggested by every guide book/blog). It was partially cloudy, quite cold and very peaceful.

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Our first stop was the general grocery store at colter Bay to get lunch items. Then we took a tour at the camp site. Tony kept telling me that next time we should do camping with the kids. And I said: “mmm…. I’d better leave you some bounding time with the kids alone. I can sleep in a hotel and provide you hot shower!”

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Entering more the colter bay area, we encounter this beautiful beach, facing the main mountains of Teton (Moran,

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Sofia was SUPER EXCITED to find her new activity: throw rocks to the water! 😯

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then we went to the Colter Bay Marina. There are people doing kayaking and canoe, Sofia immediately demanded to get to the “boat” too. We hesitated for few minutes and decided to try too. We all got the swim suit and we went out. It was a perfect day for going on a boat.

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I was holding Sofia most of the time. She kept telling me: ” todo el dia!”, meaning she wants to do boat all day long. 🙂

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Tony was in charge to get us sailing. He did a really good job!

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We enjoyed it so much that we had to do it again in our last day, and agreed to do more once we get home.

By the time we finished it was lunch time. Picnic by the lake. This is the first of many sandwiches we had over the last 10 days. WW bread with cheese and turkey.

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more rock throwing for Sofia

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while we relaxed on the beach

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love love seeing her happy and amazed!

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next stop was the jackson lake Dam. It is quite impressive.

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On our back we found a off-road to the summit. 30 min later we were on the top

 

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it offered a great view to the valley

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Sofia taking pics looks so funny!!!

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back to the lodge. We had a quick dinner (cobb salad for me, chicken wrap for Tony, and chicken quesadilla for my parents)

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we were quite tired by the end of the day plus the 2 hrs difference with DC, we went all in bed by 9:30pm.

 

Preparing for our trip

We just came back from 11 days-trip in Yellowstone-Gran Teton. It was a fabulous family trip!!! But before we get into details of the trip, let’s recap what happened before the trip.

We went to try a carrier for Sofia because we wanted to do some hiking. At first Sofia hated it and refused to get in. But after “forgetting” about it for few minutes walking around REI, she accepted to try again and she was hooked! Look how comfy she was. 🙂

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but we decided not to get one because although it was comfortable for her, it’s way too heavy for the carrier for longer than 1-hour hike.

That weekend we went to a outdoor movie, first time ever for all of us. It was fun but it was more an excuse to get outdoor picnic with friends than the movie itself.

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a funny episode happened. Sofia tried to put sunscreen herself

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and she looked like just came back from a birthday party

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we got her a new toy… well… actually it happened to be a new toy for Tony

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Food:

we got cod in Costco for the first time and I prepared it the simplest way. marinate in salt and pepper and cooking wine for 30 min, cook it in a bit of oil both sides until done (10-12). It was incredible tasty for just a simple preparation. Will definitely make more.

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I’ve been baking loaves of bread.

this one with brown rice
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this one with the master starter (similar to sour dough starter) … tastes just like pumpernikel bread!

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since I had a batch of master starter, I made three kinds more.

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and made pumpkin bread

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I love baking breads and eating them… and love that Tony shares the interest with me. 🙂 Now I have “excuse” to bake more breads!